Reasons Why Animals Become Endangered

When we look at the natural world, there are so many unique and diverse creatures among us. Some fly, some swim, and some live mainly on land like us. We also have learned through research and excavations about the various creatures that are no longer alive today, and are only known from remains, as they are extinct. But what about the animals alive today that are getting closer and closer to extinction for their own species? Well let's take a look Defenders, at the various ways life on earth can become endangered - the first step on the way to extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has Endangered as the second most severe ranking for living animals, right below Critically Endangered. These are some of the criteria for a species to be ranked as Endangered, and gives us some insight on the various ways that species lose their population numbers, and eventually go extinct.

  • For a species to be considered endangered there can be a few different criteria, mainly that they must be observed or estimated to have lost OVER 70% of their population within the last 3 generations of a species, or the last 10 years. Our scientists and researches also need to understand WHAT is causing this species to decline, and see that the causes are indeed reversible.
  • Some of those causes include:
  • Habitat Destruction - This is when a natural location, like a forest or lake, has been changed and does not provide good support for the native species in that location. There are a few different reasons for these changes, such as natural disasters, however the biggest factor in habitat destruction is the damage we humans have done to the planet. While things like mining, logging, and clearing a location for agriculture have all helped mankind grow, we have gone too far in many areas and done damage to the planet that cannot be reversed, and has caused the endangerment and extinction of many different species.
  • Hunting - During the early times of mankind, hunting was completely for survival. Nowadays things are different, and many people hunt for sport, without using the entire remains of the animal. There are many different sides to hunting, as some animals without natural predators can overpopulate an area, and that can be harmful to the ecosystem. However, human interaction and hunting has led many species to extinction, and there are many illegal poachers and hunters only looking to make money from rare parts of an animal such as the tusks of an elephant.
  • Pollution - Closely related to habitat destruction, pollution is another big issue that threatens many different species on our planet, and it is also another issue that us humans have directly done damage with. Pollution comes in a few different forms - some include contaminants like plastics and radioactive materials, while others are pollution of energy such as light and noise pollution. Pollution has negatively changed our planet and the various species that have to deal with it, and is even hurting our own species greatly - in 2015 it is estimated that 9 million humans across the world died because of causes related directly to pollution.

 

There are a few other factors that can cause animals to become endangered: If they already had a small population, or only live in one location, as time goes on and the world changes, these species can slowly start declining. There are also issues with invasive species, where a species of animal is introduced to an ecosystem it is not originally from, and this can cause a big disruption on the natural species that live there. However experts believe human interaction has increased the extinction rate over 1,000 times as much as natural, so mankind really needs to be aware of our actions and the things we can do to make changes for the better!

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