Endangered Species are those animals or plants that are in danger of becoming extinct, or dying out completely. There are many reasons why species may become endangered, and may even cease to exist. Most of the reasons stem from the rising human population. Our population is on the rise, and so is our colonization of every part of the earth.
The top 5 endangered animals according to the World Wildlife Federation are:
1. Black Rhino
2. Giant Panda
3. Siberian Tiger
4. Beluga Sturgeon
When we as humans start to spread out over the planet, we bring with us industry, and technology. With the increase in technology and an increase in our standard of living, we are also encroaching into parts of the earth where animals live and where they need to have more natural habitats than we do as humans.
The animals and plants are slowing losing land and space on which to live and to survive. Some animals or plants are not able to survive on a limited amount of land that they now have to live on since humans have invaded and taken over the land, cut down the trees and created cities. The Siberian Tiger for instance requires vast, continuous forest landscape to survive. Logging has resulted in their land diminishing in size consistently. The Siberian Tigers are one of many species who are being pushed farther and farther and sometimes the land they are being pushed into is land on which they are unable to survive. The Giant Panda, second on the Endangered Species list is one such animal whose habitat are the Forests of central China. These forests are those containing bamboo trees which the Pandas thrive on for food. If the forests of China are not preserved, the Giant Panda will soon be extinct.
Fifth on the list of Endangered Species is the Golden Seal, a low-growing woodland plant native to South East Canada and Northeastern United States. Due to deforestation, the Goldenseal has been on the Endangered Species List.
With the limited space they now have, the endangered animals which are remaining have to fight with other animals on the land just so that they can have enough space to live. And animals end up fighting amongst themselves to retain their own space, and this too results in death.
Another cause of animals extinction are chemicals such as pesticides. At one time in the United States, the American Eagle was on the verge of becoming extinct with the use of DDT, a chemical which caused the eggs to become increasingly fragile. When an eagle went to sit on her eggs, the eggs would collapse with the weight, and break apart. The decrease in DDT use has caused the Eagle population to start to grow once again.
Hunting, trading and Poaching for animal body parts, oil, and fur has also resulted in extinction. Since the 5th century B.C. for example, Rhino Horn has been sought after since it was believed to make poisons harmless, and the Rhino Tail was believed to decrease labor pains. The West African Black Rhino on July 7, 2006 was finally deemed extinct, due to poaching. The total African Rhino population from 2003 survey taken by the International Rhino Foundation was 3610 in number. According to the World Wildlife Federation, the Black Rhino is at the top of the list of endangered species today.
Some measures have been taken to try and stop poaching and trading of Rhino Horns. Some areas have attempted to try and saw off the Rhino horn so that poachers would not try and kill the animal, however, not much is known about how Rhinos will survive without their horn. Trade regulations banning all trade of Rhino horn, as well as regulating and protecting areas with armed guards to ward off poachers. However, these measures have not helped the Rhino Population. The poachers are even known to kill the armed guards just to get to the Rhino Horn.
Another animal sought for its fur and bones is the Siberian Tiger; third on the list of Endangered Species. Traditionally, the Siberian tiger was killed for its fur as well as for its bones in China, where the bones were used in Chinese medicines. Today, poaching and the use of tiger bones is banned in China. However, it is still difficult to curtail all of the poachers.
The Beluga Sturgeon, a fish killed for its exquisite Roe or Caviar is being over fished to extinction. Their caviar sells for over $100 an ounce. They are found primarily in the Caspian Sea. Even though they are on the Endangered Species list, the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) has allowed quotas for countries surrounding the Caspian Sea to allow them a certain amount of fishing per year.
Finally pollution from our waste products has resulted in many animals being killed which could lead to their extinction. It is our duty as responsible humans to try and limit our waste disposal. We need to recycle more, buy less animal products, such as leather, fur, etc.. which could enable us to significantly affect the livelihood of the most precious thing on earth, that is, life itself.