People argued that extinction comes naturally. It is part of a natural selection that if species no longer have the capability to adapt to the changes of its environment, the species will be extinct. People argued that relating to the theory of evolution, it is the way of the world where the fittest grows and the weak “replaced”. It is Mother Nature and not the human species who decides what species must face it end and what species should survive. If plants and animals extinction are considered a natural phenomena, then why must we spend billions of dollars and cents on helping endangered species? Would not that dollars and cents be better spent on more important issues like global poverty or national security?The question “Why”, is the basic argument of human activities in preventing extinction.
Despite many conclusions has been made in favor of extinction prevention concepts, practices still displayed that environmental consideration is a little “unpopular” if not highly discriminated by other ideas.
Concerning the issues, this paper will contribute several ideas to the argument in effort of providing basis for a stronger conclusion toward the argument. For a logical understanding toward the proposed ideas, this paper will first elaborate the current condition of endangered species, the causes and effect of extinction, and the benefits of having a natural diversity. The ideas will then based on the elaboration and concluded in the final chapter of the paper.II. Endangered Animals and PlantsOne of the stories of endangered animals is the story of Sumatra Tiger.
The species is being hunted to the brink of extinction. From estimation that only 500 left on the island, 50 are killed by poaches each year (“Sumatra”). Similar story are about the white tiger. Although not considered as a different species of tiger, the obvious difference of color due to the domination of recessive gene attract poaches and collectors (“White Tiger”). Other animal which habitats are ruined and hunted by man is the Indian rhinoceros (“Indian Rhinoceros”).In the United States alone, on 2003, 743 species of plants and 513 species of animals are considered threatened or endangered. The number represents approximately one-third of the animal and plant population. Almost 70 % of the nation’s freshwater mussel species and more than half of the crayfish populations are considered endangered (“Why Should”).Worldwide, 58% of the world’s reefs and 34 % of all fish species are considered to be endangered. Totally, there are over 1000 known animals declared endangered. The number of endangered plants is even estimated to be several times larger. According to recent discoveries, the number of species (animal or plants) inhabited the planet has currently decreased to be only one-twenty of its original size (Kurpis).III. Causes of ExtinctionSince the 1620, when American ancestor landed on Plymouth Rock, more that 500 species and varieties of the nation’s plants and animals have become extinct. The number stated that since 1620, the planet have lost averagely 100 species every 100 years. This number is enormous, considering that during the 3000 years of Pleistocene Ice Age, North America lost only 3 species every 100 years (“Why Save”).Scientist concluded 3 main causes of species extinctionsHabitat DestructionThere are no constant in this universe. Environments are constantly changing and affecting every organism living in them. If the changes are slow and at a gradual pace, species living inside the environment would not be disturbed. But if the changes are quick and sudden, some species might be unable to adapt quick enough to survive the new condition. Except for natural disasters, natural environmental shifts usually come slowly and pose no danger to living organism. On the other hand, our greenhouse gasses, chemical waste and tree cuttings create the most rapid environmental changes which destroy the balance of habitats (Kurpis).Introduction of Exotic SpeciesA habitat is biologically design in harmony with every living species inside it. The composition of organism is in balance allowing each species to survive the food chain. The entrance of other members which not originated from inside the habitat would create a disturbance in the delicate natural balance. Human migrations are known to be the main cause of exotic species introduced to habitats. Animals like insects, pigs, rats, cats and others alike are considered to be the cause of extinction for hundreds of species during the past five centuries (Kurpis).OverexploitationThe principal of natural balance is fulfilled if every living organism consumes only the resources they needed. Plants and animals are living based on this natural “code”. However, humans are not famous for their ability in limiting themselves. Restricted whaling, poaching and tree cutting are today one of the vital causes of extinction (Kurpis).IV. The Effect of Organisms ExtinctionThere are no organisms living by themselves. Under the biosphere, there are ecosystems consist of balanced network. The connections inside this network are very delicate, that the removal of a single organism would start a chain reaction affecting many others. New discoveries stated that a disappearing plant could wipe out 30 other species including other plants, animals and insects. Despite the estimation, scientist stated that they have not had the full description of the connections affected in case of extinction yet.V. Benefit of Natural DiversityThere are several known benefits of maintaining natural diversities:MedicalScientist believed that the medical benefits of exotic plants have only been discovered by a small fraction. Penicillin, which was found from a dirty fungus, was the hard evidence that even the most insignificant species could posses the hidden benefit highly valuable for mankind. If a species died, than its secret of chemical benefit would died with it. Preserving the nature diversity could be the action which saves us from new and unknown virus or diseases in the future (“Why save”). AgriculturalFrom the 80.000 edible plants existed in the world, humans depend on only 20 of them to provide 90% of the world’s food. Some of these edible plants are disease-resistant material and others are able to grow in unsuitable areas which could help overcoming the world hunger problem (Kurpis).Ecological and Commercial and RecreationalHumans depend on ecosystems consists of animals and plants for living resources. Coastal estuaries, prairie grasslands and ancient forests are natural provider of food, clean air, clean and water. Destroying an ecosystem might be losing the benefit they have toward human life. Some ecosystems provide commercial advantages which feed thousands of families, like the Pacific Northwest salmon fishing which provide jobs for not less than 60.000 people (Kurpis).VI. ConclusionWhy must we spend our dollars and cents on wild life preservations? The answer is repeatedly stated in the above elaborations, because we are the one causing the animals and plants to be endangered in the first place.Since the human’s existance, the rate of plants and animals extinction has been doubled and tripled way over normal averages. As our civilization grows, we are creating pollution, overexploiting natural resources and sometimes killing endangered animals just for the fun of it. It should be remembered that the present species extinctions are mostly not caused by natural phenomena; they are caused by our activities. By making contribution in efforts of preserving endangered species, we are simply cleaning up our own mess.Why should we care about nature? This question has also been answered by stating the benefits of having a natural diversity. We must remind ourselves that there is no organism having the capability to live on their own, including humans. Despite being the most powerful organism in the planet, humans are still part of nature. We cannot continue to drive animals and plants into extinction without gradually affecting ourselves. By “killing” them, we are losing their potential benefits, which somewhere in the future, might pose as a significant tool of our own survival.The third idea we like to propose is the point that as a human, we are given a rather dissimilar task compared to other species. Humans are the only living organisms having enough brain capacity to form what we refer to as values. We have the ability to define what is good or bad, wrong or right, a merit that possessed only by the humans and no other. If there is no other reason, this reason alone should be enough for us to realize that we have the natural responsibility to act as controller and perhaps even the stabilizer of this nature. Within the light of right and wrong we are the ones trusted to do the best in everyone’s interest, not just our own.