Humans have a responsibility to protect endangered animals from extinction. Every day, more and more animal species are becoming endangered or extinct. In this post, we will look at endangered animals around the world and some endangered plants in North America. We will also explore why it is so important that humans do what they can to save these precious creatures!
Why Endangered animals matter
1. The world population is projected to be 9 billion by 2020
2. There will be more than 60 million new jobs in the next 10 years, but there won’t be enough people qualified for them
3. By 2022, there will be at least 200 species of animals that are extinct or endangered due to human activity and climate change
4. Endangered animals in 2020 included polar bears, giraffes, rhinos, tigers, elephants, pandas, and gorillas
5. Some animals have become endangered because humans have destroyed their habitat or they’ve been hunted into extinction for food or sport (e.g., whales)
6. Other animals like the panda bear are endangered because they’re getting sick from the environment (e.g., air, water, soil)
7. Majority of endangered animals are located in developing countries because they’re the ones who are destroying biodiversity and habitats
8. Already extinct or endangered include: Atlantic gray whale, Caribbean monk seal, quagga mussel, dusky seaside sparrow, American crocodile, Florida panther, peregrine falcon
9. By 2022, 1/3-1/2 of all species alive today will be gone forever due to human activity that includes climate change and habitat destruction
10. These extinctions are major threats to humanity’s survival since many plants provide us with oxygen, AND organisms provide us with food for survival
There are more endangered animals than we realize
For example, the endangered Finless Porpoise is dying out due to fishing nets and pollution of water sources in China. They can only be found in a small area on the coast of mainland Asia where they face extinction if we do not save them soon!
In North America, endangered species include many plants and animals from different areas all over the continent! The endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, for example, is native to the American southeast. These birds are endangered due to loss of habitat and deforestation when humans build houses or towns in their natural habitats.
Other endangered animals worldwide include many more species of animals from different regions all over the globe! Some examples are listed below:
– Giant Panda
The panda has a low reproductive rate and slow maturation. Pandas have the slowest reproductive rate of any mammal of comparable size. Giant pandas breed infrequently, and a female may only produce twins every other year. In addition, due to its shallow body temperature during the winter months, the giant panda has one of the lowest metabolic rates among mammals.
– Bornean Orangutan
The Bornean Orangutan is endangered because of deforestation, habitat loss, and hunting. The people from Malaysia burn the forests to make room for plantations which could benefit them economically. They cut down trees and sell them for profit or use them as fuel to cook their food or keep themselves warm. Monkeys, deer, and wild pigs are hunted for their meat. The people from Indonesia also hunt this species for meat and target the pygmy variety because they are smaller orangutans closer to the ground.
– Mountain Gorilla
The mountain gorillas are endangered because of the ongoing civil war in Rwanda, their low population numbers, and their habit of being hunted. The mountain gorillas are very important to Rwanda’s eco-tourism industry – tourism employs around 6 percent of the country’s labor force, with more than 450,000 international visitors every year.
– Finless Porpoise
The dolphin population in the area of China is on the decline. The finless porpoise, a close living relative to the dolphin, is on the brink of extinction. The finless porpoise is an endangered species, and the main cause for the population decline is commercial fishing. Commercial fishing boats have been poaching finless porpoises as a bycatch, leading to a devastating decrease in population numbers.
– Indochinese Tiger
The current population of Indochinese tigers is approximately 300, which is not nearly enough to sustain the species. The proximity between each tiger’s territory also doesn’t support their sustainability. The tigers are simply running out of space. The tiger population struggle can be attributed to habitat loss, poaching, and fragmentation. If things continue as they are now, Indochinese tigers will become extinct in the next century.
– The Western Black Rhino
Sightings of the western black rhino have declined by 95% over the past 20 years. The population dwindled to 2,000 in 2004 but is now below 600. It’s expected that there are only 100 left alive.
– Rhinoceros Iguana
Endemic to Mexico, this adorable creature is under threat from human encroachment into its habitat.
Many of its eggs are stolen for food, which has led to a drastic decrease in the number of young. Its total population is now estimated at 5,000.
– Nene Goose
The nene goose was once common throughout Hawaii, but its numbers declined so rapidly that by 1952 they were extinct on all main Hawaiian islands except Maui (where there were only 30 birds).
There are also many other types of endangered or extinct plant life that need to be saved right away if they want any chance at survival! For example, there is Leavenworthia exigua var. crass (Charleston Glade Cress), native only to parts of northern Alabama where they have been forced out because coal companies use explosives on mountainsides to mine coal seams within the rock formations there. Other threatened Appalachian region plants include Carex Appalachia (Appalachian sedge), Calamagrostis brachytricha, and Silene ovata ssp. caroliniana (Carolina catchfly).
The Extinction List
– The Golden Toad, so named for its bright orange coloration, has already suffered one or two population crashes due to rising air temperatures but still manages to survive until today. However, rising sea levels caused by global warming will finally wipe out its last few remaining colonies in Monteverde, Costa Rica, for good.
– The Great Auk, a large flightless seabird that became extinct when European sailors and hunters killed them off during the late 1700s and early 1800s. But like the Tasmanian Tiger, this was not due to human activity but rather because of what we did back then.
– The Passenger Pigeon went from numbering in the billions in North America to existing only in memory until it became extinct in 1914 due to hunting and habitat loss.
– The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker will join its cousins on this list once it finally becomes extinct in 2016 or 2017 after American Birding Association teams surveyed the Big Woods region of Arkansas and reported no signs of it.
– The Thylacine, so named because of the pouch under its belly that is used to carry its young, has been extinct since 1936 after European settlers hunted it into oblivion for sport and to protect their livestock from them
A study conducted by the Zoological Society of London, published in the Biological Conservation Journal, has revealed that half of the world’s extinct species would still be around today if not for human activity. Unbelievable, but true! If we hadn’t pillaged our way across this planet starting some 5 or so thousand years ago, these wonderful animals might have been with us a lot longer than they actually were. And they would certainly still be here today if not for man’s selfishness and greed having decimated their populations through hunting them to extinction over the centuries.
Researchers from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) compiled their list after investigating the causes of extinction for 500 now-extinct birds, amphibians, mammals, and reptiles over the past 500 years. According to the ZSL’s Professor Paul Martin, who helped put together this report, “One important reason why species have become extinct is because their geographic ranges have been severely reduced or completely eliminated by human activities.” And that just about sums up what humans are all about. We’re slowly but surely killing this planet through pollution, deforestation, poaching…the list goes on. But the animals are dying out forever because of us.
If humans do not make changes very soon, many more species will become extinct! We need to take action now before it is too late for these precious animals that cannot speak up or defend themselves against us. If we don’t fight to protect them right now, who knows how much longer their natural habitats will be around?