Endangered Species Essay

1513 words - 6 pages

There are 1,436 endangered species in the United States alone. (2) Every species depends on the survival of another, so what happens if one goes extinct? Every organism is affected in one way or another, and it is definitely not a positive affect. There are various terms to describe the status of these animals, just as there are many factors that played into them reaching that status. The extinction of an organism affects everything that the organism at hand comes into contact with directly and indirectly. That is true everywhere, even in your own backyard. There are also many methods discussed and practiced to counteract the extinction of species, but some are not near as successful as others. Though extinction is natural, it is important that we are not the cause of it, and that we do everything in our power to keep it from occurring.

What is “endangered”?
What is an endangered species though? To be considered an endangered species, the population of that species must be so small that it is at risk of going extinct. (2) Extinct is when a species is completely wiped out, and being declared extinct takes a long period of time. The species at question is only declared extinct when it has gone many years without being seen by anyone. (2) A species cannot be listed as endangered until the chance of recovery is very low. (4) Before a species reaches the point of being considered endangered, they are listed as threatened. A threatened species’ population must be low enough that could soon be at risk of being endangered, however there is not a specific number that applies to all species. (2, 5) There are five criteria when considered a species to be declared as endangered: significant decline in population, a decrease in the measure of geographic range the species has, a small population with fragmentation, decline, or fluctuation, a very small population size with restricted distribution, and an overall analysis of the species risk of extinction. For listing to be considered at all, one of these five must be met. (4) Species considered critically endangered are only in on location and/or have fewer than 50 individuals, endangered are in 2 to 5 locations and/or have 50 to 250 individuals, vulnerable are in 6 to 10 locations and/or have 251 to 1000 individuals, and secure are in 10 or more locations and/or have more than 1000 individuals. (5)

How does this happen?
There are many things that play into a species become threatened, endangered, and extinct. Some of these ways are natural, but a vast majority of them are because of human interference. Some species have their own species-specific risks that could lead to populations reaching risky, low numbers. Predators and disease are the most common, yet natural, way for a species to be threatened with extinction. (2) However, even these two things can be influenced by human activity. Habitat loss and destruction, poachers , contamination of a food supply, and overusing for educational,...

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