Saving all the species that are currently in danger of extinction would entail a large global economic outlay and a hard work of efforts and practices that would ensure the welfare of these animals. However, would all this effort be worth it or would it be better to allocate that money and energy to other human aspects?
Difference between natural extinction and accelerated extinction
The extinction of species is something natural that has already occurred on other occasions throughout the history of the Earth, the last 65 million years ago with the extinction of the dinosaurs . About two-thirds of the animal and plant species that existed on Earth are now extinct. This process has occurred, until today, as a result of natural selection and favored biological diversity and the proliferation of new species.
However, today these extinctions are occurring in an alarming way as a direct consequence of the harmful actions of one of the species, the human . Studies estimate that, only in the last century, the number of species that have become extinct corresponds to the number of species that would have done so naturally in a period of time between 800 and 10,000 years. That is, the loss of species is occurring at breakneck speed compared to normal situations previously occurring on Earth.
This rapid loss of species will give way to the sixth great mass extinction if means are not put in place to prevent it effectively and urgently. Plants and animals, including humans, will then see their existence threatened until they disappear. A single species responsible for this catastrophe, ours, and the only one that has the possibility of finding solutions.
We continually hear about threatened species and the need to help them improve their numbers. At first, this type of news alarms us, then it makes us sad and later it can even sound monotonous and boring. Overall, we humans have our own problems to attend to, right?
Well, the truth is that this is another problem that should be part of our day to day. In fact, one of the most important, since our very existence also depends on it . The most advanced and intelligent species on the planet does not seem to foresee the problem that it is causing itself by being busy in continuing to increase its power, its resources and its spaces.
The following are the main reasons why it is important to help and protect animals in danger of extinction and threatened or in a state of vulnerability:
- Animal life is an irreplaceable network of species, totally interconnected and with which we interact.
- Because animal life offers essential natural services for human beings: medicinal resources, food and natural heritage.
- Because biodiversity is healthy for ecosystems.
- The right to life, love and respect towards them and towards the fauna.
The fact that, for example, a species of fish in a river became extinct would pose a problem for the rest of the species, including humans, because, despite the fact that this fish was not edible and did not represent a directly appreciable benefit for people, the role of that fish could focus on keeping rivers clean and drinking water. The same occurs with other species and groups of animals, such as pollinating insects , as basic sources of food, or birds, which protect us from insect pests. Although it is difficult to predict the total impact that the loss of a species could cause on the planet , this fact could have disastrous consequences in the ecosystem, triggering reactions that would affect other species.
Thus, the destiny of all the species of the planet, including that of the human being, are linked to each other; everything is united. Each species has its role in the ecosystem , is part of a network of species and contributes that irreplaceable grain of sand in the world. The union of all those grains or species form an extraordinary result that allows us to live the way we do. The lack of these endangered granites, the endangered species, would alter food chains and ecosystems, which would ultimately imply an inescapable imbalance for the health of the planet in general and for our well-being in particular.
As sources of food for survival, resources to advance medical research or natural and cultural heritage of a region, the life of natural ecosystems, both animal and plant, is essential for humans . For this reason, the situation of the animals that today are in danger of extinction poses a threat to humans and their resources.
In addition to the obviousness of the nutritional contribution that animals make to our diet, species offer a great contribution to the economy of countries, as is the case with ecotourism , which respects the ecosystem, avoiding mistakes made in tourism consumer or traditional, by which aggressions are committed to the environment that can seriously damage the entire environment, as happens with tourist visits to coral reefs.
Likewise, in the field of bioprospecting, or the practice of exploring natural resources, with each lost species a field of research is closed forever, with all that this entails. In medicine, bee venom is used to treat arthritis, snake venom as an anticoagulant, horseshoe crab blood for vaccines, medical devices and drugs, etc. Others, like many marine animals (sponges, anemones, stingrays, etc.), are assuming great studies and advances against leukemia and other diseases. What if the next species to go extinct could have served to cure cancer?
In addition, the more animal and plant losses that occur, the more it will cost the human being economically to recover and artificially manufacture relays that meet the needs that other species previously did. This would translate into a cost that would far exceed what was invested in trying to conserve threatened species , and an effort that would end up being insufficient to protect ours, since biological diversity is irreplaceable and fundamental to our quality of life.
Biodiversity is healthy for ecosystems
Ecologists consider that an ecosystem with a large number of species is a more stable and resistant ecosystem than one poor in these. The union and cooperation between species favors the existence of a healthy planet. However, the human being is not collaborating in this coalition.
We destroy habitats, exploit animals, pollute ecosystems, etc. Human beings disadvantage the natural biodiversity of ecosystems . The only species that seem to matter if they grow in number are, in addition to the human itself, those that favor people because they are food or serve as a resource for other types of goods (medicines, creams, clothing, etc.).
In search of the general well-being of all and as supposedly rational beings, we must be responsible for the well-being of the planet and stop causing the extinction of many species, since biodiversity is essential to conserve ecosystems and, therefore, the already explained network of species .
Nature is fascinating and powerful and, although not all human beings know how to value it, there are many people who love it unconditionally. The conservation of animal species is important for the simple fact of loving life and its beauty and respecting its existence .
Of course, sometimes it happens that these attempts to conserve species focus on colorful, beautiful and easily recognized animals by humans, and forget the less favored species, either because they seem “ugly”, less “funny” and ” tender ”or unknown. In the conservation of animal species, as in the case of plants, the same effort should be allocated to all genera and families.
Every species has the right to live until its natural time runs out. We are all equal, we are all life, and we must love and preserve that life in all cases equally.
Once the importance of conserving endangered animals is understood , we must take steps to achieve it. Although it seems that the power to safeguard species is only in the hands of governments, high officials or companies involved, we can all be part of the change and the aid. Every action counts, and the sum of all individual actions can be the key to recovering endangered species. Take note of how to help endangered animals .
Fight against pollution
The pollution of the environment is one of the most important causes of extinction of animals. By polluting, we dirty and damage the natural habitat of the species and favor global warming , altering the natural climatic conditions of the area where the species live. Therefore, we must be clean and respectful of the environment. Recycling is in our hands, as is opting for less polluting alternatives, such as using public transport.
Helps restore natural habitats
Habitat destruction is another of the greatest dangers, affecting 85% of threatened species, according to the IUCN. You can also help fight against this problem that prevents species from coexisting in their natural areas, causing them to become extinct, restoring affected areas: plant trees native to the area; cleans polluted areas, such as beaches, etc.
Fight against poaching and mascotism of exotic animals
Hunting without a license or practiced in prohibited places should be avoided and denounced, as should the possession or sale of exotic animals as pets. Say NO to non-domestic “pets” and products made from endangered animals. Acquire products responsibly, without being manufactured with parts from these animals, and prevent the illegal trafficking of species from profiting and continuing to grow. Likewise, it helps to eradicate these serious problems that do so much damage to species by reporting the cases you know.
Fighting forest fires
Avoid throwing glass or other products that can create fires in nature and notify the fire department and national police if you are aware of a fire or of something or someone that could cause it.
Respect and enforce protected areas
Always follow the indications that are shown in the nature walks, nature reserves and protected areas. In the same way, enforce those rules by your companions and do not hesitate to call the attention of those who do not.
Collaborate in education
Proactively become part of the change and help spread information like this so that everyone can understand the importance of following these steps. Remember that together we can manage to change the situation.
Become a volunteer
You can also help proactively by joining an NGO or non-profit organization that fights for the well-being of species and ecosystems, as well as an animal shelter or shelter.
Some organizations with which we can collaborate, either financially with their conservation programs or through volunteer programs, are:
- WWF (World Wildlife Fund)
- SEO/Bird Life
- Ecologists in Action
- Friends of the earth