The rhinoceros, tiger, and elephant are animals that you’ll see at zoos. Though they are familiar, these endangered species will disappear if we don’t make an effort to protect them.
There are more reasons to protect endangered species than you may realize. We introduce you to a few of them and suggest how you can do your part to help.
Why We Should Save Endangered Species
Unfortunately, some people don’t understand why maintaining a healthy population of plants and animals is essential. Here are a few reasons people should do their part to conserve them.
1. Medicinal Value
First of all, digitalis is a drug derived from the purple foxglove. It treats heart ailments, prevents fluid retention, constipation, headaches, and spasms. If plants like this become extinct, we lose a potential source of medicine. Many of these plants may be disappearing without our knowledge.
Plants aren’t our only source of medicine. People have been relying on animals as a medicinal source as well. Secretions from lizards prevent coagulation, while the honey that bees produce prevent microbes from thy surviving.
2. Agricultural Value
Wild plants may have genes that can improve the crops that farmers grow today. They are a source of DNA which can tell researchers a lot about a plant’s resistance to disease, and it’s salt tolerance. These properties and help us to counter the effects of climate change.
3. Ecological value
Just as people have to interact with others to survive, so do animals. Removing one animal or plant from the ecosystem will compromise others. The US Fish and Wildlife Service states that one lost animal or plant can you lead to the loss of 30 other insects, animal, or plant species.
For example, the killer whale affects the diet of bald eagles. The gray wolf controls the elk population.
4. Bequest Value
We want our children to reap the benefits of plants and animals. Bequeathing a legacy of protecting wild species enables them to do so.
20 Endangered Species All Over the World That May Become Extinct
a. Amur Leopard
This native of the Far East lives in the region of the Amur River, a natural boundary between China and Russia. The resilient Amur Leopard can survive both snowy weather and hot climates.
Less than 70 of them live in the wild now. The biggest threat to these animals is poaching. Inbreeding is also a problem because genetic abnormalities impact reproduction and health.
Gorillas are our closest living relatives. They display individual personalities and express emotions such as grief and compassion. They also live in diverse social groups. Some of them are capable of using sign language.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified them as critically endangered. That are only about 200 Frost River Gorillas living in the wild today, and just about 900 mountain gorillas left.
c. Hawksbill Sea turtles
These beautiful turtles live in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. It’s difficult to say how many of them exist in the wild because there are five populations worldwide, each with 8000 turtles. Only 1,000 females nest annually.
Sadly, they are among the most endangered animals on the planet. The biggest threat to them is poaching- hunters value them for their brown patterned shells.
d. Sumatran Orangutan
These astounding creatures are among our closest living animal relatives. They are 96.4% genetically similar and share 28 of our physical characteristics. As their name implies, they live on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.
The surviving ones are losing their ground because of Deforestation. We have lost about 80% of the Orangutan population because of habitat destruction. The IUCN classified them as a critically endangered species.
e. Sumatran Elephant
The Sumatran elephant is the smallest elephant species the largest animal on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. It can weigh up to five tons. Unlike its African cousins, it is completely bald with round ears.
These extraordinary creatures love to roam Sumatra’s rainforests but have few opportunities to do so because their habitats are decreasing. There are currently only between 2400 and 2800 Sumatran elephants left.
We sometimes refer to this mystical creature as the Asian unicorn. Male and female Saola have parallel, pointed horns. These creatures are chestnut brown and have short, striped tails.
Wildlife experts discovered it recently in 1992. Cattle are its closest genetic cousins. The reason for its recent discovery is its elusiveness. Deforestation explains its near extinction.
g. Vaquita (soon to be extinct)
The Vaquita has the dubious honor of being the rarest mammal in the world. As of March 2018, only about 12 to 15 individuals remain in the wild. This small number has led to the conclusion that it will soon become extinct.
This porpoise, a close relative of the dolphin, only exists in the Gulf of California. The name vaquita in Spanish translates to ‘little cow.’ They have a dark great upper body that fades into a pale grey belly. It is also the smallest cetacean on Earth. Illegal fishing explains its critically low numbers.
The Tiger is a poacher’s favorite because of its distinctive, marked fur. The South China Tiger and the Sumatran Tiger are the most likely to become extinct. The South China Tiger is already thought to be extinct in the wild, as no one has spotted it since the 1970s.
The IUCN has classified the Sumatran tiger as critically endangered since 2008, with less than 500 of them existing today.
i. The Black Rhino
Of the five species of Rhinocerotidae, the white rhino has received the ‘Near Threatened’ status from the IUCN. The last known male Northern White Rhino died in Kenya on 19 March 2019.
The Javan Rhino is critically endangered, with only 60 living in the forests of Java. The Sumatran Rhino is also facing extinction, with less than a 100 of them existing in the wild. The IUCN declared the Black Rhino critically endangered, with three subspecies extinct since 2011.
Otherwise known as the scaly anteater, the Pangolin is the only mammal in the world to have keratin scales from head to toe. Pangolins inhabit rainforests, woodlands, and the Savannah. It gets its name from the Malay word pengguling, which means to roll up.
This animal curls up to defend itself from predators. Pangolin is the most trafficked animal in the world. Poachers value them for their scales, which they can sell for $3,000 a kilogram on the black market.
a. Western Prairie Fringed Orchid
This flower exists only in five U.S. states in the Midwest. The Endangered Species Coalition estimates that there are only 172 populations of Western Prairie Orchids, with only four that have over a thousand plants. Prairie potholes, overgrazing, and urban development explain the low numbers.
b. Rafflesia flower
This flower is the largest, and smelliest on the planet. It, therefore, has the nickname, ‘Corpse Flower.’ One identifies it by its size and pungent odor. This parasitic flower grows on the trunks of trees in Sumatra.
c. Georgia Aster
This plant is native to the southeastern United States. It has distinctive purple flowers and woody stems up to a hundred centimeters long. There are only about sixty populations of it left, owing to deforestation and habitat loss.
d. Wiggins Acalypha
This rare plant, which has red flowers, exists on a small part of the Galapagos Islands. Construction work and habitat loss explain its decline. The Galapagos Conservation Trust considers it critically endangered.
e. Texas Wild Rice
This rare species of grass grows only in Texas, along the San Marcos River in Hays County. Habitat loss is the primary reason for its decline. It is one among wild rice species and is an aquatic plant. There are only about 140 clumps of it left. The Spring Lake Dam has lowered water levels, causing its decline.
f. Howell Spectacular Thelypody
This hairy plant is biennial and has a smooth structure. Its stem is erect and about 70 cm tall. The leaves collect in a rosette at its base. It is greenish white with purple sepals and spoon-shaped petals.
g. Stenogyne Kanehoana
Conservationists believed this member of the mint family to be extinct until they spotted a plant and confirmed that it was alive. Like other mint plants, it has furry leaves. Scientists have discovered that they can grow it in captivity.
h. Ouachita Mountain Goldenrod
This yellow plant is one of the remnants of the Ice Age. You will find it along the state border between Arkansas and Oklahoma. It prefers to live where it is cold and moist. Its actual population is unknown, although conservationists are aware that it is low.
There were roughly 150 Enrubio plants left in 1992. It is native to Puerto Rico and has sharp thorns. This plant is near extinction due to overgrazing.
j. Arizona Agave
There were only 100 Arizona Agave plants alive in 1984. Only two populations of it survive today, and you will find both of them in the Tonto National Forest of Arizona, in the Sierra Anchas and New River mountains.
How We Can Help Endangered Species
We may not all be conservationists, but we can do our part to save endangered species of plants and animals.
First of all, educate everybody about the flora, fauna, and animals in your area. Realize how essential they are to our ecosystems. They provide food, water, and mineral resources. Some animals are therapeutic and have recreational benefits.
2. Visit Nature Reserves
These protected lands are home to wildlife, fish, and birds. Make an effort to conserve places where rare plants and animals live. Wildlife conservation provides hundreds of jobs and supports businesses.
3. Make your home Wildlife friendly
Also, lock all garbage cans and feed your pets indoors to avoid attracting wild animals into your home. Doing this gives them a better chance of survival. Putting decals on windows stops birds from colliding into them.
4. Breed native plants
Native plants provide shelter to local wildlife. Bees and butterflies help to disperse them. Non-native species of wild plants and animals compete with native ones for resources.
5. Don’t use insecticides and herbicides
Pesticides take a long time to degrade, so they build up in soils in our ecosystems. Animals can become vulnerable to these pollutants. Amphibians are particularly sensitive to them.
6. Drive slowly
Animals live in urban areas, so they have to navigate hazards like roads and fences. Watch out for crossing animals when you are cruising along highways.
Reuse lasting products like bamboo and wood. Protect gorilla populations by upcycling mobile phones as miners get materials for them from gorilla habitats. Don’t use palm oil because people cut tiger habitat down to make way for plantations.
8. Don’t buy products made from endangered animals
Avoid buying anything made from endangered species, although they make excellent souvenirs. Manufacturers sometimes make products from polar bears, tigers, or sea otters. Tigers are a source for manufacturing medicinal products.
9. Don’t harass wildlife
Do not shoot, trap, or force a threatened animal into captivity. Doing so leads to its extinction, and is illegal. If you spot anyone endangering plants or animals, report the person to local law enforcement officials.
10. Prevent habitat destruction
Scientists suggest that the best way to protect animals is to prevent damage places where they live. Deforestation, oil and gas drilling, and overgrazing all contribute to habitat loss.
Conserving forests and waterways can mean protecting entire species both plants and animals. Doing so will also provide places for recreation.
In all, understand that each plant and animal has extrinsic value. We can do our part to save endangered species by being environmentally conscious.
By Michelle L.