24 Ways to Save Endangered Wild Animals From Extinction
Many valuable animals are endangered
in the wild and face extinction. When you think about animals becoming extinct, you think about dinosaurs and times long past. But we are living right now in the middle of a major threat to the animal population of the planet. Many familiar animals are becoming scarce and may very well disappear from the face of the earth.
Richard Leakey called it ďThe Sixth Extinction.Ē
The Sixth Extinction of wild animals is a fast moving threat to the survival of wildlife everywhere. Many scientists think that during the next thirty years as many as one-fifth of all species living today will become extinct. What makes it even worse is that humans are the primary cause of it. Below you'll find a list of 24 things you can do to help save endangered wild animals from extinction.
Extinction has been going on since life began on earth
, whenever climate changes and natural selection made life difficult for some species. For example, dinosaurs, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers all became extinct long ago. More recently, the dodo bird and the sea mink also have disappeared. But today, extinction is happening faster than ever before.
Animals are the great voteless and voiceless majority who can only survive with our help. Ė Gerald Durrell, famous zoologist
Why Do Wild Animals Become Extinct?
When a species cannot survive or reproduce in its environment
Endangered Wild Bengal Tiger
, and it cannot move on to a more favorable environment, it dies out and becomes extinct. Extinction of a species may be caused by natural conditions. But humans can cause extinction of a species by disturbing the balance of nature that animals depend upon. Humans have destroyed wild animal habitats, cleared land, harvested forest wood, brought pollution and disease, over-hunted the animals, contaminated their food and water sources, and introduced new species who prey on the animals and compete for food.
All things are interconnected in the circle of life
. All living species, including people, depend on other species for survival. When we lose one species, it affects another and then another, like a row of dominoes toppling over. For example, the ocean-living shortnose sturgeon is endangered. Every spring, the sturgeon heads inland to spawn in the rivers of the eastern seaboard states. If the shortnose sturgeon becomes extinct, all of the wild animals that rely on it for food will also suffer and may become threatened or endangered.
What Wild Animals Are in Danger
With diminished populations, these animals are becoming scarce
Endangered Monarch Butterfly
and on the way to extinction. The African elephant
is an intelligent animal with a legendary memory. They say an elephant never forgets. But the African elephant has been killed off for its ivory tusks. It has also lost much of its habitat, the grasslands and savannah of Africa. Half of the African elephant population was gone before we protected it with the global ban on ivory trade. It is still vulnerable.
The African lion
is another spectacular animal that is endangered. Its homelands in Southern Africa are disturbed by wars and civil unrest. Other enemies are disease, trophy hunters and farmers protecting their livestock.
The White-Backed Vulture
of India is not as photogenic as the lion, but it is critically endangered.. This bird of prey has been killed off by a drug called diclofenac that is used to treat sick livestock. Vultures are poisoned by the drug when they feed on animal carcasses. There are probably only a few thousand of this species still alive.
Lonesome George is the last Galapagos Pinta Island giant tortoise
. Discovered in 1971, he lives in a research station, spending the rest of his 200-year lifespan as a solitary bachelor. His food source was the wild vegetation that was destroyed when humans introduced goats onto the Pinta Island. This species of tortoise will officially be extinct after Georgeís death. But itís not too late to protect the other unique species of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.
Endangered Tadpole Shrimp
Youíve probably never seen a tadpole shrimp
. But it is one of the oldest known species on earth. It existed over 200 million years ago, and it hasnít changed much from the early tadpole shrimp fossils we have found. It has been found in freshwater pools in four continents. Its lifespan is only two months or less. But the eggs can remain dormant for 20 years of drought and then hatch when the pools fill up with rainwater again. As one of the earliest known species, we donít want to lose the tadpole shrimp. After surviving 200 million years on this planet, the tadpole shrimp is now in danger of extinction.
The Bengal Tiger
, a beautiful striped orange, black and white wild animal, is critically endangered. There are fewer than 30 animals still living in the wild. It is the ancestor of all modern tigers, but hunting and the destruction of its habitat are wiping out the species.
The Monarch Butterfly
, recognized by its distinctive orange and black markings, is famous in North America for its long-distance migrations. Every autumn it flies to Mexico from the northeast U.S. As a caterpillar, its only food is the milkweed plant. But agricultural weed control also destroyed the milkweed and consequently threatened the monarch butterfly. The monarch population appears to have stabilized now, but you can contribute to its survival by planting milkweeds in your garden as host plants.
The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana
is already critically endangered. These iguanas are found nowhere else in the world but on the Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean. As the island becomes more densely populated by humans, our dogs, cats and automobiles are killing off the Big Blue. And, yes, these Iguanas are actually blue-skinned.
The Delhi Sands flower-loving fly
of southern California is in critical peril, because the entire Delhi Sands ecosystem of sand dunes is vanishing.
The Common Skate
, a shark-like ocean dweller, is used as human food. It has been over-fished and is now critically endangered. You could say that the common skate is not very common anymore.
The Sonoran Pronghorn
of the American Southwest is almost extinct. Where there used to be 40 or 50 million animals, there are now only 30 alive in the wild in the U.S. and 500 total in Mexico. They are threatened by fences that block them from the open range, by human development, by coyotes, by other predators and by automobile collisions.
Success Stories. Wildlife Species Saved from Extinction
Endangered Grand Cayman Blue Iguana
The bald eagle
was endangered for 40 years in the United States. Now it is a success story. The pesticide DDT used in farming was washed by rain into the lakes and streams where it poisoned fish. After eating the poisoned fish, the eagles laid eggs with very thin shells. These eggs were usually crushed before they could hatch. The prohibition of DDT has contributed to the recovery of the bald eagle. With extended conservation efforts, the population recovered and the bald eagle was removed from the endangered list, July, 2007.
In the past, the American crocodiles
were off killed by hunters so that their skins could be made into shoes and other clothing. This crocodile rebuilt its population while it was protected as an endangered species, and in 2007 it was removed from the endangered species list.
The gray whale
also recovered after an extended period of protection. And the gray wolf of Montana has recovered, as well. The Yellowstone bear
, the American alligator
and the American peregrine falcon
are success stories of wild population recovery after a strong conservation effort. Hurrah to all the people who helped rescue them!
Wildlife Species That Recently Became Extinct
Other species of wildlife have not been so lucky recently. The Santa Barbara song sparrow
is gone forever. The blue pike
is extinct, as are Sampsonís pearly mussel
, and the Mariana mallard
. The short-haired bumblebee
became extinct in 1990. Ten other species of bumblebees, the natural pollinators of flowers and farm crops, are suffering population declines. Farmers are particularly concerned.
The passenger pigeon
, similar to the mourning dove, was once the most numerous bird on earth. Migrating flocks took days to pass overhead. They flew faster than a mile a minute. But as a culinary delicacy, the passenger pigeon was hunted to extinction. Finally, Martha, the last passenger pigeon in the world, died at the Cincinnati Zoo, 1:00 PM, September 1, 1914. A bronze memorial to Martha and her species stands at the zoo as a reminder of our loss.
Endangered Wild Animals Around the World
Around the world
Endangered African Elephant
more wild animals are in danger. The Bengal tiger, the Black Rhino, the Bowhead Whale, the Cheetah which used to make its home in five continents, the giant panda of China, the snow leopards of the Himalayas and all the lemurs are now endangered wild animals. Due to local wars, the eastern lowland gorilla of the Congo has suffered a 90% population decline just since 2000. The leatherback turtle, which lives in every ocean, the most widespread reptile on earth, is criticallly endangered. Our nearest biological relative, the chimpanzee, is also endangered.
What Can I Do To Help Save Wild Animals From Extinction?
Disappearing animal species in the wild are threatened
by chemicals, by pollution of land and waterways, by loss of their natural habitat, by hunters and by commercial farming. Pollution has far-reaching consequences. Human negligence casts a long shadow. You can help to preserve wild animals from extinction. Here are 24 ways your actions can save disappearing, endangered wild animals.
- Avoid fur and leather from endangered species.
- Do not buy articles made of ivory.
- Only use wood certified by the Forestry Standards Commission FSC, to ensure that you are not encouraging the destruction of rainforest.
- Support the organizations that work to guard and preserve animal species in the wild.
- Join one of the numerous organizations to help monitor and map the existing animal populations.
- Campaign to protect old-growth forests.
- Donít buy dried seahorses or starfish, shells or other marine creatures that are offered for sale.
- Donít buy corals. Importing corals without a permit is illegal.
- Support limits on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.
- Adopt an endangered animal by contributing to one of the many conservation organizations.
- Encourage your employer to adopt green policies.
- Donate and support the work of zoos and wild animal shelters.
- Become a member of a conservation organization and learn about the problem.
- Support restrictions on the use of dangerous chemicals.
- Recycle your garbage waste.
- Plant a butterfly garden.
- Support sustainable lifestyles that minimize greenhouse emissions.
- Keep waterways and oceans litter-free.
- Avoid buying products with palm oil, because forest clearance for oil palm plantations is a primary threat to the worldís animals.
- Do not buy or use peat-based compost, because harvesting it destroys natural peat bogs.
- Donít dig or drive on beaches during nesting season.
- Do buy a t-shirt or an animal picture from your favorite conservation organization.
- Garden without using insecticides.
- Protect water quality by minimizing use of lawn chemicals, by recycling used car oil, and by properly disposing of paint and other toxic household products.
I hope life brings you much success. I wish you a very happy day.
----- Surfer Sam