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Animals In Danger
Up until about 100 years ago, most of the planet was populated by animals that had no contact with humans at all. However, with the development of technologies and the ever-increasing need for raw materials such as wood, there are now few areas in the world that cannot be reached by humans. Due to the expansion of the human population, the world’s natural habitats are disappearing taking numerous animal and plant species with them. This situation is not ideal for humans as the world’s natural resources are being used up, but it is truly devastating for numerous animal species, who now effectively rely on help from humans in order to continue surviving successfully. The introduction of certain species to remote areas by humans has an enormous impact on the wildlife there. In many parts of the world, the introduction of domestic animals such as cats, dogs and goats, has had devastating consequences on the native animal species.
IUCN Red List
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), was founded by the United Nations in the 1940s to monitor the state of all living organisms on Earth. Part of it’s work is to compile the Red List of Threatened Species, which draws on information provided by thousands of scientists from around the world. Today the Red List shows that many threatened species are often in the same parts of the world. Areas in south-east Asia, Eastern Africa and South America have all been affected by drastic habitat changes such as deforestation, causing the population decline of numerous animal species.
Many animal species around the world have been subjected to severe over-fishing and hunting. Governments are being encouraged to take part in movements to ban the hunting of certain animal species around the world. Long, drift nets were used for mass-scale fishing in the open ocean but caused the death of numerous other animals including sea turtles, whales, seals and dolphins. To stop this from happening, the United Nations has now banned these nets from being dropped into the ocean. In order to discourage the poaching of endangered animals (generally for their body parts) there are now laws against trading them. Endangered animals such as tigers, rhinos, seahorses and even coral are poached in order to sell in the medicine markets in the east.
Animals depend on their natural habitat for survival, in order to find enough food and water in order to survive. The best way to preserve the world’s animal species, is to protect their habitats and today, many animal species are declining due to habitat loss, including deforestation in forests, destruction of coral reefs and climate change causing the ice to melt in the polar regions. A number of areas of jungle, wetlands and coastal regions have been declared sanctuaries in order to try and protect the species that live there.
When an animal species is considered to be on the brink of extinction, captive breeding can be an effective way to try and repopulate the fading species. Although captive breeding can be successful, it is not the best way to conserve our animal species as it requires a great deal of human input. In order for a species to survive effectively it must be able to do so on it’s own, without the immediate help from people.
One of the biggest problems with conservation is that it costs a lot of money to seemingly do very little. Many people are not interested in donating their money to something that does not produce immediate results. More and more people are beginning to “Adopt an Animal” from animal organisations and charities, but different animals evoke different emotions in people so some species end up getting more help than others.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was set up to control the movement of live wild animals and plants and their products, across international borders. CITES today, has been signed by more than 120 countries around the world and completely prohibits the trade of more than 400 species.