The Cost of Being the Boss –The Dubious History of Humans as Mammal Pack Leaders
The list of endangered mammals and many other species roaming the world is long and woeful. Before we begin a comprehensive list, important considerations need to be addressed first. As populations of endangered species dwindle and eventually disappear from our planet, the world is left a poorer place on so many levels. The ecosystems and habitat that wild animals need to survive are shrinking due to human activity which in turn is pushing over a thousand mammal species to the brink of extinction. Losing these species is much more than just a sad state of affairs; it is a travesty that could lead to detrimental and even devastating consequences that we may not be able to fathom until it’s too late. We can hardly know which species might be the proverbial “canary in the coal mine" that marks some tipping point whereby all life on Earth is permanently altered in a bad way or even worse.
After all, it isn’t the animals that found it necessary to create the Dooms Day Clock as a result of the very real threat of nuclear annihilation. The point is, ecosystems are extremely fragile and depleted rain forests, dust bowls, and dead oceans could all take place just as surely as these endangered mammals and other creatures could become extinct. Among the many factors that lead to an animal being listed as endangered are loss of habitat, pollution, and illegal hunting, all the result of human activity which points to a wonton disregard for the other mammals that share this planet on the part of the human race. Our tendency for immediate gratification with little or no concern about the future will literally only get us so far before we wake up to find we made the endangered list ourselves.
Animals kill to feed themselves; humans have a long history of facilitating destruction to feed their egos and their bank accounts. In the U.S. alone, 735 plants are endangered or threatened from various causes, including human activity and 496 animal species are in the same or similar status. More than 1000 species of animal around the world are endangered. So let’s get to the list of endangered mammals worldwide. Since there are over 1500 of them, we will only provide a good cross section here. A link to a complete list will be provided below. According to an article in National Geographic, one in four mammals is on a path to extinction. We are not without hope, many conservation groups have sprung up throughout the world to preserve and protect these threatened mammals. But as you’ll see from the following list, that task is rather daunting, so we must all do our part to help where we can.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons