The world we live in is full of problems and chaos. We battle daily with issues that our ancestors could never have imagined. Alcoholism, racism, poverty, corruption, pollution and terrorism are just a few problems that we face. To me, one of the worst problems is the endangerment of animals and their subsequent extinction. An endangered animal is defined as an animal that is under the threat of extinction. Many animals are added every year to the Red List, a list prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which contains the animals and plants which are facing a threat of extinction. Animals like the Giant Panda, Smooth Softshell Turtle, Yucatán Black Howler Monkey and Honduran Emerald are on the verge of being extinct. There are many reasons why these animals are becoming endangered. They are: habitat destruction, natural causes, hunting and fishing and the introduction of exotic species.
Habitat destruction is the destruction of the natural environment in which the animals live. Habitat destruction has also become the main cause of animal endangerment. Many habitats are destroyed by deforestation and pollution caused by humans. People cut down forests and foliage for building dams and buildings, thus causing many animals in the forest to flee the places where they live. A single tree itself can act as an ecosystem for a variety of animals and plants. Therefore, when a single tree is cut down it can cause a lot of harm to the animals and plants living on that tree. The different species are adapted to survive in the natural environment provided by the tree. So, when their habitat is destroyed, they have to adjust to a new environment and many are unable to survive in a new environment and die quickly. Pollution by chemicals and waste materials also contribute to habitat destruction and thereby affect the numbers of animals living in a certain environment.
Many animals are also endangered due to hunting and fishing. Several animals provide human with valuable items such as the fur of tigers, the hides of cows and the tusks of elephants. These animals are hunted by humans in order to obtain these items, which people then sell for a huge amount of money. Hunting has caused many animals to decrease in number over the years like the Asian elephant and cheetahs. Parts of animals are used to make medicines, mainly in Asian countries, which cause the endangerment of animals such as the rhinoceros. Often, primates are sold to research labs for various medical experiments. These are various ways in which certain animals are hunted down and exploited by people, bringing about a decrease in the number of animals and eventually their extinction.
An exotic animal, an animal that is transported from the place where evolved from and is let loose in a different place, also is a reason why animals are becoming endangered. Native animals are those animals that are part of a specific habitat, and have ordinarily been a part of that particular biological landscape for a lengthy period of time. The native animals view exotic animals as strangers and consider them to be a threat. Indeed, many native animals are preyed on by the exotic animals. This is because exotic species tend to have a predatory and competitive advantage over the species that have been living in that area for a long time. Also, native animals are susceptible to the various diseases brought by the exotic species. Exotic animals are usually introduced to ecosystems as a result of human intervention.
Even though most of the harm to the animals has been done by people, natural causes have also affected the number of animals in certain ecosystems. Since the beginning of animal existence on Earth, evolution and extinction have been natural occurrences. The extinction of dinosaurs, for instance, lost their habitats due to the transition of the Earth’s environment from a dry zone, mostly due an asteroid’s collision with Earth. The Earth became a colder place. Unfortunately animals were unable to adapt to this sudden change and therefore, became endangered and eventually became extinct. Loss of genetic variation is also one way by which species have become endangered. Many animals interbred, causing the gene pool to become less varied. This caused countless species of animals to become endangered.
Over the years, since the beginning of time, animals have evolved and also, in the process become extinct. Many of the causes of animal endangerment are directly or indirectly related to humans. Some causes, however, have been natural. Many methods have been implemented to conserve animals such as the construction of wildlife parks and the regulation of laws to stop people from hunting animals. If people implemented these methods to conserve whatever animal species are remaining, future generations would be able to see much more of the natural world. It is the duty of the current generations of people to protect these animals, so that even our descendants would be able to experience the beauty of wildlife.