Both Humans and Animals are Endangered Species

Every morning when you wake up in the morning, the first thing you may think about most likely isn’t “How am I going to help the world”? But how would you feel if I told you that you are one of the main causes of species around the world going extinct? Well most people have cars that run off gas and that leads to tons of particles that get into the air and contribute to the cause of global warming. The issues just keep arising from there. Extinction means, “The state or process of a species, family, or larger group being or becoming extinct.” If the world keeps evolving as fast as it is what will the meaning of life become to be? According to the International Animal Rescue Foundation- Environmental News & Media the top 5 causes of species extinction are habitat fragmentation, agriculture, human overpopulation, deforestation, and poaching and hunting.

Habitat Fragmentation is the process by which habitat loss results in the division of large, continuous habitats into smaller, more isolated remnants (encyclopedia of life science). This occurs when natural areas are disjointed and converted into urban or agricultural land, such as fences and roadways. It creates barriers in areas and isolates the animals and provides opportunity for invasions of non-native species. Did you know that approximately 33% of homes in the United States are built in undisturbed natural habitats according to The Wildlife Society? It creates barriers through the wildlife home areas and also may lead to inbreeding, which can cause genetic abnormalities and weaknesses. This could be avoided if there were wildlife crossings or tunnels that allowed safe passage ways for the animals. Habitat fragmentation can also be cause by oil and gas exploration for example; noise pollution, air quality degradation, waterway pollution, and habitat loss. Was that us the people can help is by purchasing land for habitat preservation, developers creating land similar to the look and size of the land they impact and by limiting commercial and residential developments of critical habitats.

Agriculture has everything to do with land, breeding of animals and plants to provide our everyday needs. But when speaking on this topic many people leave out the fact that pesticides are involved. Pesticides are substances used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants or to animals. Not only does it harm the animals but it’s the answer to many issues that we humans deal with because of the things we consume. United States Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that an estimated 67 million birds die from pesticide poisoning every year and almost 9 times more are exposed to the substance. According to The Guardian the two pesticides that are most likely harming the 1,782 species (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and plants) on the Endangered Species Act are Malathion and chlorpyrifos. The animals and plants are suffering from their main source of food/nutrients because it’s damaged by us people, especially farmers. Simple ways that you can help from home is by treating only the specific areas needing treatment, keep pesticides out of waters and areas near moisture, and avoid using them in areas where they can enter sewers or storm drains.

As far as farmers, they can improve the environment by leaving a border of untreated vegetation between treated areas or by areas that wildlife may be present in.

Did you know that the two main reasons why many species are extinct or becoming extinct is because of habitat destruction and illegal hunting. Those two issues are a result of overpopulation caused by us; humans. Overpopulation and poaching/hunting are connected in a way. According sites.stedwards.edu in 2011 the western black rhinoceros was declared extinct due to hunting. Humans used their horns for jewelry, medicine and weapons. People at the time were unaware that Rhino horns didn’t have any medical benefits but because of the people’s ignorance and the high demand for it, it didn’t matter. And simply because of ignorance well never be able to experience them in their natural habitat. According to ecology.com for every 1,000 people there are 19 births, which results in 131.4 million people born each year. If 55.3 million people die each year there’s clearly way more births than there are deaths. It’s inconsistent and the more space we take up the less space there is available for animals and other species. There is anything between 3.5-7 billion trees being cut down per year, and that is extremely sad. Not only are there animal species that are losing their homes but there’s other that are losing their source of food.

Deforestation is the removal of forest or stand of trees where the land is converted to a non-forest use. Trees are a huge part of the water cycle by returning water vapor back to the atmosphere. Trees also protect the ground soils which keep them moist. Without them the forest could become a desert. With trees protecting the forest floor from the sunrays and maintaining the heat to keep it warm at night, it’s causing a disruption to animals and plants. But the biggest issue of them all is the climate changing which causes global warming. Ten species that are mostly affected by global warming are the Hawiian Honeycreepers, Bairds Sandpiper, Giant Mountain Lobelia, Bramble Cay Melomys, Sierra Nevada Blue, Sea Turtles, Adelie Penguins, White lemuroid ringtail possum, Staghorn Corals. Have you ever thought about how we would survive without the every ecosystem?

There are 6 different types of ecosystems and they consist of the forest, grasslands, deserts, tundra’s, freshwater, and marine life. Each of them has a role that plays a huge significance to the world we live in.

For instance a forest has three different ecosystems within itself; tropical, temperate, and boreal forests. A tropical forest ecosystem is a community with a constant temperature and a high rainfall. The level of humidity and density of the vegetation give the ecosystem a one of a kind water and nutrient cycle. In the rain forest one of the endangered species is the Bornean Orangutan due to habitat destruction and illegal hunting. According to Scientific American; they have been endangered since 2008 and it’s estimated to be about 14,000 of them left. Orangutans depend on high-calories for their survival. People would kill them for bush meat and traditional medicines. The two species of orangutans are found on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Southeast Asia.

In a Greenland ecosystem it’s a community that contains a few trees or shrubs, covered with vegetation and dominates by grasses and glasslike plants. These lands are covered in grasses and grass-like plants that have growing points close to the soil and are able to keep growing even after being nibbled on by animals because it’s one of their sources of food. Grasslands support animals such as zebras, antelope, bison and more. There are many reasons why we humans should try to protect the grasslands and the different ecosystems because they all serve a purpose. Although grasslands are what many different species call home, the area is fragile because it’s scarce on water and it depends on different rain episodes to remain the way it is. The Miombo woodlands cover most of Central and South Africa, and the woodland creatures that roam the area consist of elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebras etc. But the development is threatened by agriculture, ranching, and charcoal production. How would you feel one day your children went able to experience animals that we refer to as common today, well if we don’t start to take a stand in our world now there’s a possibility that that nightmare could come true?

The global importance of the desert biome is significant; there are many animals that live in it and its source if sand. You may be wonder why he sand part matters but there are different species where the sand is their home and few plant species that use it as a source to grow. There are insects and spiders that are the main food source to frogs and birds in this ecosystem. Unlike other ecosystems, this one is affected by a ripple effect if a species of animals or plants overpopulate or under populate, because the different species will slowly but surely run out of their main food source. This information is all according to desertbiomeadventure.weebly.com, and they also believe that once vultures consume all of the dead turtles and frogs they will starve and die.

According to Endangered Species International; the desert tortoise is found in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, they are listed threatened and vulnerable in the Endangered Species Act and the IUCN. Most of the tortoise’s water intake comes from the moisture in the grass and wildflowers. Some suffer from upper respiratory tract disease and it’s caused by pet owners releasing sick tortoise’s back into the wild. Ways to protect them I by storing trash in containers with tightly secure lids, landscaping your with native plants that don’t require water (if you live in the desert), and find was to reduce food and water sources that are available to ravens because that’s a predator to them.

How much do you know about tundra’s? Well tundra’s are one of the earth’s coldest, harshest biomes. The environment is full of treeless regions found in the Arctic and is on the top of mountains. The climate is cold/ windy and rainfall is adequate. For majority of the yea tundra’s are snow-covered, except of the summer when wildflowers began to bloom. The plants and animals that live in tundra’s consist of mountain goats, sheep, marmots, and birds. According to the National Geographic not many cushion plants survive growing in the mountain plains, but are able to row in the rocks due to the warmth and they are sheltered from the wind. In the Arctic tundra the average temperature is 10 – 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and many species are supported before of it for example; Arctic foxes, polar bears, gray wolves, caribou, musk-oxen, etc.

Did you know that the summer growing season in tundra’s are only 50-60 days even when the sun shines 24 hours a day? Global warming has a huge impact on tundra’s because different species that are typical found further south are being to move onto the tundra. For instance the Article fox is now competing with the red fox for food and territory because the red fox relocated to the Arctic fox’s environment. Global warming is confusing the animals and turning them against each other even though they may not have ever crossed paths if it weren’t for climate change.

Freshwater ecosystems include ponds, rivers, lakes, streams, springs, etc. Lentic, lotic, and wetlands are the three different types of freshwater habitats. Lentic is standing water such as lakes and ponds. Lotic is rapidly moving fresh water like streams and rivers and wetlands are areas of saturated land such as marshes and swamps. They ae often contrasted with marine ecosystems but freshwater ecosystem don’t contain the larger salt content. Did you know that lakes that produce more algae usually produce small fish? Although freshwater ecosystems are smaller bodies of water, they provide major services; for example fish production, nutrient transport, recreational value, etc. Freshwater ecosystems are affected by higher temperatures and thermal structure according to sciencedirect.com. Freshwater ecosystems are essential for human survival, because they provide us with drinking water and it’s the home for more than 40%of the world’s fish species; according to National Geographic.

Marine ecosystem is the complex of living organisms in the ocean environment. Did you know that marine waters cover two-thirds of the surface of the Earth? There are many different animals and plants that live in a marine ecosystem, just think about all of your favorite aquatic animals at your local zoo. Marine biomes are divided into three distinct ecosystems: oceans, coral reefs and estuaries. One of the main species that are suffering in marine ecosystems are the coral reefs. Coral reefs are located in warm, shallower waters, and are primarily made up of coral. According to sciencing.com, organisms that live in the marine ecosystems must adapt to variations in salt levels as a result of changes in climate and the influence of freshwater from rivers, streams, etc. (also according to sciencing.com). Coral reefs are mainly affected by humans, ocean acidification, and global warming.

We are killing the coral reefs by the waste that we don’t dispose of properly (plastic pollution), by selling them for aquariums, carbon emissions, and industrialized fishing; according to weforum.org. Hard corals are considered as reef-building corals. They have stone like structures that are composed of calcium carbonate, which is similar to the structure of shells (clams, snails and oysters); according to climate interpreter. Because of all the pollution and other issues in the world going on, coral in the future may be brittle and less resilient to other factors influencing their survival. Ocean acidification is the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The warming the temperature in the ocean water gets the bigger chance that the coral reefs are exposed to bleaching. But out of the three main things that affect the coral reefs climate change is the most threatening. It affects them by making the sea level rise, the water changes to the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, and altered ocean circulation patterns; according to NOAA.gov.

Now what are you going to do to insure that our animals and other species will have a future? How will we survive if our ecosystems are destroyed? We rely on ecosystems way more than you may think, for instance; ecosystems provide positive things like pollination, clean air and water, mineral nutrients and our food. There are many ways that you, yes you just a normal person can put in the effort to save all the endangered animals. It’s never too late to help issues that still exist. If you have a garden you can easily try to refrain from using pesticides whenever there not need, and if you still feel the need to use them; only use them in the area needed instead of spreading it other places. You may think that you’re helping yourself by preventing future use of the product, but you’re also spreading it to places that will just cause more problem. Always remember the three R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle). Make sure that you all disposing of all waste properly. Become more active, on a nice day try walking or biking to work instead of hoping in your car and producing more pollution. And lastly the internet is at your service, use it to look up organizations that you could possibly donate too so that it can be put to a good cause. There are endless ways to help the issues that are going around you but you have to take advantage yourself. The future started with you but don’t forget it can also come to an end because of you.

Animals are, like us, endangered species on an endangered planet, and we are the ones who are endangering them, it, and ourselves. They are innocent sufferers in a hell of our making.

– Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson