Essay, Pages 9 (2175 words)
Since 1970 the world has lost 60 percent of its vertebrate species, but there might still be time to save the rest. Scientists estimated that we’re losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate daily. Due to changing environments, habitat destruction, and predators animals are at risk of becoming extinct in the near future. Animal populations are placed below tremendous pressure because of the results of these changes and, in some cases, the populations are decreasing to considerably lower levels. Some of the reasons can occur naturally, however, several do happen due to human activity.
When species become vulnerable, it is a sign of an ecosystem’s imbalance. A well-balanced ecosystem purifies the atmosphere, giving humans clean air to breathe, a healthy water system to support various marine life, and cultivable land for agricultural production. By saving these endangered animals, we’re ultimately saving humanity.
Although there are many endangered animals all over the world, significant actions are progressing to help save these species.
Whether it’s lions, pandas, California condors, or coral reefs, many of the world’s species are under threat. “Loss of habitat, the introduction of a foreign species into the environment, hunting, pollution, disease, and loss of genetic variation are all causes of species decline and most often are a result of human activities” (Hogback). About 7,000 species worldwide are considered endangered. One in four mammals one in eight birds and one-third of all amphibians are included in the list of endangered animals. In order to determine whether a species is endangered, experts need to look at a number of factors.
Experts need to know how many animals are alive and also figure out how much the population has decreased over time. When a species is endangered, its population has declined by 50-70 percent. A species is also endangered if there are less than 250 remaining species. Some considerations include the level of reproduction and any risk to the species. With all this data, researchers will decide whether or not the species is endangered.
Since the planet started 4.5 billion years ago, it has been constantly changing. Over millions of years, these gradual changes can have an effect on individual species in such a way that they can no longer survive under the new conditions of their evolving habitat. Unfortunately, populations of a large number of plant and animal species on Earth are under pressure as a result of human impact on the planet. The recent extinctions are most likely due to human activity, particularly over the last century. “Applying the same statistical approach to extinction data revealed a rate of 100 to 1,000 species lost per million per year, mostly due to human-caused habitat destruction and climate change.” (Dell’Amore). There are still millions of animals not yet identified, so the amount of endangered animals is much higher than predicted. Species may become extinct if individuals over hunt and over fish, pollute the world, and implement new species to areas. By the mid-century, as many as 30 to 50% of all animals could be headed for extinction. Several large predators are hunted because they compete with human hunters for wild game such as deer and elk because they prey on domestic animals such as sheep or sometimes because they endanger humans. The destruction of forests, fields, rivers, and other natural environments threatens and degrades ecosystems, as do other human activities such as the proliferation of invasive species, deforestation, and trading in wildlife. Habitat loss leads to the permanent loss of biodiversity, the destruction of habitats, and impacts both the environmental health of the planet and the value of human life.
Saving endangered animals from becoming extinct and preserving their habitat is vital for the safety and the future of children. When animals are extinct, so are the opportunities for potential exploration and development. The impacts of species extinction specifically entail fewer new medicines, increased exposure to natural disasters, and increased effects of global warming. A weak biodiversity environment is more vulnerable to outbreaks of disease and natural disasters. The less biodiverse it is, the stronger the effect of each species ‘ existence on the entire ecosystem. To save one or more endangered species to guarantee that their populations grow effectively, it is important that the biodiversity of the environment in which they live changes, or rather that the habitat is stable. Every species lost in its habitat causes the extinction of other species. As human beings, people can help conserve the habitats of animals and not take their homes away from them. Individuals can all become more aware of the things we’re purchasing and where they come from. By educating others about risk, society helps spread knowledge and educate others on how to make a difference.
From polar bears within the Arctic to marine turtles off the coast of Africa, the planet’s diversity of life is in danger from the dynamic climate. More frequent and extreme droughts, hurricanes, heatwaves, increasing ocean levels, melting glaciers, and warming seas would directly harm wildlife, ruin the areas where they reside, and threaten people’s livelihoods and ecosystems. The survival of many animals in a rapidly changing environment may seem to rely on their willingness to move from increasingly unfavorable environments to new areas that fulfill their human, biological, and climatic needs. Researchers originally believed that seven percent of mammals and four percent of birds on the “red list” of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had been harmed by climatic change. In reality, nearly half of the endangered mammals and nearly a quarter of the endangered birds were threatened by global climate change, with a total of around 700 species. “Analyzing about 130 studies, the group of researchers concluded that animals on every continent are being affected by climate change, especially those in high altitudes and those with very particular diets.” (Gruin). Slow breeding habits found in animals such as primates and elephants have made it more difficult for these creatures to respond to changing temperatures. It is expected that many of these animals are extremely likely to have a very negative impact on the expected future climate change.
The loss of habitat poses the greatest threat to species. Forests swamps, deserts, rivers, and other ecosystems continue to vanish as they are drained for human consumption, making way for farmland, highways, homes, pipelines and other important industrial development features. Once a habitat is lost, there is a decreased carrying capacity for plants, animals and other species that inhabit the ecosystem so that populations are more likely to decline and disappear. For example, the World Wildlife Fund predicts that about half of the world’s wetlands have vanished in the last hundred years due to agriculture or other industries being drained. This means it leaves fewer space for animals to feed, breed and raise their young. “More than half a million species on land ” have insufficient habitat for long-term survival” and are likely to go extinct, many within decades, unless their habitats are restored” (CBS News). According to scientists, many species around the world are being forced towards extinction by the loss of human habitat. The Sumatran Elephant has lost 70% of its habitat in the last 25 years due to deforestation for palm oil plantations, agriculture, and human settlements. Species with limited ranges are most affected by habitat destruction, mainly because these organisms are not found anywhere else in the world and are therefore less likely to recover.
Scientists have been observing the history of extinction over time and how natural the process is in fact. It should not be an end in itself to protect biodiversity; diversity can even be harmful to human health. A 2012 study estimated that it would cost $76 billion a year to protect endangered land animals. Saving all endangered marine species could have cost a lot more. It can be especially difficult to understand why anybody would want to protect animals such as wolves that pose a threat to both humans and animals. Species are still extinct all the time. As well as individual species dying out, there have been five mass extinctions that have wiped out species. There are currently about 1,500 species listed as vulnerable or threatened in the US, half of which are at high risk of extinction. While species that receive adequate funding are much more likely to recover, there are some species that receive sufficient funding but do not do all that well. Organisms are eventually extinct, and every organism that is alive today will one day follow suit. Death inevitability is the only constant in nature, and 99.9 percent of all animals that have ever existed, as many as 50 billion have been extinct. The only reason individuals need to protect biodiversity is to create a stable future for human beings. Humans are part of the biosphere just like any other animal, and humans’ actions are just as volitional, their effects are just as inevitable. The earth and humans are both likely to survive or even succeed in a world with fewer animals. People don’t rely on polar bears for their survival, and even if their eradication has a domino effect that ultimately affects us, humans must find a way to adapt. The animal’s individuals rely on for food and shelter are a small proportion of total biodiversity, and most people live in and rely on moderate biodiversity areas.
The truth is human lives are definitely not worth more than others and are also not more valuable than many animals. There are many important animals that humans should help save. “The main objective of this practice is to make sure that their habitats will be preserved so that the future generations of both wildlife and human can enjoy it” (Railsback). Each organism, whether small or unattractive, has its place in the environment. If species start to damage the ecosystem by killing certain organisms that people do not consider important, people assume the role of the creator. Bees, pandas, rhinoceros, sea otters, sea turtles, whales, and elephants, among many others. Most animals actually help people by fulfilling their normal roles in their environment. If the number of bees declines, food crops will probably decline due to a lack of pollination. Removing one species of animals or plants from the environment can endanger the survival of other living creatures. If there are no animals there would be no forest and no forests would entail soil erosion, warm weather, lakes, and rivers drying up, little precipitation, and therefore no crops or plants.
Biodiversity is important to the advantages that biodiversity will offer to human beings and thus to human well-being. Loss of biodiversity can have major direct impacts on human health if ecosystem services are no longer sufficient to meet social needs. Plants and animals (including humans) depend on each other, as well as microorganisms, soil, water, and climate, to keep the entire system alive and well. The extinction of the top predator causes the surplus of other animal populations, which ultimately affect humans, whether by disease spread, soil contamination or water sources, and so on. Biodiversity supplies food, cleans the water, supplies medicines to cure diseases, and even creates the oxygen that humans breathe. Animals are therefore crucial to enable humans to survive and remain healthy. If humans reduce the amount of biodiversity that exists by driving many species to extinction, then humans can’t expect that nature will be able to continue to supply human beings with these things. Endangered terrestrial species mainly lose their habitat due to the demand for unsustainable agricultural products that increase deforestation. By reducing or eliminating the consumption of these products and purchasing from companies that have implemented sustainable agricultural practices such as zero deforestation. Buying sustainably sourced food is vital to the protection of endangered species.
There is so much that people can do to save these animals and threatened species from extinction, but humans must make those improvements now. So, as individuals think about the gray whale, the wood wolf, the black rhino, it’s not just that people should save these endangered creatures for their own benefit, it’s also for societies. The food chain, from the smallest microorganisms to the biggest creatures on Earth keeps humans alive. So, as far as humans are concerned, it becomes a great responsibility to save the environment, our earth and, most importantly, our own selves. Researchers say the best way to protect endangered species is for humans to protect the special places where they stay. Wildlife must be able to find water, shelter, and raise their young. By protecting biodiversity, we’re guaranteeing that the world and the fascinating creatures inside it can be appreciated through future generations. It is important to understand how animals communicate within their environments and how environmental and human impacts impact them to help protect biodiversity. Therefore for conservation to succeed, many environmentalists claim, it must operate on a larger scale, concentrating not on protecting single species to small desert islands, but on large habitats and entire ecosystems, and on the benefits that nature provides to humans.