Saturday, July 30, 2011

Endangered animals

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Endangered Animals


Endangered animals refers to wild animals which are under threat of


extinction or which have become extinct. Sixty-five million years ago the dinosaurs


became extinct, sixty-five million years later, the lives of many animals are still under


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threat. Endangered species are victims of human activities, these activities includes


destruction of natural habitats, pollution produced by factories and over exploitation


as well as overpopulation.


The American Indians, who settled north America 0,000 years before the


Europeans were responsible for the extinction of many species through hunting,


species such as the giant sloths and Mastodons. Since the Europens settlers arrived in


the New World, the rate of extinction has accelerated. The passenager pigeons is


believed to have been the most numerous type bird in the world. They were hunted


endlessly and in 114, the last one died in an American zoo. Bison became nearly


extinct during the 1800s due to the expansion of the railroads which caused


destruction of habitats and the need of food for the builders. Other animals in North


America that are considered to be endangered; The California Condor is North


Americas rarest bird. The last remaining birds are being kept in zoos and are bred in a


special recovery program. The Whopping Crane is another one of North Americas


endangered species. By the 10s there were close to 150 in the wild, its numbers are


slowly building up. On july 1, 15 Bald Eagle aws reclassified as endangered


animals. The majestic bird is refered to bald, because of the white feathers on top of


its head, its yellow eyes and sharp beaks in contrast with its drak brown body. This


predatory bird can grow up to 40 inches long with wings span of 6-8 feet, who can


reach flight speed between 5 and 44 miles per hour. Unfortunatly, there are only


4,500 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states. The Bald eagles diet consist of fish,


waterfowl(small birds), small reptiles and small to medium size mammals. In 147,


Bald Eagles begin to decline severely, and DDT was found in the carcasses. DDT was


a common pesticide used in water to control mosquitoes. During the stages of the


food chains, fish consumed mosquitoes, and Bald Eagle prey on the fish, therefore


DDT was transfered from the mosquitoes to the Bald Eagle. DDT that are found in


the tissue of the Bald Eagles, the chemmical weakened the shells of the eagles egg


until they simply collapsed from the weight of the mother bird. DDT was banned on


1, december 17, and since than the number of eagles which are protected by the


Endangered Species Act as well as other federal and state laws, have begun to


increase.


Nearly half of the worlds rain forests lie in Brazil, the Amazon Forests


contain over three million square miles of tropical forest, with large quantity as well


as quality timber which is worth over one trillion US dollars, it also contains over


50.000 species of plants and 0 percent of all known birds. The Amazon Forests were


remote and inaccessible, leaving the wildlife undisturbed, however, roads begun to


build over this wilderness which made it accessible to humans and machines. The


greatest damage to wildlife comes from lumber companies, ranch farmers and fur


hunters. Jaguars became fashionable for fur coats and other items during the 160s,


as the jaguars became rare, the fur hunters used other alternatives, such as the


Ocelots, the Ocelot is much smaller than the Jaguar but they have a similar fur


pattern. The Ocelots became more difficult to hunt, the hunters began hunting other


mammals such as the Margay and Geoffroys Cats, these felines once roamed over


Central and South America, but are now extinct or endangered. The Giant Anteater is


found in the forest and swampy areas from Mexico down through Central and South


America. It dwels in places that are not inhabited by people. The Anteater is covered


by bushy, dark grey and black fur with a white stripe on each shoulder, with a 40 cm


long puffy tail. The Anteater has a cylinder shaped head with a long, tubular mouth, it


has no teeth but a tougue which can extend as long as 5cm, the long tongue is


flicked in and out rapidly to scoop up ants, termites and other insects. The main threat


to the Giant Anteater are humans, human population invasion, habitat destruction are


some of the major threats. Forest fire is a major factor which threatens these animals,


since their fur is very long and flammable, they are commonly found burned to death


after severe forest fires.


The wilderness in Europe has already been conquered by humans 5,000 years


ago, many species have been exterminated or only survive in remote areas. Victims


such as the Europen Otters and the Grey Wolves, Europen Bisons were also close to


extinction but they were saved by collactors such as the Duke Of BedFord who kept


herds of captive Bisons. Captive animals were gathered together and reintroduced


into its enviroments. Wolves rarely attack human, but they pose serious threats to


livestock,sheeps inparticular, and because of this, wolves were hunted and


eliminated over nearly all of their range in Europe. Of all the felines in the world, the


Iberian Lynxes are the closest to extinction, there are less than 800 left in


restricted areas of Spain and Portugal. The Iberian Lynxes are dark yellow or brown


in colour, heavily spotted, with long legs, short tail and distinctive black ear tuft.


These predators lack in speed but they are highly efficient hunters, equiped with keen


eyesight combined with powerful sense of smell, which allow these hunters to detect


prey at distances of up to 00 m away. The Iberian Lynxes favourite habitat includes


scrubland with scattered open areas. The biggest threat to the Iberian Lynxes are


humans. This animal is considered to be hunting as trophy as well as vermin. The


hunters value its fur and meat, the poachers are mainly interested in the fur as well as


making profit, while some farmers appreciate the Lynxes for hunting foxes and


rabbits but most of them still perceive the Lynxes as a serious threat to their livestock.


Many species of animals that we now associate with East Africa were once


widespread in North Africa. Due to overgrazing of grass, the herds expanded their


territory from North to East about 000 years ago. Many of Africas animals are


continuing to decline in number, some animals die from diseases, but most animals


die by the hands of the poachers. Cheetahs are being hunted for their fur, African


Elephants are being slaughtered for their Ivory Tusks and the Black Rhinoceros are


declining rapidly for their horn. The Rhino horn is believed to be a very powerful


medicine for the Chinese culture. It is very effective in reducing high fevers, aiding in


blood clotting, strokes and it is also used as a tranquilizer. The Black Rhino is the


second largest land mammal, growing up to a height of 1.5 to m, a length of .5 to


4.m and weight up to 5000 kg. It is most recorgnized by its twin horns. The Black


Rhinoceros can only be found in North Africa. During the 170s Rhinos begin to


decline dramatically, due the result of overpricing of oil. Crafts men in the Arab


country of Yemen coverts rhino horns into dagger handles, the handles are symbol of


wealth and status. Few people can afford these craft items. However Yemen and other


middle eastern countries are rich in oil, and since there was a worldwide oil shortage,


these craft men were able to live from selling oil, therefore the price of the daggers


became affordable and highly demanded by everyone . From the 65.000 Black Rhinos


found in 170, are now left with less than ,500. The trading of Rhino horns or their


by-products are now banned under the Convention on International Trade in


Endangered Species, which was an agreement signed by over 10 countries, but


poaching and illegal trading continues.


Asia has the largest population in the world, therefore, due to agricultural


purposes, many habitats of animals were invaded.These animals include the Asian


elephant, three species of Rhinos and the Giant Pandas. The Giant Panda is one of


the rarest animals in the world, its habitat are the bamboo forests in China, this large


bear can weight up to 10 kg. The Giant Panda has very distinctive black and white


fur pattern, black markings on the ears, limbs, shoulders and around the eyes.


Although the Giant Panda is a carnivore, its main diet consists of only bamboo


sticks. Since the bamboo sticks have little nutritional value, this large animal


has to continusly eat for up to 14 hours a day. With this massive appetite, the bamboo


forests are declining in numbers, in return the Panda bears are declining in numbers


as well . The Giant Panda shares its habitat with a variety of animals which holds


great hunting values to the hunters, these include as Deers and their antlers and bears


skin and paws. The traps that are set to capture these animals often trap the Pandas


and the skin of the Pandas can be priced highly in the black market. The Giant


Pandas main meal; the bamboo, was shrinked in number by half between 174 and


188, due to agriculture, logging and Chinas population increase. The penalty for


poaching or trading Pandas fur in China is death.


Australia is the largest island in the world, it contains some of the rarest


animals. The only animals that ever reached Australia were Marsupials(pouched


mammals) and Monotremes(egg layers), these animals were ranged in size from as


small as moles to as large as Kangaroos. When the Europeans colonized Australia,


they introduced domestic and wild animals which competed with the native species.


Many species of animals are now endangered because of the loss of habitat for human


refuge, but there are other animals such as the Mallee fowl, FlashJack and the


Greater Bilby that are threatened by the introduction of foxes and feral cats. The


Greater Bilby belongs to the Marsupials, it is only 0-45cm in length including its tail


and weight 1-kg. The Greater Bilby is covered with grey coloured fur with white


coloured tail, its ears are much like the rabbits. Its diet mainly consists of termites,


insects, small animals and roots of plants. The Greater Bilby was found in over 70%


of the mainlands in Austalia, but theres only around 600 left which only dwel in the


deserts. Agricultural, road construction and residents the major effect on the declining


numbers of the Greater Bilby, but more importantly, these native Australian animals


are threatened by cats and Foxes which were introduced by the European settlers.


Marine animals have been hunted by human since prehistoric times, animals


such as the Elephant Seals and Walruses are hunted for food, their blubber and tusks.


Whales, Sharks and Dolphins have also been a popular target for the last 00 years,


although these sea animals are being protected by humans but a large number of these


animals are still dying from the spilling of oil or left over fish nets which prevent


these animals from feeding. Humpback Whales can be found in all oceans, they are


the largest mammals on earth, measuring 5 m in length and weight in at around 150


tons. The colour of the Humpback Whale is are black, grey and white, its meal


consists of small fish and krills. After the invention of explosive harpoons, the


poaching for whales became a very popular industry. The Whales are mainly hunted


for its oil and bones, but accidental oil spill into the ocean can also cause death to


these and many other creatures in the ocean. In 100 an estimate of 115,000


Humpback Whales roamed the ocean; today there are approximately 0,000 left.


Clearly, the vanishing of many species of animals has a direct connection with


human activities and the development of the economy. Each year, millions of acres of


tropical rain forests are being cut down to create more farmland inorder to the high


demand of crops. But the soil that supports the rain forest cannot support the field of


crops or the cattles, within a few years, the land will lose its fertility, the farmers will


abandon the land, moving deeper into the forest and rebuild his business. Coporations


and Industries are raising in number, they are needed to provide jobs and income for


the people, at the same time, industries are invading the property of many wildlife.


Pollutions are produced by factories which are harmful to wildlife. Chemicals used to


kill unwanted weeds, insects and other pests often harm beneficial organisms. Sewage


dumped into rivers and oceans and fertilizers washed off farmlands change the


ecology of aquatic habitats. A 18 study of fish caught in the Great Lakes found that


0% contained levels of toxic chemicals that were dangerous to wildlife; 5%


contained levels dangerous to humans.


The deminishing of many species of animals is undeniable, ofen times, people


choose to ignor the possibility of certain animal becoming extinct. However, there are


many organizations around the world that are protecting the endangered animals.


WWF stands for World Wildlife Fund it was established by Sir Peter Scott and Sir


Julian Huxley in 161. The WWF is the worlds largest and most exprienced


independent conservative organization, with 5 offices working in more than 0


countries. The purpose of World Wildlife Fund is to address and promote the issues


from the survival of species and habitats to climate change, sustainable businiess and


enviromental education. The WWF is well-known for their work to conserve wildlife.


However the WWF is constantly challenging and influence governments, industries as


well as local people to reduce pollution and deforestation and to ensure new


legislation are to protect species and habitat in a long term effect. There are many


methods developed by scientists and enviromentalists to recover and maintain the


growth of species of animals. Critical Habitats are designating areas, which are


restricted to any human activities, these areas are used to protect certain species of


animals. Critical Habitats includdes food, water, shelter and fair number of


indivisuals to make a viable breeding population. The most effective way of dealing


with species crises is the Captive Breeding. Indivisuals are captured from the wild and


brought to a zoo, university or other facility, there they are housed under conditions


belived to be right for breeding and they are protected from disease, predators and


human contact.


It is important to protect endangered animals, because as natural habitats are


destroyed and populations of a species decline, genetic diversity is diminished,


genetic diversity is the variations within the genetic material of a species. When


species become extinct, the information carried in their genes is lost forever, which


means that those animals will never be seen again, the dinosaurs is a perfect example.


It is not too late to save the animals and its enviroments, there are ways for every


indivisual to help, reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous pesticides and household


chemicals, join and support organizations that work on enviromental issues (such as


the wwf), limit the use of natural resources by recycling and by purchasing items


made from recycled materials. By taking one step at a time, there will be hope for the


animals that currently listed as endangered.


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