A species of animal is considered endangered when the population is so small that they could quickly become extinct. They become the dodo, the dinosaur, and are never seen again except in pictures. There are thousands of endangered species in the world, and strides have been taken by many organizations to try and protect these dying creatures.
There are a bunch of reasons why these species have become endangered and are at risk for extinction.
Many animals are hunted extensively and because of it they are not able to reproduce more than they are killed. Some, like the ocelot, are hunted for their beautiful fur that is sold and made into clothing that costs a very shiny penny. Some, like whales and the dugong, are killed for their blubber. Many wild goats and sheep are hunted for their horns that are used for medicinal purposes. Elephants are hunted for their ivory tusks that are made into artifacts and expensive jewelry.
There are several species of sea turtle that are endangered and it is because their eggs are hunted. The eggs are stolen from nesting sites. These turtle eggs are sold for a high price and are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.
Loss of habitat
Another reason of endangered species is a loss of their homes. Most species live in specific areas on the earth and for many reasons, their homes are disappearing. Deforestation is another cause for the endangerment of the ocelot and other forest animals. The trees are cut down either to make room for more human progress or for the trees to be made into human goods. For some of the wild goats and sheep in Afghanistan, their mountains are being taken over by domesticated sheep and goats that are sent out to graze.
The biggest problem faced today is global warming. The greenhouse gases are heating up the earth’s atmosphere and that is causing the ice and glaciers to melt. This ice is home to polar bears, and they are losing their home because of the melting ice.
Loss of prey or food sources
If an animal cannot find food, they cannot feed their young or themselves, and they die. The more of that animal species that dies, the closer they come to extinction. In this way, if an animal is endangered because of hunting or some other reason, and that animal is prey to a larger species, the predator species becomes endangered, too. It is all connected.
Polluted oceans have also polluted the living vegetation and the fish within it. This vegetation and fish are often the food sources for other large mammals or fish. They eat the polluted food and get sick and die. Or their source of food dies and they end up with nothing to eat.
For the polar bear, they eat seals, and these seals swim up to the ice to bask in the sun. Because of global warming, there are fewer places for the seals to go and because of that, less seals for the polar bear to eat.
Lack of protection
There are many organizations that try to protect these endangered species. These groups try to breed animals in captivity and then release them in the wild. Or, they fight to make hunting a certain species illegal. However, not every endangered species in the world has a human group trying to aid them.
The wild goats and sheep of Afghanistan were named endangered in the 1970’s, but little has been done to try and prevent them from becoming extinct. They are still hunted for their horns.
Pallas Cat is another endangered species with protection problems. The Pallas Cat has organizations that wants to help it, but breeding them in captivity has proven difficult. Many kittens born in captivity die from disease.
Glenn, C. R. 2006. “Earth’s Endangered Creatures” (Online). Accessed 1/4/2010 at http://earthsendangered.com.