Pleased to (m)Eat You!: Extinct VS Endangered VS Threatened Species

by | Jan 11, 2022 | Animal World, children's photo books | 0 comments

Most of us have heard of a dodo bird. We see cute pictures of this tiny, cute bird. It recently went viral online when people started making sketches of the dodo bird. However, while most of us try to speculate how it looked, it is still extinct. 

What are extinct species?

Extinction occurs when there is a total wipeout of a particular species – plant or animal – from the planet. Like the dodo bird, no matter where you go in the world, the dodo bird can never be seen anymore. They only live in the pictures of man. Extinction of a species may happen naturally over time, but it may also be manufactured.

Natural extinction happens gradually and steadily, meaning we often cannot observe natural extinction within our own lifetimes. It is believed that over 90% of all organisms that have even been on earth are now extinct. 

This often happens for evolutionary reasons, one of the reasons being natural selection, but over time, their place in the ecosystem becomes replaced by other animals, simply causing them to die off. For example, the Tasmanian wolf in the last 1930s had become extinct due to hunting, habitat loss, and its competition with dogs.

Natural extinction is normal, expected, and, in short, okay. It is not a result of global warming or overpopulation; the mass extinction of dinosaurs millions of years ago has proven beneficial for most species today. Considering it also takes a long time, it does not have an immense impact on existing ecosystems.

Man-made extinction, on the other hand, is more alarming. Coming from the name itself, this type of extinction is human-induced, which means it is often due to humans disrupting animals’ natural ecosystems. Poaching, urbanization such as the conversion of wetlands and forests to croplands and urban areas, overharvesting, pollution, and introduction of invasive species are common examples of man-made extinction. 

More often than not, these can happen a lot faster than natural extinction, which can be seen and experienced within an average lifetime of a person. This type of extinction is harmful since it eliminates an entire species and ultimately affects other animals or plants living in that area.

Man-made extinction can be controlled, and we must do something to prevent it. Recently, there have been many studies and laws to help prevent extinction. However, due to the lack of restrictions or implementation of the laws, species extinction continues to happen.

What are endangered and threatened species?

Endangered species are animals and plants at risk of extinction, while threatened species are species likely to be endangered in the near future. Most of the time, endangered species are so few that they may be extinct in the following years. Most of the time, animals and plants become extinct due to man-made reasons such as pollution, overharvesting, hunting, and other examples mentioned under man-made extinct earlier.

These animals often need to be protected. Because of these, many laws in several countries have been passed to help prevent or at least slow down the extinction of the species, such as the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the United States and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) in Australia. The issue with these is that many continue to do these actions despite being illegal. Many find loopholes to continue doing business.

Awareness of these issues also plays a significant role. Reducing the amount of waste we make, learning how to dispose of our garbage properly, and doing our role in lessening pollution often helps, even just a little, in saving some endangered species in our region. 

Education of why these species need to be saved is important, especially in children. There have been many books about the risk of animal extinction to help inform children of what might happen if pollution and harming the environment continues. These efforts are emerging because we recognize that the issue of endangered and threatened species lies not only in our generation but also in the future generations to come. 

Sometimes, it seems like there is little we can do to help save these animals. It is true – not all of us are zoologists, wildlife vets, or conservation officers. However, doing our part, such as helping the world become less polluted, withdrawing support from companies supporting hunters, people who illegally overexploit our resources, and those tearing down rainforests in the name of “urbanization,” can play a significant role in saving endangered species.

It may seem difficult at first, but being environmentally, politically, and socially aware and sensitive of these situations will, in one way or another, help the world become a better place – for all our species.

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