Any animal or plant that is in danger of disappearing forever is called an endangered species. If a species of animal or plant dies out completely, they are called extinct. A species is a group of similar organisms that are able to reproduce naturally and create offspring that can also reproduce. Humans are a species, and dogs are another species! Let’s learn about how animals or plants become endangered.
Animals and plants live in unique habitats that have many important parts to their survival, like available food and water, to adequate shelter. Changes in their environments, from natural disasters or changes in climate, can harm these habitats.
Humans can also be the cause of a species becoming endangered. Human-made pollution in the air, ground, or water can dramatically affect an environment. Habitats can also become damaged by clearing land for roads, farms or other construction. Even overhunting can upset the natural balance of a habitat.
An environment may also change from the introduction of a new species. This kind of threat happens when an existing species in the habitat cannot compete with the newcomer.
Some of the most endangered species today that you may want to investigate further are:
- The Amur Leopard
- The Rhinoceros
- Two kinds of Orangutan: the Bornean and the Sumatran
- The Sunda Tiger
- Eastern and Western Gorillas
- A Finless Porpoise found in the Yangtze River in China
- African and Asian Elephants
- Two species of Sea Turtles: Hawksbill and Kemps Ridley
- A very small marine mammal called the Vaquita
Because they are endangered, these animals need protection. Many people are hard at work to help these animals. Conservation efforts are being made to save their habitats. Many countries have made it illegal to harm, capture or sell endangered species. There are also many organizations that work to keep endangered species from becoming extinct.
Endangered species biologists study life that is under threat of extinction. Defenders of wildlife try to prevent species from going extinct by working with governments on the laws and policies that affect wildlife. People who try to save our natural resources, preserving critical habitats are called conservationists.