Endangered Species Around The World
Did you know that in the last 250 years 571 species have been confirmed extinct? Currently 27% of all assessed species are threatened with extinction, which means more than 31,000 in numbers! There are many reasons why these species may be at risk, but among the most common factors are habitat loss, poaching, loss of genetic variation and invasive species.
Habitat loss is one of the main causes why these species are threatened with extinction. Human activities such as agriculture and industrial development contribute a lot to this. Common industries like construction, lumber, petroleum, livestock and plant agriculture are the most harmful to wildlife. When developing an industry, companies are ‘clearing’ pieces of land like the Amazon Rainforest of South America. By doing that, they are eliminating all vegetation which is the home of hundreds or thousands of animal species.
Another reason why these beautiful species are at risk is poaching. Millions of animals of thousands of species worldwide are killed or captured for reasons like selling them locally or trading them worldwide as exotic pets. These animals are also sold as food, jewelry, decor or traditional medicine. Poaching is a growing threat to elephants, rhinos, as well as to smaller animals like lizards and monkeys.
But don’t forget, extinction can happen naturally, without the involvement of humans, like it happened with dinosaurs. Because of the impact of an asteroid, debris was forced into the atmosphere, which reduced the temperature and the amount of light hitting the Earth. The dinosaurs were unable to adapt to the cooler climate so they became endangered, then extinct.
However, that doesn’t mean that we should watch how these animals are becoming more and more endangered and then are slowly disappearing. We can make a massive change if we raise awareness and educate, not only others, but ourselves as well. There are many things we can do to save these animals, like researching the origin of the products we buy, growing native plants, buying from local small businesses or slowing down when driving. Any of these small steps can make a big difference.
Guest writer, Hazel Harred