Animal Extinction Paper

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Animal Extinction
Preventing Extinction Not much is thought about extinction in today’s society. One might argue that it is a small problem, and completely irrelevant; but according to statistics of scientific research, extinction is an important issue nationwide. Extinction of a species over time is undisputable, and inevitable; however, the burden of mankind on animals and their environment has caused extinction to increase severely. The extinction of certain species is outrageous; it affects all living organisms due to the Food Chain and Circle of Life. According to research, there is an average of 5 million species that exist on earth (Endangered Species/Species Extinction). 1.7 million have been discovered and identified, and since the 17th century, 83 mammals, 113 birds, and 869 plants have become extinct (Endangered Species/Species Extinction) Mankind should be attempting to preserve earth’s valuable habitants, not destroying their environment for human benefit. The growing rate of extinction can be reversed, but we, as humans, must first realize that it is important to stop the main causes of extinction: exploitation and disturbance, global climate change and pollution, and most importantly, habitat destruction.

During the imperial period of the Roman Empire, the gladiatorial games were the main source of local entertainment. During these barbarous acts, the gladiators were thrown into a blood-stained coliseum, where they were forced to battle exotic animals to the death. The gladiatorial games, although they are now a critical aspect of the Roman history, caused the extermination of around 9,000 animals - almost all predators in Western Europe, Africa, and Asia. Giraffes, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, panthers, elephants, crocodiles, jaguars, and countless other animals were killed, leading to one of the most tragic animal-related events in history (Wild).

On earth today, although we are not engaging in physical wars between man and beast, we are doing almost the same amount of damage without even realizing it; we are exploiting them, polluting their environment, and destroying their natural habitat. Leading too 5,000 of the world’s rarest species toward extinction (Numbers). In the United States alone, research completed by scientists discovered that an alarming number of 1,300 species of plants and animals have been added to the U.S. Endangered Species List (Numbers). The number of plants and animals listed as threatened or endangered continue to rise; only a small amount of species have been removed from the list because their numbers have recovered. In a recent analysis of the causes for these astounding numbers, 85% were linked to habitat loss, 49% to disturbance, 24% to pollution, and 17% to overexploitation (Wilcove 147).

Exploitation and Disturbance As explained above, 17% of all endangered animals are near extinction because of overexploitation. Exploitation is any form of endangerment toward species that exterminates the population faster than it is able to reproduce (Endangered Species/Species Extinction). Exploitation is the collecting, trapping, or killing of species for fur, food, sport, horns, or antlers, and it causes a loss of genetic biodiversity and relative species abundance (Overexploitation). During the early 20th century, one of the world’s most abundant birds, the passenger pigeon, was exploited to extinction. The same fatality has happened to many other animals, including various species of whales, bison, and tigers (Overexploitation). The most startling of them all is the case of the tiger, because currently, almost every species of tiger is endangered, considering that tigers are highly valued worldwide for their fur and medicinal purposes. The Bengal Tiger has the largest population, which is right around 2,000 (Numbers). The others – the...
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