There are millions of species of animals that roam the wilds of the world, take flight in blue skies, or swim in blue waters. Of these millions of species, over one million have been identified by man. In the past one-hundred years, five-hundred known animals have gone extinct. And the disappearance of animals on the earth is increasing at an accelerated and alarming rate.
People – We Can Be the Villains!
The main reason for the plight of our planet’s species is human habitat destruction and hunting.
As of June 2019, there are 7.7 billion people on the face of the earth. And by 2023, there will be 8 billion!
The needs of this exploding human population is causing competition between humans and animals for space and food. More people means more housing. More people means more land for agriculture and more industries to provide commodities for more people to produce more pollution.
Hunters, legal and illegal, slaughter millions of animals each year for body parts. Regional people hunt for survival. Other hunters and poachers kill to supply universal demands for restaurant food delicacies, folk medicines, trophy kills, furs, and pets.
Over-hunting also destroys animals in the food chain that other animals prey upon naturally for nourishment.
People – We Can Be the Heroes!
Society is growing more aware of the vulnerability of the wildlife of our world. Conservation-minded people of all walks of life, scientists, zoos, concerned groups, and governments of the world are working ‘separately together’ to save our endangered animals.
Ten Extinct Animals – Gone But Not Forgotten!
1. The Dodo Bird – A flightless seabird native to the island republic of Mauritius, on the Indian Ocean off the coast of SE Africa. From 1598 to 1692, almost 100 years, sailors ate these helpless birds into extinction.
2. Tasmanian Tiger – A carnivorous marsupial of Australia, not related to tigers. It had stripes, and looked like a cat, but was more like a dog. In 1920, extinct (EW) in the wild due to the habitat loss and hunting (2 H’s). But, Benjamin, the last captive Tasmanian tiger died in 1936.
3. Saber-Toothed Tiger – Huge fanged, giant, fierce predator. Found in North and South America. Extinct 11,700 years ago due to climate changes and hunting.
4. Mexican Grizzly Bear – Native to the region of Mexico. Competed with ranchers for livestock. The ranchers won. Extinct in 1964.
5. Caribbean Monk Seal – Christopher Columbus records that he and his crew killed plenty. Last seen in 1954. These playful creatures had personality! Went extinct in 2008, due to hunting for their blubber/fat for burning for fuel.
6. Quagga – Subspecies of the plains Zebra. Had stripes only on the front of the body. Lived in what is now South Africa. Extinct in the wild in 1878 due to the habitat loss and hunting (2 H’s). Last Quagga died in captivity in 1888.
7. Stellar Sea Cow – Huge marine animal, like a Manatee. Europeans ate meat, used hides and fat. Last seen in 1768. Thirty years later, it was extinct. Today, a cousin, the Dugong, survives, but just barely, being critically endangered (CR).
8. West African Black Rhino – This mighty, two-horned mammal was extinct in 2011. Hunted to death by poachers for supposedly medicinal horns. Today, other species of rhino are critically endangered (CR).
9. Wooly Mammoth – Must have been a sight to behold! Six furry tons, long, awesome curved tusks. Went extinct about 10,000 years ago, due to the habitat loss and hunting.
10. Passenger Pigeon of North America – Last one died in 1914, due to the “2-H’s.”
Status of Extinction Code of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).
Did you know we use codes to label the status of a species?
EX/extinct EW/extinct in the wild CR/critically endangered EN/endangered
VU/vulnerable NT/near threatened LC/least concern
That’s your Smarty Pants Conservation Report for July, 2019. Stay tuned in for future updates.
In the meantime, keep learning and telling others about the awesome, amazing animals of our world.
You are the next generation that can save them!