Man has protected wildlife for thousands of years. Nevertheless, some of the world’s rarest animals and plants have become extinct. Many species have died out as a result of excessive hunting and logging. Many more are becoming rarer and danger of extinction. The ‘quagga’, a kind of zebra that used to roam the veld of South Africa, had disappeared for good. The animal had been hunted for its meat and hide, and the last one died in zoo in 1883.
Less than a century ago, millions of passenger pigeons could be found in North America. Alas, the last passenger pigeon died in 1914 in a zoo in Cincinnati. The Arabian oryx is a beautiful antelope with long horns. Unfortunately, it was widely hunted until it nearly became extinct in the 1960’s. A number of oryxes were captured alive from Saudi Arabia and bred in a zoo in the United States. Later some adult oryxes were returned to their natural desert environment.
The above are some examples of wildlife that have become or are becoming extinct. Many more species are being threatened today. They include the turtles, rhinoceros, tigers and whales. It is heartening to note that many countries are taking positive steps to prevent these species from becoming extinct. Laws have been introduced to protect the animals. International agreements have been made to control or end the trade of endangered species. National parks have been created all over the world to protect the natural habitat of wildlife. A huge whale sanctuary has also been created in the Indian Ocean. Voluntary organizations are also playing a positive role in helping to protect the endangered species.