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Scientists Try Radical Move To Save Bull Trout From A Warming Climate

Scientists Try Radical Move To Save Bull Trout From A Warming Climate

Bull trout are running out of time in Montana as their traditional waters heat up, biologists say. By moving more than 100 fish to higher elevations, fisheries scientists hope to save the species by seeding a new population in waters that will stay cooler longer.

Something unusual is happening in America's wilderness — some animals and plants are moving away from their native habitats. The reason is a warming climate. It's getting too hot where they live.

Species that can't migrate may perish, so some biologists say we need to move them. But they admit that's a roll of the dice that violates a basic rule of conservation: If you want to keep the natural world "natural," you don't want to move plants and animals around willy-nilly.

Why not? Well, Europeans introduced rabbits to Australia for food and hunting in the 18th and 19th centuries and the rabbits overran the place. Residents of the Great Lakes are up to their eyeballs in invasive zebra mussels. People brought wild pigs to Hawaii, and the animals have destroyed much of the rain forest there.

But a few years ago, some biologists argued that the planet is warming faster than many plants and animals can handle. Maybe, they wondered, we should take a risk and move some of them.