By Isabel Campos
Human advances in technology and construction are beneficial to humans themselves, but they have ultimately caused about 10,000 species of animals a year to become extinct. How far will the advancement of technology allow animals’ ecosystems to become diminished? What species are endangered or already extinct? Find out more on the recent threats to animal species here!
As humans constantly develop more advanced technology, problems in the environment arise. Global warming, polluted air, and trash in oceans are just a few of the effects from humans becoming careless. Along with the devastating environmental conditions, increasing numbers of animals are becoming extinct every year. Numerous methods are used to help prevent the deaths of these animals species, but are these methods helpful enough?
In our own community, the Memphis Zoo contains numerous endangered species such as red pandas, African elephants, Bengal tigers, and Bonobos. To help endangered species, the zoo is a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which runs a program known as Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP program acts with the Memphis Zoo through conservation, research, husbandry, management, and educational initiatives. Another program at the zoo that attempts to help animals is the Conservation Action Network (CAN) that is funded through the zoo’s gift shop purchases, fundraising events, donations, and grants.
St. Mary’s students who work at the Memphis Zoo gain first hand experience with the behavior of different species of animals. Taylor Ann Wilson (11) has worked at the zoo for about three to five hours during the summer and weekends since she was 12 years-old. She says, “Every time I go [to the zoo], something different or new is happening. I gain new knowledge or learn something new about a certain species. I end up gaining relationships with animals and work with animals that I love just as much as one of my own pets at home.”
In the past year, the number of endangered animals has tripled despite efforts from the 1973 Endangered Species Act and wildlife conservation agencies. A large number of a diverse species of turtles, mostly consisting of sea turtles, have been endangered in the past decade. Once sea turtles hatch, they make their way across the beach to the ocean while facing dangerous factors such as artificial light, distracting sounds, and common predators. All these factors have contributed to six out of seven world turtle species being in danger: Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, Kemp’s Ridley, Green, Leatherback, and Loggerhead. To help preserve these threatened sea turtle species, an organization called SEE Turtles was founded in 2008 and has saved 900,000 turtle hatchlings in Latin America.
Along with sea turtles, rhinos have experienced major threats to their species. Low numbers of rhinos were caused by poachers seeking a profit from their skin and horns. In Kenya, Africa, on Mar. 19, the northern white rhinoceros named Sudan died. Sudan’s death leaves only two northern white rhinoceros in the world -- both females. As a result, offspring will not be able to be produced naturally anymore, leaving scientists to attempt to develop a way to breed a new rhino. This current extinction, along with that of the western black rhinoceros in 2013, indicates that the rhino species are rapidly diminishing. The eastern black rhino and southern white species remain, but they only consist of 20,000 or fewer animals.
Humans claim to love animals, but their actions prove otherwise. While the many actions taken by conservation organizations will continue to aid endangered species, as long as humans continue to contaminate the planet and destroy habitats animals will still be in danger.