What are the Causes for Endangered Species Due to Man and his Activities?
Humans Are a Threat to Other Species
Endangered species are those species of plants and animals whose population is at such a critical level that any further loss may lead to the species becoming extinct on this Earth. During the natural course of time, there have been many animals and plants like the bird dodo that have become nonexistent due to various reasons like natural calamities, climate change, and so forth. But humans have started vandalizing natural resources to such a large extent because of their own selfish needs that many living species that were otherwise safe from extinction have become endangered.
In the natural order of things, resources of the earth like water, soil, minerals, and food are available to all animals, plants, and humans and should be equally shared by everyone. The living species form a part of a self-sustaining environment where each one is dependent on the other in some way. However, due to various reasons, humans have disrupted this balance leading to uncontrollable destruction of the Earth and making survival of other creatures extremely difficult.
Causes that Endanger Species
The human activities that lead to threatening the lives of many life forms on this planet are:
Habitat Destruction – Nearly every kind of habitat and ecosystem - be it land, air or water - has been affected by the uncontrollable destruction of habitats by humans. There are various activities leading to habitat destruction,
- Population – Ever increasing numbers of human beings means more need for homes, agricultural land, food, industries, and recreational areas and all these lead to loss of many habitats.
- Agriculture – The need for agricultural land leads to complete eradication of forests and savannas. When pesticides or fertilizers are used these reach water bodies, thereby endangering the aquatic life forms too.
- Urbanization – The process of building new homes, skyscrapers, and shopping malls requires land to be cleared of trees, reclaimed from marshes, or created by cutting mountains. The habitat of that particular species is thus totally wiped out. Urbanization leads to other factors like more pollution, or the use of natural resources like water that make the life of other species tougher.
- Livestock – Grazing by domestic livestock leads to depletion of food for wild animals.
- Logging – Cutting trees for firewood not only reduces the number of trees available as homes for many species, but it also leads to soil erosion.
- Mining- Results in destruction of land structure of a particular place and pollution.
- Industrialization – With the ever increasing demands, more natural resources are used, more wastes are dumped into water and air, and more land is deforested and used for building industries and plants.
Hunting – Humans are the only animals in this world who hunt for pleasure and not just for food. There have been many animals that have become extinct. as well as many others on the verge of nonexistence due to this barbaric act. Tigers, elephants, grey wolves, wild boars, and many other animals are threatened because of over hunting by humans.
Pollution – Humans, due to their industrial, agricultural, or normal day to day activities, release a large amount of toxic waste everyday that is ultimately dumped into the air, water, or landfills. These wastes directly impact the life of many animals and plants, and also affect the food they eat, the places they live, and the air they breathe. Tragedies like oil spills have been known to destroy and threaten many aquatic life forms.
Global Warming – The mass consumption of fossil fuels from manufacturing things to running automobiles has led to the release of a very high amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Due to this, the earth is getting warmer by the day and becoming more and more uncomfortable for the living species to survive. Many species over the past century, like the polar bear, have become critically endangered by the constantly changing climatic conditions destroying its habitat.
Introduction of exotic species – For many years now there have been many species of plants and animals across the world that have been introduced into non-natural habitats by human activities. Most of the introduction of invasive species has been accidental due to their translocation through ships and planes, but some are deliberate as in when an animal is taken to another part of the world. But the result of this has been the new species either survives with difficulty in the new environment or modifies the surroundings to such an extent that it destroys the natural habitat of other plants and animals of the area ultimately leading to their endangerment.
It is thus clear most of the living forms in today’s world are endangered species because of uncontrollable human activities destroying the balance of the natural world. These causes for endangered species due to man are serious.
Photo by chesbayprogram (cc/Flickr)