Image Credit: Kaelee L., Petersburg, MI
Ever since life began on Earth, species have existed and naturally gone extinct. Many people credit this to natural selection and “survival of the fittest.” Some would argue that since extinction is a natural, normal thing, humans shouldn’t pay much attention to it. Species become endangered every day and so far, it hasn’t affected humans. Plus humans aren’t responsible for the extinction of animals, or are they? Studies show that 99% of currently endangered species are at risk due to human activity. Humans have a responsibility to help save endangered species because we are the top reason for endangerment because we clear these creatures’ habitats by deforestation, mining, or expanding and most of these animals, plants, or insects are at risk because of human activity like pollution from cars or factories.
There are still people who highly believe that endangered animals shouldn’t be conserved. Many would argue that the cost on saving these animals is too high and outweighs the possible benefits. Sure the Earth is changing, but animals have to adapt to it if they want to survive, just like humans. Also, most animals don’t contribute anything to humanity, right? Some would even say that “it’s the circle of life, and humans are the ruling species because we can learn to adapt,” but these species do contribute something and some might not notice it, but if they were to disappear they’d definitely see the change. In my opinion many of these people are just making up excuses out of selfishness. Humans choose to ignore these problems because they don’t have an immediate effect on us. They choose ignorance over responsibility because it’s the easier route.
Think of an ecosystem like a game of Jenga. The players are humans and natural selection. Each block supports one another and each time you remove a block you risk the entire tower falling. Humans carelessly remove blocks without much thought to them while natural selection carefully chooses each block and makes sure that other blocks are only slightly affected. Eventually, humans are going to remove a block that will send the entire tower tumbling down and along with it, each individual block. Just like the blocks, animals depend on one another, and at one point one species will disappear and it’ll cause a chain reaction. For example, let’s say that a certain plant species goes extinct. Other animals depended on that plant for food and without it, the whole food chain is messed up.
Humans are largely responsible for extinction. We clear forests and other lands to build houses or mine on, by doing so we are taking away an animal’s home. We destroy a creature’s habitat and now, they have nowhere to live. Things like pollution and global warming can also contribute to the loss of habitat or extinction. For example, polar bears rely on the arctic sea to hunt and live. The melting of the ice only means that polar bears will have less access to food, mating, and become extinct. Scientists have predicted that if the Arctic keeps getting warmer, 2/3 of the world’s polar bears could disappear by the end of the century. Humans help global warming by burning fossil fuels like coal and oil into the atmosphere. These gases only add on to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and help higher temperatures. Also, trees help remove CO2 from the atmosphere and deforestation slows down this process.
Lastly, many animals provide knowledge that help in science and biological sciences. A loss of biodiversity can mean the loss of possible discovery of treatments for diseases or health problems. For example, a flower type called Rosy Periwinkle almost went extinct due to deforestation in Madagascar. The flower was later found to have a substance that fights and cures Leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease. It also helped increase the survival rate of Leukemia from 20% to 80%. If this flower had gone extinct, humans may have never discovered this and it would’ve had a very different effect in the medical field. A second example is the Gila monster’s saliva. It has been found that its saliva can help people with type-2 Diabetes. The Gila monsters’ habitat is currently being destroyed to build homes and roads. The Rosy Periwinkle and Gila monster are only a few of the many species that should be conserved due to their contribution to human research. If these species go extinct, humans loose possible medicine or research opportunities. (Daniel, Natural Exposures)
In the end, the number of endangered species rises every year. Scientists even predict that by 2050, 30%-50% of all species will be on the way to extinction. (Cierra Creative, Connect) As humans, we can help conserve animals’ habitats and not take away their homes. We can all become socially aware of the things we buy and where they come from. By teaching others about endangerment we help spread awareness about it and show others how to make a difference. Even though extinction is a natural process, things like pollution, deforestation, and global warming help speed up extinction. Humans should help endangered animals because they can greatly contribute to humans and we are only speeding up the process. If we help these animals now, we can help save them before it’s too late.
• "Should We Protect Endangered Species?" Should We Protect Endangered Species? N.p., 24 Oct. 2013. Web. 2 May 2015.
• Cox, Daniel J. "Climate Change." Climate Change. Natural Exposures, 2015. Web. 2 May 2015.
• Westbrook, Corry. "Why save Endangered Animals?" (n.d.): n. pag. USFWS, 2 Jan. 2006. Web. 1 May 2015.
• Stromberg, Joseph, and Sarah Zielinski. "History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian." History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian. N.p., 18 Oct. 2011. Web. 2 May 2015.
• "How Animals Help." How Animals Help. Bio Medical Research, 3 June 2009. Web. 10 May 2015.
• Creative, Cierra. "Connect." Endangered Species Coalition. N.p., 21 Jan. 2015. Web. 15 May 2015.
Essay on Wildlife Conservation!
Like forests, wildlife is also a national resource, which not only helps in maintaining the ecological balance but is also beneficial from economic, recreational and aesthetic points of view. There was a time when human interference was minimum the number of wild animals was quite high and there was no problem of their protection or conservation. But, with the expansion of agriculture, settlement, industrial and other developmental activities and mainly due to greed of man, the number of wild animals gradually became lesser and lesser. With the result that several species of animals have become extinct and several, others are on the verge of being so.
Deforestation is also one of the main reasons for the loss of wildlife. Mass killings of wild animals for their meat, bones, fur, teeth, hair, skin, etc., are going on throughout the world. Therefore, the need for wildlife conservation has now become a necessity.
Population growth, expansion of agriculture and livestock raising building of cities and roads, and pollution are among the many pressures on the natural habitat of wildlife. Along with illegal hunting, habitat reduction and its degradation has threatened the bio-diversity of the regions where these are rampant.
Preservation of wildlife does not mean a blanket protection to all faunal and floral species; rather, it implies a proper, judicious control over the multiplication of plants and animals, which interact together to provide a proper environment to man whose very existence is in peril today.
Due to the irrational use of natural and biotic resources of the earth in the past, most of the wildlife has been destroyed beyond retrieval. It is our urgent duty to protect the natural splendor of ecosystems and to evolve a system of co-existence with every living creature upon the earth.
Although must countries of the world are very particular regarding conservation of wildlife, the number of wild animals is reducing day by day. World Wild Life Fund is the international agency, which is doing commendable work in promoting the protection of wildlife. There are national agencies also engaged in the conservation of wildlife.
Some steps in the direction of wildlife conservation could be as follows:
(i) To survey and collect all the information about wildlife, especially, their number and growth.
(ii) To protect habitat by protecting forests.
(iii) To delimit the areas of their natural habitat.
(iv) To protect wildlife from pollution and from natural hazards.
(v) To impose complete restriction on hunting and capturing of wildlife.
(vi) To impose restrictions on export and import of wildlife products and severe punishment to be given to those who indulge in this activity.
(vii) To develop game sanctuaries for specific wild animals or for general world life.
(viii) To make special arrangements to protect those species whose number is very limited.
(ix) To develop general awareness at national and international level regarding protection of wildlife.
(x) To adopt a system of wildlife management through trained personnel.
India is a good example where several steps have been taken for wildlife conservation. It is a country of varied wildlife, where more than 500 types of wild animals, 2,100 types of birds and about 20,000 types of reptiles and fishes have been found. According to an estimate, in India, about 200 species of wild animals and birds have already become extinct and another 2,500 are on the verge of extinction.
Some of them are black buck, chinkara, wolf, swamp deer, nilgai, Indian gazelle, antelope, tiger, rhinoceros, gir lion, crocodile, flamingo, pelican, bustard, white crane, grey heron, mountain quail, etc. In India, the government and NGOs are taking keen interest in the protection of wildlife. The Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 has several provisions for the conservation of wildlife.
As many as 165 game sanctuaries and 21 national parks have been developed to protect the natural habitat and wild animals. Apart from this, a Wild Life Conservation Week is also celebrated from 7th of October every year. But still there is a long way to go in this direction.