Endangered and Extinct Animals
Many animals are endangered, and may soon become a part of the list of extinct animals. Human activities are solely responsible for the condition of endangered animals. Habitat loss of the endangered animals is caused due to the rapid development activities of man.
According to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), one-fourth of mammals, one-half of fresh-water turtles, one-third of amphibians, one-eighth of birds, and one-fifth of sharks are endangered.
Twenty times more species than those present today inhabited the earth. As the time passed by, many animals became extinct due to natural disasters. Dinosaurs, which existed about 65 million years ago, are believed to be the last animals to become extinct in a series of volcanic eruptions.
It is not that the extinction of animals has been due to natural factors only. However, excessive hunting of animals, in early days, for pleasure and bounties is considered to be one cause for the extinction of animals.
The European expansions in the 15th and 16th centuries have been the recent cause of extinction of animals. They cleared the forests and cut down the trees to make rapid development, and destroyed the natural habitats of many animals.
Some animals have died because they could not adapt to the changed climatic conditions. The destructive activities of man have drastically changed the global climate, and made the endangered animals homeless.
Environmentalists study the decaying remains and fossils of extinct animals to gain information about them. Some fossils are millions of years old, and give insightful information about extinct animals. Quagga, Spectacled Commarant, Caspian Tiger, Dodo, Kemp's Ridley Turtle, Tasmanian wolf, the golden mantled tree Kangaroo, etc. are no more alive, but scientists are trying to find information about them.
The "red list" of IUCN includes all the extinct and endangered animals in the world. The list includes the names of some extinct animals such as Javan Tiger, Elephant Bird, Dodo, and Passenger Pigeon. Endangered animals on the list of IUCN are Giant Turtle, Bactrian camel, Mountain Gorilla, Brown Spider Monkey, Island Fox, Gharial, Dhole, Markhor, Blue Whale, Asian Elephant, Giant Panda, Snow Leopard, African Elephant, Cheetah, Lion, Indian Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, and Polar Bear.
Plastic is an inorganic matter, which does not decompose. Plastic wastes are considered to be one of the greatest threats for the endangered animals. It kills about one million sea birds annually, and has endangered the lives of countless marine animals.
Poaching is yet another factor, which has endangered animals. The illegal business of poaching has threatened the existence of many endangered animals, and pushed them on the brink of extinction.
Several governments have initiated steps to check the illegal practice of poaching. Laws of the land make poaching of endangered animals a punishable offence and the poachers are sentenced to severe imprisonment. But, the illegal business of poaching will remain there because a lot of money is involved in this ugly business.
Therefore, a determined effort can save the endangered animals from becoming extinct. World Wildlife Federation (WWF) has taken the responsibility to conserve the endangered animals. Our little effort to safeguard the endangered animals will contribute to prevent them from becoming extinct.