“Animals should not require our permission to live on earth. They were given the right to be here long before we arrived.”
Life on earth is connected to form a healthy, balanced ecosystem and all species are dependent on each other in some way or another. Global diversity is important for a healthy planet, yet many species are facing extinction.
Over the last year, NGOs and business community began hosting a series of meeting to discuss future species listing and recovery decisions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Less than one percent of the 2,000 species listed as endangered have gone extinct- while influencing many land management decisions that affect threatened populations.
Threat to Habitat: Menace to Survival
Species are endangering because of loss of habitat and genetic variation. A loss of habitat can happen either naturally or because of human activities. Climatic change is making the protection of endangered species increasingly challenging. Change in the climatic condition not only affects plant and animals directly- through changes in temperature and precipitation for instance—but can worsen the impact on endangered species of traditional threats, such as invasive species, wildfires, and diseases. For instance, Dinosaurs lost their habitat about millions of years ago. The hot, dry climate changed very quickly, reducing the amount of heat and light that reached Earth’s surface. The Dinosaurs were unable to adapt to this new, cooler habitat. Dinosaurs became endangered and then became extinct.
Human activity also contributes to loss of habitat. Development of housing, industry, and agriculture reduces the habitat of native organisms. To protect and conserve our biodiversity a treaty known as The Convention on Biological Diversity is signed to protect and sustain the diversity of life on Earth. It aims at conserving the species, attaining sustainability and sharing the genetic research and resources. The Convention on Biological Diversity has adopted the IUCN Red List of endangered species in order to monitor and research species’ population and habitats.
A step toward protecting them
News and stories about threatened and endangered animals are quite common these days. Species go extinct every year and extinction is large because of human activities. As the human population is growing more and more plant and species are becoming endangered, it is high time and important for students at this level to become aware of the situation and its consequences. It’s time students should take efforts to protect our vital global ecosystem and get along with the groups, associations, and institutions that are conducting them.
- Learning about endangered species: Teaching students about the wonderful wildlife, birds, fish and plants that live near us and how interesting and important they are in the first step towards protecting them.
- Recycling and buying sustainable products: students should be taught to buy recycled paper, sustainable products like bamboo and Forest Stewardship Council wood products to protect forest species. Minimizing the use of palm oil because forests, where tigers live, are being cut down to plant palm plantations.
- Harassing wildlife is illegal and cruel: Shooting or forcing an endangered animal into captivity is also illegal and can lead to their extinction. Teaching them not to participate in this activity is the first step towards protecting them.
- Protecting wildlife habitat: Perhaps the greatest threat that faces many species is the widespread destruction of habitat. Protecting their special places where they live is the best way to protect them. Wildlife must have places to find food, and shelter to live. Over-grazing and logging, all result in habitat destruction. Endangered species habitat should be protected.
By protecting habitat, entire communities of animals and plants can be protected together. Open space also provides us with great places to visit and enjoy.
Despite the apprehensions elaborated above, it is not the end of the road in fact, it should never be. Mankind has survived the high tides of time since ages and there is no reason at all, why it shouldn’t continue to blossom if the requisite balance is maintained among various factions of Mother Nature. Today, not only we know the problem at hand, the causes behind it & the consequences, but also the possible corrective and preventive measures to avert the undesired too. Just a simple wave of awareness and the concern towards the life and importance of these species in danger will have a magnanimous effect at large.
Implementation of courses in our mainstream education system over the plight of Endangered Species can very likely prove to be a small yet a significant step in this regard. A chain is as strong as its weakest link. To strengthen the Chain of Life on Planet Earth, it’s time to focus on the link which is getting weak. Let us join our hands in helping them and in return helping the existence of life-forms on earth. Yes, the phenomenon of Need drives a human effort to miles. And today –
They Need Us, as much as we Need Them!