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


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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