Image Credit: Kaelee L., Petersburg, MI
Ever since life began on Earth, species have existed and naturally gone extinct. Many people credit this to natural selection and “survival of the fittest.” Some would argue that since extinction is a natural, normal thing, humans shouldn’t pay much attention to it. Species become endangered every day and so far, it hasn’t affected humans. Plus humans aren’t responsible for the extinction of animals, or are they? Studies show that 99% of currently endangered species are at risk due to human activity. Humans have a responsibility to help save endangered species because we are the top reason for endangerment because we clear these creatures’ habitats by deforestation, mining, or expanding and most of these animals, plants, or insects are at risk because of human activity like pollution from cars or factories.
There are still people who highly believe that endangered animals shouldn’t be conserved. Many would argue that the cost on saving these animals is too high and outweighs the possible benefits. Sure the Earth is changing, but animals have to adapt to it if they want to survive, just like humans. Also, most animals don’t contribute anything to humanity, right? Some would even say that “it’s the circle of life, and humans are the ruling species because we can learn to adapt,” but these species do contribute something and some might not notice it, but if they were to disappear they’d definitely see the change. In my opinion many of these people are just making up excuses out of selfishness. Humans choose to ignore these problems because they don’t have an immediate effect on us. They choose ignorance over responsibility because it’s the easier route.
Think of an ecosystem like a game of Jenga. The players are humans and natural selection. Each block supports one another and each time you remove a block you risk the entire tower falling. Humans carelessly remove blocks without much thought to them while natural selection carefully chooses each block and makes sure that other blocks are only slightly affected. Eventually, humans are going to remove a block that will send the entire tower tumbling down and along with it, each individual block. Just like the blocks, animals depend on one another, and at one point one species will disappear and it’ll cause a chain reaction. For example, let’s say that a certain plant species goes extinct. Other animals depended on that plant for food and without it, the whole food chain is messed up.
Humans are largely responsible for extinction. We clear forests and other lands to build houses or mine on, by doing so we are taking away an animal’s home. We destroy a creature’s habitat and now, they have nowhere to live. Things like pollution and global warming can also contribute to the loss of habitat or extinction. For example, polar bears rely on the arctic sea to hunt and live. The melting of the ice only means that polar bears will have less access to food, mating, and become extinct. Scientists have predicted that if the Arctic keeps getting warmer, 2/3 of the world’s polar bears could disappear by the end of the century. Humans help global warming by burning fossil fuels like coal and oil into the atmosphere. These gases only add on to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and help higher temperatures. Also, trees help remove CO2 from the atmosphere and deforestation slows down this process.
Lastly, many animals provide knowledge that help in science and biological sciences. A loss of biodiversity can mean the loss of possible discovery of treatments for diseases or health problems. For example, a flower type called Rosy Periwinkle almost went extinct due to deforestation in Madagascar. The flower was later found to have a substance that fights and cures Leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease. It also helped increase the survival rate of Leukemia from 20% to 80%. If this flower had gone extinct, humans may have never discovered this and it would’ve had a very different effect in the medical field. A second example is the Gila monster’s saliva. It has been found that its saliva can help people with type-2 Diabetes. The Gila monsters’ habitat is currently being destroyed to build homes and roads. The Rosy Periwinkle and Gila monster are only a few of the many species that should be conserved due to their contribution to human research. If these species go extinct, humans loose possible medicine or research opportunities. (Daniel, Natural Exposures)
In the end, the number of endangered species rises every year. Scientists even predict that by 2050, 30%-50% of all species will be on the way to extinction. (Cierra Creative, Connect) As humans, we can help conserve animals’ habitats and not take away their homes. We can all become socially aware of the things we buy and where they come from. By teaching others about endangerment we help spread awareness about it and show others how to make a difference. Even though extinction is a natural process, things like pollution, deforestation, and global warming help speed up extinction. Humans should help endangered animals because they can greatly contribute to humans and we are only speeding up the process. If we help these animals now, we can help save them before it’s too late.
• "Should We Protect Endangered Species?" Should We Protect Endangered Species? N.p., 24 Oct. 2013. Web. 2 May 2015.
• Cox, Daniel J. "Climate Change." Climate Change. Natural Exposures, 2015. Web. 2 May 2015.
• Westbrook, Corry. "Why save Endangered Animals?" (n.d.): n. pag. USFWS, 2 Jan. 2006. Web. 1 May 2015.
• Stromberg, Joseph, and Sarah Zielinski. "History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian." History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian. N.p., 18 Oct. 2011. Web. 2 May 2015.
• "How Animals Help." How Animals Help. Bio Medical Research, 3 June 2009. Web. 10 May 2015.
• Creative, Cierra. "Connect." Endangered Species Coalition. N.p., 21 Jan. 2015. Web. 15 May 2015.
Many people consider that the protection of endangered species can be explained by quite obvious reasons, but some people still question why it is important to save animals from extinction. Therefore, the following essay on extinction of animals will make an attempt to clarify the question of animal protection. The current extinction of animals essay is aimed at providing well-grounded arguments as for why animals should be saved from dying out. The main question to be answered in the following animal extinction essay is whether there exist any environmental benefits in relation to species preservation. The paper will provide arguments in favor and against animal protection in an attempt to explain the necessity to protect endangered species and make it clear that animal extinction is not beneficial for both the environment and the humanity. Overall, the world community should take measures in order to improve the situation and prevent drastic consequences for the humanity.
What does the word “endangered” mean? Before we start the debate, there should be provided some background. It is common knowledge that species are considered endangered if there is any risk of extinction, which can be caused by a number of factors including climatic changes and influence of humans. Therefore, in order to clarify whether certain species are endangered or not, there is a need to observe the trends of the growth and decline of these very species and the reasons of why they are at a risk of dying out.
As for the arguments in favor of animal protection, one of the most notable arguments refers to a high level of biodiversity. The word “biodiversity” means the diversity of biological species. If the biodiversity is in order, it indicates that the environment does not need any interventions. However, the destroyed balance in the diversity of biological species means that some animals are endangered and therefore need to be preserved. All this means that if the cornerstone species are removed from the ecosystem, whether these are plants or predators, this can entirely destroy the whole environmental system. Furthermore, endangered species are also an indicator of the state of human health. For instance, after certain species like the Bald Eagle have become extinct, the environmental dangers associated with their extinction have resulted in harmful effects on the human health. This means that proper measures should be taken in order to prevent the potential damage to human welfare. When something goes wrong in the ecosystem, it also affects the humans in this way or another, which means that endangered species give an important warning to the humanity.
Another aspect related to animal extinction is that many species that have become extinct are considered a kind of cultural symbol. An example of such symbols is elephant ivory that has caused a real epidemic in terms of poaching. The same refers to tiger pelts that have long been considered a valuable symbol across the world. This argument leads to an assumption that the preservation of endangered species is in many ways similar to the restoration of destroyed cathedrals or other iconic buildings that have a symbolic meaning for the humanity.
One more important issue is the scientific value of various endangered species. It is a fact that many species are on the verge of extinction but at the same time prove to be useful from the scientific perspective. A number of plants that are included in the lists of endangered species are valuable for the development of such spheres as health care, namely cancer investigations, and agriculture when it comes to the development of organic insecticides. If these species are destroyed before the researchers have a chance to investigate their properties to full extent, it will definitely have a number of negative effects for the whole humanity. Specifically, cancer research is of great importance, because the cure for this disease has not yet been found, and maybe some of the species of plants being on the verge of extinction would be valuable for solving the ever-increasing problem of cancer.
As for the arguments against animal preservation, it needs to be noted that according to some people, researchers spend too much financial resources with little effect. The efforts directed towards animal conservation often cause harm to the local industries, including farming and mining. However, a counter argument would be that the destruction of industries in its turn causes harm to the environment, as former workers of farms and other industries turn to using illegal means of earning money, including poaching. Some people claim that the cost of animal protection is not significant. Ecotourism has become a successful attraction for people. The adventures that one can experience in Safari definitely bring much money to the world economy. Due to ecotourism, people can see some rare and exotic species that they would never be able to see anywhere else. Various species introduced in national parks across the world attract numerous tourists and consequently, bring much money to their owners at the same time contributing to the research on endangered species. This proves that animal protection is nevertheless important despite numerous contradictions that continue to arise across the global community.
Among other counterarguments against natural conservation is the fact that the humanity might well do better without certain species. Many people seriously doubt that wolves and other dangerous species should be preserved. Another issue of concern is that many people across the world are dying of various incurable diseases and starvation. Then why do the governments of the developed countries spend huge amounts of money on animal conservation instead of helping poor nations? Some people simply do not see the point in animal protection as this aspect does not seem to be of great importance for them.
Despite all the arguments against animal protection, it is still important to preserve the natural surroundings as most researches prove that the balanced ecosystem plays an important role in ensuring the welfare of the humanity. Therefore, endangered species should be protected at all costs.
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