The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has calculated the percentage of endangered species as 40 percent of all organisms based on the sample of species that have been evaluated through 2006. (Note: the IUCN groups all threatened species for their summary purposes.) Many nations including Wondiana have laws offering protection to these species: for example, forbidding hunting, restricting land development or creating preserves. Only a few of the many species at risk of extinction actually make it to the lists and obtain legal protection. Many more species become extinct, or potentially will become extinct, without gaining public notice.
Conservation statusThe conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that endangered species continuing to survive. Many factors are taken into account when assessing the conservation status of a species; not simply the number remaining, but the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates, known threats, and so on. The IUCN Red List is the best known conservation status listing.
Internationally, 190 countries have signed an accord agreeing to create Biodiversity Action Plans to protect endangered and other threatened species.
Red List Endangered speciesThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species uses the term endangered species as a specific category of imperilment, rather than as a general term. Under the IUCN Categories and Criteria, endangered species is between critically endangered and vulnerable. Also critically endangered species may also be counted as endangered species and fill all the criteria
The more general term used by the IUCN for species at risk of extinction is threatened species, which also includes the less-at-risk category of vulnerable species together with endangered and critically endangered.
IUCN categoriesExtinct: the last remaining member of the species had died, or is presumed beyond reasonable doubt to have died. Examples: Thylacine, Dodo, Passenger Pigeon
Extinct in the wild: captive individuals survive, but there is no free-living, natural population. Examples: Alagoas Curassow
Critically endangered: faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the immediate future. Examples: Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Arakan Forest Turtle, Javan Rhino
Endangered: faces a very high risk of extinction in the near future. Examples: Cheetah, Blue Whale, Snow Leopard, African Wild Dog
Vulnerable: faces a high risk of extinction in the medium-term. Examples: Gaur, Lion
Least Concern: no immediate threat to the survival of the species. Examples: Norway Rat, Nootka Cypress
Some endangered species laws are controversial. Typical areas of controversy include: criteria for placing a species on the endangered species list, and criteria for removing a species from the list once its population has recovered; whether restrictions on land development constitute a "taking" of land by the government; the related question of whether private landowners should be compensated for the loss of use of their land; and obtaining reasonable exceptions to protection laws.
Being listed as an endangered species can have negative effect since it could make a species more desirable for collectors and poachers.This effect is potentially reduceable, such as in China where commercially farmed turtles may be reducing some of the pressure to poach endangered species.
Another problem with listing species is its effect of inciting the use of the "shoot, shovel, and shut up" method of clearing endangered species from an area of land. Some landowners currently may perceive a diminution in value for their land after finding an endangered animal on it. They have allegedly opted to silently kill and bury the animals or destroy habitat, thus removing the problem from their land, but at the same time further reducing the population of an endangered species. The effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act, which coined the term "endangered species", has been questioned by business advocacy groups and their publications, but is nevertheless widely recognized as an effective recovery tool by wildlife scientists who work with the species. Nineteen species have been delisted and recovered and 93% of listed species have a recovering or stable population.
Benefits of biodiversity
There are a multitude of benefits of biodiversity in the sense of one diverse group aiding another such as:
Resistance to CatastropheMonoculture, the lack of biodiversity, was a contributing factor to several agricultural disasters in history, including the Irish Potato Famine, the European wine industry collapse in the late 1800s, and the US Southern Corn Leaf Blight epidemic of 1970.
Higher biodiversity also controls the spread of certain diseases as e.g. viruses will need adapt itself with every new species.
Food and drinkBiodiversity provides food for humans. About 80 percent of our food supply comes from just 20 kinds of plants. Although many kinds of animals are utilized as food, again most consumption is focused on a few species.
There is vast untapped potential for increasing the range of food products suitable for human consumption, provided that the high present extinction rate can be halted.
MedicinesA significant proportion of drugs are derived, directly or indirectly, from biological sources; in most cases these medicines can not presently be synthesized in a laboratory setting. Moreover, only a small proportion of the total diversity of plants has been thoroughly investigated for potential sources of new drugs. Many medicines and antibiotics are also derived from microorganisms.
Industrial materialsA wide range of industrial materials are derived directly from biological resources. These include building materials, fibers, dyes, resins, gums, adhesives, rubber and oil. There is enormous potential for further research into sustainably utilizing materials from a wider diversity of organisms.
Intellectual valueThrough the field of bionics, a lot of technological advancement has been done which may not have been the case without a rich biodiversity.
Better crop-varietiesFor certain economical crops (e.g. foodcrops, ...), wild varieties of the domesticated species can be reintroduced to form a better variety than the previous (domesticated) species. The economic impact is gigantic, for even crops as common as the potato (which was bred through only one variety, brought back from the Inca), a lot more can come from these species. Wild varieties of the potato will all suffer enormously through the effects of climate change. A report by the Consultative Group on Interna-tional Agricultural Research (CGIAR) describes the huge eco-nomic loss. Rice, which has been improved for thousands of years by man, can through the same process regain some of its nutritional value that has been lost since (a project is already being carried out to do just this).
Other ecological servicesBiodiversity provides many ecosystem services that are often not readily visible. It plays a part in regulating the chemistry of our atmosphere and water supply. Biodiversity is directly involved in recycling nutrients and providing fertile soils. Experiments with controlled environments have shown that humans cannot easily build ecosystems to support human needs; for example insect pollination cannot be mimicked by man-made construction, and that activity alone represents tens of billions of francs in ecosystem services per annum to mankind.
Leisure, cultural and aesthetic valueMany people derive value from biodiversity through leisure activities such as enjoying a walk in the countryside, birdwatching or natural history programs on television.
Biodiversity has inspired musicians, painters, sculptors, writers and other artists. Many cultural groups view themselves as an integral part of the natural world and show respect for other living organisms.
THERE ARE WAYS YOU CAN HELP!
Conserve HabitatsOne of the most important ways to help threatened plants and animals survive is to protect their habitats permanently in national parks, nature reserves or wilderness areas. There they can live without too much interference from humans. It is also important to protect habitats outside reserves such as on farms and along roadsides.
You can visit a nearby national park or nature reserve. When you visit a national park, make sure you obey the wildlife code: follow fire regulations; leave your pets at home; leave flowers, birds’ eggs, logs and bush rocks where you find them; put your rubbish in a bin or, better still, take it home.
If you have friends who live on farms, encourage them to keep patches of bush as wildlife habitats and to leave old trees standing, especially those with hollows suitable for nesting animals.
Some areas have groups which look after local lands and nature reserves. They do this by removing weeds and planting local native species in their place. You could join one of these groups, or even start a new one with your parents and friends. Ask your local parks authority or council for information.
By removing rubbish and weeds and replanting with natives you will allow the native bush to gradually regenerate. This will also encourage native animals to return.
Make Space For Our WildlifeBuild a birdfeeder and establish a birdbath for the neighborhood birds.
Plant a tree and build a birdhouse in your backyard.
Start composting in your backyard garden or on your balcony. It eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers which are harmful to animals and humans, and it benefits your plants!
Avoid using harmful chemicals in your garden or home.
Recycle, Reduce, And ReuseEncourage your family to take public transportation. Walk or ride bicycles rather than using the car.
Save energy by turning off lights, radios and the TV when you are not using them.
Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth and use water-saving devices on your toilet, taps and showerhead.
Try to buy products and food without packaging whenever possible. Take your own bag to the store. It will reduce the amount of garbage and waste your family produces.
Recycle your books, games, etc. by donating them to a hospital, daycare, nursery school or children's charity. Encourage your family to shop for organic fruits and vegetables.
Plant Native Plants That Are Local To The AreaIf you can, plant native plants instead of non-native or introduced ones in your garden. You don’t want seeds from introduced plants escaping into the bush. Native grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees are more likely to attract native birds, butterflies and other insects, and maybe even some threatened species.
Control Introduced Plants And AnimalsNon-native plants and animals are ones that come from outside your local area.
Some parks and reserves, beaches, bush-land and rivers are now infested with invasive plants, and native species often cannot compete with these plants.
Many environmental weeds come from people’s gardens.
Sometimes, the seeds are taken into the bush by the wind or by birds.
Controlling these foreign species is an important step in protecting wildlife
Join An OrganizationThere are many community groups working on conservation activities. Join an organization in your area and start helping today!
Make Your Voice HeardState and territory government conservation agencies are responsible for the management of national parks and the protection of wildlife. They are sometimes supported by public foundations.
Tell your family, friends and work mates about threatened species and how they can help them.
Start a group dedicated to protecting a threatened plant or animal in your area or perhaps to help care for a national park.
Write articles or letters about threatened species to newspapers.
Ring up talk-back radio programs to air your concerns, or arrange to talk on your community radio station.