Wildlife population had turned to be critical through the passing of years since the start of humans to develop its way of living. According to Fornos, “All major wildlife species are now threatened with extinction. ” Different causes had been cited by ecologist that contributed to the deterioration in number of our co-livings in the wild. Deforestation Fairly obvious reason for wildlife extinction is habitat degradation, destruction and conversion (Holsinger, 2005). It is not good to cite that the tropical rain forests, in spite of being the cradle of millions of species (ThinkQuest team 26634, 1999), are in quite danger.
In the country alone, a report says that our “once once-ample timber resources have been poorly managed and are being rapidly depleted by local and foreign entrepreneurs” (Chandler &. Rooney). Our mainland Southeast Asia region (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) lost nearly 4800 square miles of rain forest per year converted to agriculture or cut to timber (Urquhart, Skole, Chomentowski, & Barber, 1998). Deforestation yields to wildlife extinction because many of the rain forest plants and animals that can only be found in small areas require special habitat in which to live.
Estimates show that up to 137 species disappear worldwide each day (Urquhart, et al, 1998). Our forest ox Kouprey (Bos sauveli), for example, are declining in number because they are losing their refuge from predators, shelter from the sun and food when the grasslands are dry (Massicot, 2005). Species disappearances due to deforestation mean a great impact on humans. We are not aware that we may lost a species, one of the millions living in the forest that have been unknown yet, say a tree that has a root or fruit that could prevent and/or cure cancer and AIDS (Urquhart, et. al 1998).
Forest is such a dense area that if only taken care of would suggest great help to human society. Commercial Exploitation Next reason for wildlife extinction is commercial exploitation. Man hunts them for food, recreation, trade or for their products. Examples are the Bald Eagle and the whales. Bald Eagle had a price on its head until 1952. 60,000 whales in 1967 were killed to extract 1. 5 million barrels of oil used as an illuminant in lamps and as candle wax. Acquired whale oil that year is far less than of 1933, 2. 5 million barrels extracted from 30,000 whales killed because “the larger species, e.
g. , Blues and Fins, had been hunted virtually to extinction” (Holsinger, 2005). Recent reports in the country included Mekong River dolphins are in the midst of extinction for the next 10 years because of unawareness of local fisherman in the area (Xinhua, 2006). Save Cambodia’s Wildlife (SCW), a local non-government organization established in January 2000, cited the Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) as globally threatened. In our country, “they were killed for ivory tusks as well as tail hairs which are considered to be good luck and trunk tips which are used for traditional medicine” (SCW).
Another local report, this time coming from World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is about the Eld’s deer, (Cervus eldii sub-species siamensis), being threatened because its body parts are used in traditional medicines aside from hanging its head as a house display. Pollution Another major reason for wildlife extinction is pollution. It occurs when a foreign object called pollutants finds its way to cause harm to the environment (Massachusetts Geographic Alliance Social Science Education Consortium, 1990).
Species declining in number because of pollution includes the Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricate) and the coral reefs (National Marine Fisheries Service, Department of Commerce, USA). Aside from facing threats in nesting beaches, Hawksbill turtles are still not safe in its marine environment because coral reefs, which serve as its habitat, are vulnerable to destruction and degradation caused by human activities. Since the start of man to sail through the sea, coral reefs and its inhabitants had been suffering man-made pollution such as oil and chemical spills.
Air-borne chemicals and artificial materials can also contribute to pollution that endangers wildlife. DDT (dichlor-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane) was thought to be beneficial to man but later on considered as one of worst chemical pollutants. DDT was initially used to combat mosquitoes spreading malaria, typhus, and other insect-borne human diseases (Wikipedia, Insectides). But the Silent Spring (1967) of American biologist Rachel Carson had contributed to the stop of DDT use due to its bad ecological and human health effects (Wikipedia, DDT).
It was noted that DDT reduces the thickness of the egg shells on predatory birds, such as the peregrine falcon, that contributed to the decline of their population. In the case of our country, tailings caused by mining activities of large companies had been a cause of water pollution and depletion, poisoning of wildlife and vegetation (FreedomFighter, 2005). Wildlife Preservation There is an increasing push in the conservation of our wildlife resources. Save Cambodia’s Wildlife implements environmental education and training programs to help protect and conserve our wildlife and natural environment.
International organizations like the World Wildlife Fund had been working to protect endangered species since 1961. WWF stated that they safeguards hundreds of species around the world, but they focus special attention on their flagship species: giant pandas, tigers, endangered whales and dolphins, rhinos, elephants, marine turtles and great apes. They explained that protecting them would help numerous other species that live in the same habitats that the said species lived in. Advocates all over the world had been increasing through the course of time as people get educated about the importance of wildlife to mankind.
Greenpeace, a multi-national organization, is active in our region, the South East Asia, in stopping hazardous waste imports, opposing radioactive shipments, campaigning against forest destruction, lobbying governments on sustainable energy issues and drawing attention to the dangers of waste incinerations which are all detrimental to the ecological balance especially to that of wildlife. Wildlife is important. The reason is simple. A single disruption in the Earth’s delicate balance can mean certain destruction of the very place that cradles the lives of many species (Rochen).
That is why many different environmental organizations supporting wildlife preservation had been established for the past years. An evidence of this is an online directory of these existing organizations, http://www. webdirectory. com/Wildlife/. Personal involvement in the move for the preservation of the biodiversity of wildlife is important. The simple task of keeping the surroundings, the water and the air clean would mean a great help for the protection of our neighbors in the wild. Someone that would stand up among his/her peers to be a leader in protecting the area he/she lives in.
Disseminating information regarding this matter is a good additional so that it is not only that someone will protect our co-livings but the whole community as well. Being informed is just only a start. If all the individuals within the community will be informed, then it is now not hard to bring back the once good health of wildlife. References: Chandler & Rooney. Cambodia. Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://encarta. msn. com/encyclopedia_761570298/Cambodia. html
FreedomFighter (2005) Cambodia Forum: Exchange Experiences & Opinions Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://www. cambodiaforum. com/index. php? showtopic=442 Greenpeace Southeast Asia. GREENPEACE Southeast Asia Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://www. greenpeace. org/seasia/en/about Joby Warrick (1998). Mass Extinction Underway, Majority of Biologists Say. Washington Post. Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://www. well. com/user/davidu/extinction. html Kent Holsinger (2005). The causes of extinction. Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://darwin.
eeb. uconn. edu/eeb310/lecture-notes/extinctions/node3. html Massicot (2005). Animal Info-Kouprey. Animal Info. Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://www. animalinfo. org/species/artiperi/bos_sauv. htm Rare pictures of threatened Eld’s deer in Cambodia (2003). News & Publications, WWF Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://www. panda. org/about_wwf/where_we_work/asia_pacific/where/cambodia/news/index. cfm? uNewsID=7004 Rochen. The Choice: Doomsday or Arbor Day. Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://www. umich. edu/~gs265/society/deforestation. htm
ThinkQuest team 26634 (1999). Animals in the Rain Forest. ThinkQuest. Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://library. thinkquest. org/26634/forest/animal/animal. htm Urquhart, Skole, Chomentowski, Barber (1998). Tropical Deforestation. The Earth Science Enterprise Series, NASA Facts. Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://eospso. gsfc. nasa. gov/ftp_docs/Deforestation. pdf Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, Department of Commerce, USA Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://www. nmfs. noaa. gov/pr/species/turtles/hawksbill.
htm Werner Fornos. Wildlife Extinction: Homo Sapiens, Both Witnesses and Executioners. EqualEarth. Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://www. equalearth. org/wildlifeextinction. htm Wildlife Species of Cambodia. Save Cambodia’s Wildlife. Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://www. cambodiaswildlife. org/All%20Current%20Pages/wildlife. html Xinhua (2006). Wildlife experts: Cambodia’s freshwater dolphins face extinction. Peoples Daily Online. Retrieved May 31, 2007, from http://english. people. com. cn/200601/10/eng20060110_234348. html
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