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Endangered Species And Envirmental Problems

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Endangered Species and Environmental problems

I believe that the most serious environmental problem is the fact that there are too many endangered and threaten species in the world. Not only am I talking about animals but I am also talking about plants. With out any of these species the circle of life would become out of balance. Without insects there would be nothing to help with the decay of dead mater and without plants we would not have any oxygen.

The question that a lot of people ask is why do species become endangered and then become extinct. There are many reasons why plants and animals are becoming endangered; as the World Wildlife Fund stated most of there time is spent fighting global threats. They talk about how Climate change; deteriorating ocean health; Agriculture and Aquaculture; toxic chemicals; an unchecked wildlife trade and deforestation effect the world and how, if ignored, could have dire consequences for life on Earth. Other organizations like the department of Agriculture explain how declines in populations of plants and animals are caused by more than one event. Habitat degradation and destruction by humans are the most serious threats to wildlife and plants worldwide (Threaten and Endangered Species and Private Landowner. 1995). They go on to talk about how destruction occurs through development activities; environmental pollution; introduction of invasive, nonnative species; over harvesting of wild species; and conversion of habitat to other uses.

Climate change is said to be the biggest threat to the web of life because of how many plants and animals it effects. The United States emits more greenhouse gasses per a person then any other country. (World Wildlife Fund. 2005) Also not to mention that a quarter of all mammal species will be threatened with extinction over the next century. Climate change will cause the extinction of countless species and destroy some of the world's most valuable ecosystems. For example corals are being threatened because it is being bleached. This is due to the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae other wise known as microscopic yellow-green alga from the tissues of coral polyps (World Wildlife Fund. 2005). Another example is over fishing, more often than not too many fish are taken from a reef and the population can not be sustained. This then in turn affects the ecological balance of life among coral reef communities, warping the food chain with ripple effects far beyond the directly over-fished population.

The next reason why there are so many endangered plants and animals is due to Agriculture and Aquaculture. Food and water are a basic necessity for everything to live but when improper methods are used their effects can threaten wildlife and environments around the world. Pasture and cropland take up fifty percent of the earth's habitable land the threats that go along with this toxins, water consumption and also leaving no room for the wildlife (Threaten and Endangered Species and Private Landowner. 1995.). Toxic chemicals, development activities; environmental pollution and deforestation all fall into this one category because of the fact that this is where most of the wildlife is affected.

Toxic chemicals that we put in the water as well as on our plants to help them grow really don't help at all. Animals as diverse as polar bears, whales, frogs, eagles, and fish are contaminated with pesticides and industrial chemicals. Many scientists have concluded that synthetic chemicals have damaged wildlife populations by causing decreased fertility, thyroid dysfunction, behavioral abnormalities, decreased hatching success, and feminization and demasculinization in males (National Wildlife Federation. 2005). One such example of this is the Hormone disrupting chemicals, these chemicals block, mimic and otherwise meddle with naturally produced hormones, that control how an organism develops and functions. The effects of these hormone chemicals on animals varied ranging from alligators born with abnormally small penises and birds with crossed beaks, to the sudden disappearance of entire populations. Wildlife researchers over the last few years have unearthed a variety of hormone disruptor-related effects: interrupted sexual development; thyroid system disorders; inability to breed; reduced immune response; and abnormal mating and parenting behavior. Species such as terns, gulls, harbor seals, bald eagles, beluga whales, lake trout, panthers, alligators, turtles, and others, have suffered more than one of these effects (National Wildlife Federation. 2005).

Pollution from towns and cities, industry and agriculture directly affect water supplies for freshwater ecosystems. The crumple of a tailing lagoon at a gold mine near Baia Mare in Romania washed more than 26 million gallons of wastewater containing cyanides and heavy metals into the Danube River basin, killing fish life and disrupting public water supplies (The Species Survival Commission. 2004). With fifty percent of wetland habitats destroyed or altered, scientists recognize that species dependent on freshwater ecosystems are the world's most endangered group of plants and animals (Center of Applied Biodiversity Science. 2005). Animals like the mountain salamander, bog turtle and short nose sturgeon are almost completely extinct, just because of the pollution in the water.

In the Little Earth book it talks about how each species needs a balanced habitat to provide it with food and how each species is subject to a balance of predators and microbes. When a plant or animal is introduced from one part of the world to another problem start to happen (Burges 2004). For example the gray squirrel has replaced the red squirrel in many countries. A single Japanese knotweed that escaped has spread through out the UK and it is unaffected by pesticides. The introduction of invasive species such as the Cane toad was introduced in to Australia and now has wiped out at lest thirteen different species of fish, frog, and snake (The Unwanted Amphibian 2005). All of this is due to wildlife trading, most often then not people think it would be nice to have a wild animal or plant not knowing what the outcome could be. In turn the species gets out into the wild eliminating the competition, therefore allowing other species to become endangered and extinct.

Another way that wildlife trading is endangering species is the illegal hunting of them for their skin, horns and shells. Illegal wildlife trade has been one of the most primary threats to a large number of species. Since 1970, for instance, more than ninety percent of the world's wild rhinos have disappeared, slaughtered by the thousands for the primary reason of their horns (World Wildlife Fund. 2005).

Urbanization really effects which species becomes endangered faster



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