Endangered species are rare or threatened plants or animals that are rapidly vanishing and becoming extinct. This means they are plants and animals that now exist in only small numbers and soon may be gone forever unless whatever is causing this to occur changes. Maybe as humans, we need to cherish these plants and animals as much as we cherish our material possessions, as after all these may be the most valuable treasures for all of mankind.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”) there are 6 categories of endangered animals:
• Extinct meaning no living member of a particular species on earth.
• Critically endangered which is the highest risk category for wild species and means these animals are facing high risk of extinction.
• Endangered animals are those that are close to becoming critically endangered.
• Vulnerable animals have high risk of extinction.
• Near threatened animals are ones that are believed to be endangered and close to extinction in the future, and
• Least concerned animals are species that have been evaluated but do not qualify for any other category.
The main reason animals are becoming extinct is due to direct human causes and environmental issues. Some of these include:
• Habitat deprivation
• Human use
• Entertainment purposes
• Environmental causes such as climate change, rising sea levels and global warming
• Exotic organisms
• Over fishing and poaching
Habitat loss is one of the main reasons why some species of animals are considered endangered. For example, the population of Africa doubles every twenty-four years. This means forests are destroyed to create space for people, to live and to grow crops, with the wood from the trees being used for firewood, charcoal and building supplies. With this real example, the destruction of so much forest in Africa has caused the numbers of Chimpanzee who live and rely on these forests to decline.
Some animals are endangered because they are killed for human use, whether for food or other reasons, such as for medicines, cultural or religious beliefs, or for parts of the animal seen as valuable. For example, parts of the tiger used in Asian superstition are the tiger claws, which are believed to protect a child from dark spirits, tiger whiskers which are seen as a poison in Malaysia, an aphrodisiac in Indonesia and something to assist women in childbirth in India and the middle east. The bones, fat, liver and genitalia of the tiger are considered medicines too.
Rhinoceros’ are illegally killed for their horns, which remarkably are worth up to $18,000 a pound. In Asia, mainly in China, the rhinoceros horn is a very valuable medicine and is seen to have healing properties. Some species like the Javan Rhino is near extinction and is estimated that only 35-45 rhinos are remaining in the wild. The Javan Rhino has been thought to have the same future as the Western Black Rhino, which was...