How to Save Endangered Animals by Helping Restore Earth's Ecosystems
A while back, I was watching an animal rescue program that really disturbed me. This program prompted me to think about just what we are doing to our animals in the world today This program talked about the possibility of the extinction of animals in the wild. My personal conclusion is that no matter what the reason, humans seemed to be at the bottom of it. The program forced me to revisit what I already knew about human involvement in the animal kingdom and take a hard look at the reality it presents.
One of the most common forms of humans furthering animal extinction, as we know it, is reducing their numbers through trapping and killing. While trapping one species, other animals have been caught in traps and then discarded to die in agony. In turn, poaching has threatened many species. For example, 95% of the world's tiger population has been depleted due to either starvation (as other animals such as the elk that they feed on become scarce) or direct poaching. Directly or indirectly, poaching is responsible for the depletion of much of the animal population. Going back to the example of the tigers, as we hunt one species and threaten its existence, we are in turn depleting the food supply of another. Thus the latter species is also destined to die--of starvation.
The animals of the world, as well as humans, are part of an ecosystem, providing a natural system check and balances. Hunting and killing off one population that may pose a threat to our human existence or are simply used for our own vanity (killed to make fur coats) can come to threaten our own very existence.
We, in our short-sightedness, have failed to realize the effects that this human intervention will bring upon other species, that in turn may also become a nuisance or a threat to our existence. For example, we have learned that killing spiders has produced epidemics of flies. Now flies in some parts of the world are no longer kept in check by this natural predator.
Blind human intervention has wreaked havoc on the ecosystem. But since the ecosystem is a reciprocal system, human intervention within this system threatens our human existence as well. Depleting animal populations interacts with our food supply, whether directly or indirectly induced.
Touching again on the subject of poaching, it represents a serious human intervention that breaks the natural balance of many animal populations. Furthermore, in many instances this intervention not only threatens the species, it tampers with the world's food supply. Salmon poaching in Canadian waters is but one of the many examples that can be given to back up this claim.
In turn, polluting our rivers with chemical waste and debris not only leads to the extinction of aquatic life but has produced carcinogenic fish that pose a health concern to the world's populace as well.
The depletion of Brazil's tropical rainforests has caused the extinction of various animal populations and risked the health of humans. New diseases are introduced into our species with increasing frequency, as humans expand their territory into the wild. The dreaded Ebola virus is one example of this. The Gaia theory postulates that the release of these new deadly viruses is in fact mother earth's "revenge"--controlling the "virus" that afflicts the earth--the human race.
Genetic engineering has wreaked much havoc as well. We all are aware of how the "killer bees" are posing a threat to humans, as well as other insects and animal species. It is much too early to note the effects of cloning/genetic modification upon our food supply. But rest assured there are arguments for and against cloning both animals as well as vegetation that are coming to the forefront of science.
In line with humans being directly or indirectly involved with animal extinction is the greenhouse effect of global warming. By destroying our climate with greenhouse gas emissions, we have again put many animals in jeopardy. The depletion of the ozone layer is a major offence upon the planet that we have no choice but to take seriously. The effect of global warming is wrecking havoc in our lives as we speak. It is predicted that within eight years many humans most notably the sick and elderly will die due to the elevation in world temperatures. Today, we see the effects of global warmingupon our harvests and in our animals.
Scientists long ago discovered the hole in the ozone layer above Greenland. This rescue program that I watched today pointed out how the warming effect has seriously threatened the North American polar bear, which lives in the artic and in Canada's Hudson Bay area. These animals need the Arctic temperatures to survive. The disappearing ice in this area is important to their survival. According to the program, these polar bears live on the ice. Baby seals are their food supply. Each year the warming effect is depleting the ice supply. The warmer temperatures are producing more water in this region and less ice. As a result, the seal supply is diminishing, and the polar bears are on the brink of starvation. The body weight of the polar bears continues to decrease every decade. Nursing mothers are so malnourished that their cubs are dying. Global warming, lack of food, and smaller surviving litters are all evidence of a species on the verge of extinction. Actually, polar bears have now been listed as species threatened with extinction on the endangered species list. Our polar bears need our help, as well as our tigers; and other endangered speciesneed our help, too. Animals have done so much to improve the quality of our lives. Yet, we continue to disrupt the ecosystem whether by hunting and trapping/poaching, global warming, or other types of human intervention such as encroaching on and/or destroying their habitats. The program that I watched today brought me closer to home. Global warming is a serious concern, and our animals, whether domesticated or wild, need our help.
We fail to realize--or refuse to understand--that nature is reciprocal, and the consequences of what we do now will fall back upon us in the future.
When you look at your pet cat, your farm animals that provide sustenance for your family, the neighbour's seeing-eye dog; when you read a story about a new scientific breakthrough found with the aid of laboratory animals; when you buy a new pair of leather shoes, watch a program about an exotic animal, or an endangered species, remember the part humans have played in each of these animals' lives and visa versa. Remember the good that these animals have done for humankind.
You can make a difference! You can help!
Joining an animal rescue group is but one form of help. You can: boycott leather shoes, eat vegetarian food, or donate to a favourite rescue group or animal shelter. Or you can save an animal from a shelter, love your own animals dearly, feed a stray, or become more informed about how you can do your part to offset the consequences of global warming. The possibilities are only limited by our own imagination. Whatever you choose to do or not do, does affect the ecosystem. Our animals need us as much as we need them. The choice to help or not is yours!