Most of us are now aware of damage which our modern way of life is doing to the environment. This includes the harm which we are inflicting on many animals. Indeed, we are in danger of wiping out some species, if we have not already done so.
For millions of years, extinction among animals was а natural process. In fact, it was part of the process of evolution. In recent years, however, the extinction of some species has been the result of human activities. Had it not been for these, many more animals would have survived.
Some species have either been made extinct, or become endangered, because of hunting. Now, even the very earliest of humans were hunters, since they ate the flesh of animals and clothed themselves in their skins, doubtless their hunting gradually contributed to the extinction of some species. However, it was the introduction of guns, with their accurate aim; which put certain animals at great risk, and from the nineteenth century on several species were on the brink of extinction.
By this time, animals were being hunted for commercial purposes, apart from the provision of food and clothing. For example, elephants were being hunted for their ivory. Nowadays, attempts are being made to regulate such wholesale commercial hunting, but it is difficult to control in some areas. Thus, animals continue to die to make profits for humans. Of course, not only commerce is to blame. Hunting as a sport has also played a part in the extinction of certain species. A more modern threat to many animals is the destruction of their environment and the resultant changes in the ecology of whole areas. Our use of pesticides and other chemicals has polluted both soil and water, and this pollution has proved to be toxic to many of the plants which are part of the habitat of many animals. Furthermore, we regularly lay waste to land previously inhabited by animals, in order to make way for expanding populations or, as in the case of deforestation, to provide...
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