About 65 million years ago, we had dinosaurs living on earth. We do not know how, but they disappeared from the surface of the planet. Some theories suggest a meteor killed them all, while others believed the cause to be drastic climate change. Fast forward to around 7 million years ago, humans appeared. Humans soon conquered the animal kingdom through the evolution of the human race and the handy tools they built for survival. Gradually, they killed rampantly started killing animals to the point where they were no more left. In other words, these animals became extinct. In today’s world, more and more organisms are on the brink of extinction. Consequently, we label them as endangered species. As years pass by, the number of endangered species has been only increasing.
Why are organisms becoming endangered?
The dodo bird was the first bird to go extinct. It is a widespread belief that humans ate the dodo to extinction. However, as time progressed, the reasons for animals becoming extinct became more complicated. As a result of the explosion of the human population, animals lost their natural habitat. Climate change and environmental pollution are other significant factors of animals becoming endangered. The process of urbanization and exploitation of natural resources is rapidly leading to many animals disappearing from the face of the earth. Not only animals but even plants are at the risk of becoming extinct.
Endangered Species and their Causes
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are 3079 animals and 2,655 plant species marked as endangered. However, the IUCN listed these numbers in 2012. Over the past decade, the IUCN has given over 200 species an endangered status. Among a list of thousands, here are seven animals that the IUCN has declared endangered.
The vaquita is considered one of the most endangered aquatic animals. Moreover, reports say that human threat has caused only ten remaining in the world. The main reason behind the critically endangered status of the vaquita is illegal gillnet fishing. These unethical fishing practices have caused the vaquita almost to disappear. We can now find the last vaquitas in a small part of the Gulf of California, Mexico.
The practice of illegal hunting and poaching has led to the tiger becoming an endangered species. As a result, The IUCN states that the world has only about 3500 tigers remaining. Moreover, the loss of the tiger’s natural habitat and climate change have contributed to the same. In an attempt to conserve these species, many tiger reserves have been established all over the world.
The orangutans have decreased in number considerably in the past century. Now, there are only about 7500 Sumatran Orangutans left in the world. The tropical rainforests that are the natural habitats of orangutans are destroyed and converted to plantations- especially palm oil. As a result, the population of orangutans is decreasing exponentially.
Snow leopards are animals that live in the mountainous regions of Asia. Like the tiger, illegal poaching of snow leopards to make fur is the main reason behind their endangered status. Another reason is the overgrazing of grasslands by farm animals.
The world has only 84 Amur Leopards left, who are now living in the savannas of Africa. The loss of habitat is one of the main reasons for the Amur Leopard’s endangered status, along with poaching and other illegal practices.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is an exotic fish. They are a popular dish in high-end sushi markets. Unfortunately, due to overfishing and illegal fishing practices, the bluefish tuna is now on the verge of extinction.
The Black Rhino is found explicitly in Africa. Over the years, the population of the Black Rhino has declined by 98%, leaving less than 2500 in number. The Black Rhino is famous for its unique rhino horn. Unfortunately, this demand for this horn was humongous. Thus, this has made the Black Rhino critically endangered.
The necessity to protect endangered species
The co-existence of all organisms on earth helps in the proper functioning of the ecosystem. A recent study also found out that the extinction of species can even affect human health. The study found out that as species disappear, the risk of infections increases. Therefore, we must make an effort to protect the critically endangered species for ourselves and future generations to see and appreciate the flora and fauna of our planet.