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The Endangerment and Extinction of Species

By Paddy Phillips Subscribe to RSS | May 20th 2012 | Views:

The lists of endangered species around the world - from Africa to Antarctica; from Asia, Australia and Central America to Europe, Hawaii and the Middle East; from North America to Oceania, South America and anywhere besides and in between - is continually growing. This does not just include cute endangered animals, like beautiful birds or cuddly mammals, but every kind of animal, including amphibians, arachnids and birds; clams, corals and crustaceans; fishes, insects and jellyfish; mammals, marsupials and reptiles; sea anemones, snails and worms. Many plant species are also at risk of disappearing forever.

Species already lost to Mankind

Many species, like, for example, the Dodo, Steller's Sea Cow, the Moa, Haast's Eagle, the Passenger Pigeon, the Golden Toad, the Caribbean Monk Seal and the Javan Tiger, have already been lost forever. Other species, such as the Hawaiian Crow, the Catarina Pupfish, the Barbary Lion, the Scimitar Oryx, the Socorro Dove and the Wyoming Toad - to name but a few among many - are extinct in the wild, with a few minor populations or isolated individuals surviving in captivity.

Species at Risk of Extinction

The list of critically endangered animals at high risk of extinction is huge. Among many others, it includes species such as the Ethiopian Wolf, the Bactrian Camel, the Arakan Forest Turtle and the Mountain Gorilla; the Sumatran Rhinoceros, the Iberian Lynx, the California Condor and the Philippine Eagle; the Chinese Alligator, the Brown Spider Monkey,the Red Wolf, the African Wild Ass, the Siamese Crocodile and Spix's Macaw.

African Wild Dogs, Asian Elephants, Blue Whales, Giant Otters, Giant Pandas and Goliath Frogs, Green Sea Turtles, and, among many, many others, the Pygmy Hippopotamus all face extinction within the not so far future. Thousands of species are listed in varying categories of endangerment, from extinct, extinct in the wild and critically endangered through endangered, vulnerable and conservation dependent to near threatened and least concern.

Extinction and its Effect on all Life

Every plant, every living organism forms part of a greater food chain. As one species is lost, another species higher up within the corresponding food chain becomes endangered. With every plant or animal lost, mankind not only loses the pleasure of marvelling at the diversity of life, but also vital resources. Both animals and plants are continually being proven to provide the key to cures for many of man's diseases. Many provide a deeper understanding of and necessary resources for natural weed and pest control. By tapping into these vital resources, the need for chemicals and subsequent harm to environment is reduced.

The Causes of Endangerment

One of the main causes of endangerment for many species is the destruction of habitat by the expansion of human population, agriculture and industry. Wars, disasters, environmental pollution and climate changes all play an equally destructive part. Over-hunting and fishing, often fuelled more by a hunger for trophies or profit than by the need for food, and indiscriminate slaughter of whole species because man regards them as 'undesirable' also cause many species to become endangered or extinct.

The Need to change Attitudes

The fine balance required to support life on this planet has, unfortunately, been tipped in favour of mankind. The ever growing greed for profit has caused mankind to lose sight of what really is important. Man no longer sees himself as a part of nature, but as a self-appointed master of all. Instead of using this position - and the intelligence that has got him there - to preserve life, man uses it to rape the planet, regardless of the consequences.

The perception of priorities has been lost so badly, mankind is not even able to look after its own kind, a sad fact millions of starving children around the world bear witness to. If mankind is to survive in the long run, this attitude has got to change. The fine balance of life on Earth must be restored, and life of all types, large and small, cute and ugly, must once again become precious to man and receive the necessary protection to preserve it.

Paddy Phillips - About Author:
Paddy Phillips works as a freelance writer. Her blog, Earthdragon’s Endangered Species, is the result of her passion for wildlife and nature in general.

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