Endangered species are those species considered to be nearly extinct as per the IUCN.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is responsible for categorizing all the world species as per their vulnerability to extinction. They have a Red List that places species into the following categories:
- Extinct – No species still alive
- Extinct in the wild – Species that disappeared and only lived in captivity.
- Critically Endangered – Species with the highest risk of extinction.
- Endangered species – Species with the highest probability of extinction in the wild.
- Vulnerable – Species with a high risk of endangerment in the wild.
- Near threatened – Species with a possibility of endangerment shortly.
- Least Concern – Species with the lowest probability of endangerment.
- Data deficient – species that have not been assessed enough to verify their risk towards endangerment.
- Not evaluated – Species that have never been evaluated.
So what are the factors that lead to endangerment of species?
Introduction of the invasive species
They usually end up creating stiff resources competition thus disrupting the ecosystem. Apart from competing for resources, they also introduce diseases. The diseases end up killing the indigenous species that are not yet immune to them.
Humans tend to over-hunt and over-harvest both flora and fauna. If their exploitation is not frequently checked, they promote endangerment of species within a very short period.
The growing human population has been encroaching species’ land for settlement. They have also caused land fragmentation and occupy wildlife corridors. The encroached land is cleared hence losing the indigenous species.
Loss of Genetic Variation
This is the diversity found within species and is responsible for promoting environment adaptations within them. Due to the small populations as a result of habitat loss, the genetic variation is smaller. Smaller populations lead to inbreeding hence little genetic variation. Loss of genetic variation can occur naturally or induced by human activity.
Civilization led to urbanization that led to all kinds of pollution towards endangered species. This pollution can easily wipe out species if their impact is negative towards the species. The species tend to adapt to their environment but it takes a while. This is why before a species can overcome pollution, a number of them die in the process.
As the space becomes scarce, wildlife and human end up rubbing each others’ shoulders. Wildlife cause death and destruction to humans. In return, they killed and injured.
Low birth rate
The species are different when it comes to the years needed to mature sexually. If the species that take long to reproduce are over-hunted, their population decline rate will be very high.
What can we do to prevent endangerment of species?
Promote and practice conservation education and awareness
Conservation education and awareness will help us understand and appreciate the species. It will equip us with the required knowledge to enhance the protection of the endangered species.
The harvesting and consumption of the species should be regulated to prevent over-exploitation. The regulation will boost the endangered species population.
Push the government to come up with stiff laws protecting endangered species.
Implementation and enforcement of stiff laws will help curb those who create danger towards the endangered species.
Pollution is a result of our activities and if we can control the harm, we will be able to reduce and even eradicate pollution.
Introducing the endangered species to sanctuaries
This will mainly apply to the endangered animal species. The sanctuary will provide a conducive environment. They will be able to recover and be monitored closely.
Stop introducing exotic species
We should stop introducing exotic species. This will help prevent competition of resources.
Introducing Wildlife corridors
Wildlife corridors will help connect the fragmented wildlife areas. By connecting the areas, wildlife will be able to interact with a wide range of species. As a result, genetic variation will increase.
The major contributors to species endangerment are humans. By controlling our activities, we will be able to reduce the threat. A species can recover when exposed to a conducive environment. Be a good environment ambassador and ensure that no other species face endangerment.