Wildlife conservation

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2. WILDLIFE CONSERVATION Causes of Endangerment Efforts and Governmental Acts to Protect Species Wildlife Refuges American Bald Eagle Conservation Whaling 3. HABITAT DESTRUCTION Our planet is continually changing, causing habitats to be altered and modified. Natural changes tend to occur at a gradual pace, usually causing only a slight impact on individual species. However, when changes occur at a fast pace, there is little or no time for individual species to react and adjust to new circumstances. This can create disastrous results, and for this reason, rapid habitat loss is the primary cause of species endangerment. The strongest forces in rapid habitat loss are human beings. 4. HABITAT DESTRUCTION (CONTD.) For example, although tropical forests may look as though they are lush, they are actually highly susceptible to destruction. This is because the soils in which they grow are lacking in nutrients. It may take Centuries to re-grow a forest that was cut down by humans or destroyed by fire, and many of the world's severely threatened animals and plants live in these forests. If the current rate of forest loss continues, huge quantities of plant and animal species will disappear. 5. INTRODUCTION OF EXOTIC SPECIES Native species are those plants and animals that are part of a specific geographic area, and have ordinarily been a part of that particular biological landscape for a lengthy period of time. These species are introduced into new environments by way of human activities, either intentionally or accidentally. These interlopers are viewed by the native species as foreign elements. They may cause no obvious problems and may eventual be considered as natural as any native species in the habitat. However, exotic species may also seriously disrupt delicate ecological balances and may produce a plethora of unintended yet harmful consequences. Introduced insects, rats, pigs, cats, and other foreign species have actually caused the endangerment and extinction of hundreds of species during the past five centuries. Exotic species are certainly a factor leading to endangerment. 6. OVEREXPLOITATION Unrestricted whaling during the 20th century is an example of overexploitation, and the whaling industry brought many species of whales to extremely low population sizes. When several whale species were nearly extinct, a number of nations (including the United States) agreed to abide by an international moratorium on whaling. Due to this moratorium, some whale species, such as the grey whale, have made remarkable comebacks, while others remain threatened or endangered. Animals are also deliberately hunted for their furs and the special properties some of their body parts have in the making of medicines. While hunting endangered species is illegal, it continues in many parts of the world because of the large sums of money these animals can bring. There are demands for items such as rhino horns and tiger bones in several areas of Asia. It is here that there exists a strong market for traditional medicines made from these animal parts. 7. MORE FACTORS Disease, pollution, and limited distribution are more factors that threaten various plant and animal species. If a species does not have the natural genetic protection against particular pathogens, an introduced disease can have severe effects on that specie. For example, rabies and canine distemper viruses are presently destroying carnivore populations in East Africa. Domestic animals often transmit the diseases that affect wild populations, demonstrating again how human activities lie at the root of most causes of endangerment. Pollution has seriously affected multiple terrestrial and aquatic species, and limited distributions are frequently a consequence of other threats; populations confined to few small areas due to of habitat loss, for example, may be disastrously affected by random factors. 8. WILDLIFE REFUGES A haven or sanctuary for animals; a wildlife refuge is an area of land or of land and water set aside and maintained, usually by government or private organization, for the preservation and protection of one or more species of wildlife. 9. WILDERNESS AREAS A wilderness area is land retaining its primeval character with the imprint of humans minimal or unnoticeable. In the United States, the Wilderness Act of 1964 established the National Wilderness Preservation System - 9 million acres of land in 54 different areas that provided for the designation of new wilderness areas. By 1992, the total had risen to 95 million acres in 708 areas of land. Alaska, with 57.6 million acres, is by far the leading repository of wilderness in the United States. 10. WILDERNESS AREAS (CONTD.) According to environmentalists, Wilderness lands are to be preserved in their natural condition, wild and undeveloped. The idea of wilderness has deep roots in American thought and writings: William Penn Henry David Thoreau 11. HOW CAN I HELP? The easiest and most efficient way to help is to donate to the various organizations that are trustworthy and have a well established reputation. Wildlife Conservation Network National Wildlife Federation 12. CONCLUSION Increased understanding about the worlds current wildlife situation and an increased emphasis on education will give future generations an opportunity to experience nature to its fullest extent.