For some species, time is running out on the planet Earth. Extinction refers to the absolute termination of the kind of organism. The moment of extinction is the death of the last individual of the species with no hope of revival. Since the mass extinction of dinosaurs from our planet, the ecosystem has witnessed the rise and fall of a number of species.
The reasons for extinction are many. While some scientists blame the changing environmental conditions, others blame the loss of a species natural habitat. Whatever the reason or factors of extinction might be, there is one factor that is common to all the reasons – the human race. According to PBS, humans have increased the rate of extinction by 1000%. So, what animal will be extinct soon from the face of the earth?
Vaquita is the most critically endangered species on the planet earth, which will be extinct soon. This pint-size porpoise exists only in the Gulf of California off Mexico, and as per July 2019, less than 9 Vaquitas are left. According to researchers, they are likely to get extinct before 2021, unless their decline can be slowed down.
The smallest marine mammal of the world was classified as critically endangered by the IUCN back in 1996. In just 20 years, the population of Vaquitas has declined by 92%. One of the biggest threats to the Vaquitas population is illegal Gillnet fishing.
Other animals at the verge of extinction:
Javan rhinos are the most threatened of the five rhino species. These dusky grey colored species have a single horn that can grow up to 10 inches. Their skin has loose folds which give them the appearance of armor plating. Since colonial times, Javan rhinos are killed by trophy hunters and poached for their horns.
Javan Rhinos are one of the most critically endangered species, with only 72 rhinos left in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia. Currently, their population has got so scarce that these animals would be extinct in the next few years. They are the most threatened large mammal species of the planet Earth.
Cross River Gorillas reside in an area densely populated by humans. The clearance of forests for timber and creating an area for livestock and agriculture leads to mass destruction of their habitat. The effects have severely led to the loss of their home and food resulting in unsustainable survival. This destruction has made Cross river Gorillas as one of the animals that would be extinct soon.
The Cross River Gorilla is the most endangered African ape and was listed as critically endangered by the IUCN back in 2013. According to the recent count, there are only 200 to 300 cross river gorillas left in the wild.
Amur Leopard is the inhabitants of Savannas of Africa and has also adopted a small amount of life in the Eastern regions of Russia. They run at a rate of 37 miles per hour. This incredible animal can leap more than 19 feet horizontally and up to 10 feet vertically.
In 1996, IUCN listed Amur leopards as one of the critically endangered species on the planet. They are threatened by poaching, poaching of prey species, habitat loss due to human intervention, forest fires, as well as deforestation. As of February 2020, there are less than 100 Amur leopards left in the wild and around 180 in captivity.
Sumatran tigers are natives to the Indonesian Island of Sumatra. They are often distinguished by heavy black stripes on their orange coats. Listed as critically endangered by the IUCN in 2008, Sumatran tigers are the smallest surviving species of all tigers.
Sumatran tigers are poached by humans for their skin. They are getting extinct also because of the fact that their natural habitat is getting destroyed to extract palm oil from the trees. The Sumatran Tigers population has declined by 17% since 2000. It is estimated that only 400 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild.
Black Rhino is a species of rhinoceros, that is native to eastern and southern Africa. The European settlers in the early 20th century, colonized parts of Africa to establish farms and plantations. They used to consider rhinos as vermin and tremendously killed them at a higher rate for almost no reason.
Records from a very long time show that rhinos are one of the animals that would extinct soon if the slaughter continues at this rate. Between 1960 and 1995, the population of black rhinos dropped by 98%. Since then, a lot of laws have been put in place for the protection of the species. Currently, their number has increased and reached more than 5000 but is still regarded as “critically endangered.”
The Sumatran Orangutan is one of the three species of orangutans which exists on our planet. Native to the north of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, these species were listed as critically endangered species by the IUCN back in 2008. Sumatran Orangutans have witnessed sharp population decline, with a loss of more than 50% of the population in just 40 years.
Orangutans were illegally traded or were kept as pets, which is one of the major reasons of their population decline. Another important reason pushing orangutans on the verge of extinction is the loss of natural habitat. If the rapid decline is not controlled, Sumatran Orangutans would be extinct in the next 50 years. There are about 7,500 Sumatran Orangutans left in the world.
Hawksbill turtles are predominantly found in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. These sea turtles feed mainly on sponges and jellyfish by using pointed beaks to extract them from crevices on the reef. The population of the Hawksbill turtle has declined by over 80% in the last century.
The IUCN listed Hawksbill turtles as one of the critically endangered species of the world, with their population rapidly decreasing. The major threat to Hawksbill turtles is the loss of the coral reef. These sea turtles are also hunted down due to their beautiful shells which are used to make jewelry and trinkets. Hawksbill turtles are the most endangered of the seven species of sea turtles, with only 8,000 females left all over the world.
Causes/Reasons for Extinction
Nature takes care of its fellow beings in every possible way. There’s a place reserved for every species, whether flora or fauna. Similarly, all deserve an equal chance of living a healthy life in a sustainable environment without the interference of other species. But in the real scenario, this seems a little impossible. Who’s to blame? Let’s check out some key points below which to find out the true picture behind:
Lack of Genetic Diversity
When the number of species of a kind starts shrinking in numbers, the pool available for mating with each other is restricted. This may lead to a lack of diversity. Mating with a completely unknown species is much more desirable than mating with a close one. In such a condition, it leads to risk factors such as “inbreeding” undesirable genetic traits, like susceptibility to fatal diseases. Because of the above reason and major loss of habitat, the dwindling population of cheetah suffers from low biodiversity as a result of which the flexibility of their survival in disrupted conditions is shattering.
On eradication of their natural habitat by a human being or other creatures, the species tamper itself to be invasive and in agony. They may rise tremendously in the new arena hindering the outgrowth and survival of other species. The competition becomes one-sided because of which there are chances of existing species to lose their habitat.
Lack of Food and Disturbance of Food Chain
Food and fodder is a major part of the survival of every human being. A great number of species starve a long way for food and eventually die out. The food chain is the natural food cycle of the ecosystem. Every living being directly or indirectly depends on one another. Loss of a group of species could affect the food chain another way around. For example, the killing of mosquitoes that feed on human blood is a great idea for preventing a lot of diseases. But, simultaneously if affects its predators who feed on mosquitoes. This eventually leads to the disturbance in the food chain and loss of species.
Loss of Habitat
Every creature needs a kingdom to rule, feed itself, find shelter and up grow its family. For example, a bird needs a tree, a wild cat survives in the wild whereas, polar bears reside among the icy blankets. But, with human interference and destruction of large areas of forests, the inhabitants of the wild are losing their shelter.
A polluted, unhygienic and unhealthy environment is disturbing whilst impacting the health of a creature. Due to large industrial waste, pollution in the air, disposal of waste in water bodies influence the breathing cycle of the species. Also, several diseases pave their way around disturbing the natural processes of the system.
Climate Change and Global Warming
The smoke and greenhouse gases produced as a result of vehicles and a large number of industrial waste contribute largely to the climatic changes. The rise in temperatures is melting glaciers. The unfamiliar and imbalance in rising and fall of temperature is a constant threat to these animals. The animals are unable to adapt to these conditions and eventually die.
Humans are a big threat to the natural ecosystem. They often tend to destroy and eradicate the habitats of other fellow beings for their purposes and greed. Humans use animals for various purposes like food, producing animal leather, livestock, agriculture, etc. There’s a great need for humans to understand that every species of the universe deserves to live and survive without any interference.
These were some of the misleading factors which often contribute to the disturbance of the natural flow of biodiversity. This ultimately leads to the extinction of endangered species.
Ways to Protect Animal Kingdom
Recycle and use sustainable products
An increase in the usage of eco-friendly and sustainable products will never go out of style. Recycling old products will save a piece of the element of the ecosystem. Cutting off the use of furniture saves trees. Recycle your phone as an electronic ore carves out from gorilla habitat who are on the verge of extinction. Taking petty measures and steps can even result in saving a large part of the ecosystem.
Grow More Plants
Afforestation is any time better than deforestation and is a good deed. Planting more trees would help in keeping the surrounding atmosphere fresh and healthy. Moreover, species can find a new shelter to live in.
Reduce the level of water consumption
Water is the uttermost need for survival for all the living beings of this universe. Not only aquatic animals depend on aqua life, but all species crave the thirst for water. Moreover, water prevention should be the priority of all. It protects marine life, as well as other lives, also remains healthy with clean and healthy water free of chemicals and disinfectants.
Do not buy plastic products
Refuse plastics and limit their usage. Plastic produces a lot of chemical waste which again is harmful to the environment. Disposing of these products in the surroundings itself is a threat to these species. They can feed on these products and die at the spot. For example, cows can eat polythene bags that choke their oesophagus and die right there at the moment. Therefore, a severe need to reduce plastics is mandatory.
Reduce the use of chemicals
The use of chemical disinfectants like herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides to grow more plants could itself be harmful. The chemicals are harmful to the ecosystem. Also, when the animals or insects feed on these plants they die due to the consumption of chemicals. Therefore, mindful facts could be put into consideration.
Spread awareness and educate
Organizing awareness campaigns spread alertness about the ecosystem and the species who struggle for the battle of survival. Kids should be taught about the ecosystem and what are the responsibilities of a human being towards nature. This would become a root cause for sustainable and healthy development for future civilization.
On a concluding note, we observe that a large number of species are on the verge of extinction or almost extinct. Reasons contributing to the scenario are large enough to lead to severe circumstances and destruction of the natural ecosystem. All of us should take a vow and join hands to initiate a good deed of saving the environment. One does not need to go out and battle around for saving their surroundings every time, it could be done from home.
For the sake and equality of all the species residing on this earth, small efforts by one gather and comes around to be a huge outcome saving many lives, many souls.