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According to Barry Commoner, staunch environmental activist and author of the book The Closing Circle, the first law of ecology states that “Everything is connected to everything else” (p. 18). Simply put, this assertion implies that all living organisms in this planet are interdependent on one another. At first glance, one organism may not be directly connected to another, but when traced, there actually exists a mutually reliant relationship among all humans, plants, animals, insects and other life forms. Man can therefore never claim that he can live in isolation because he is always dependent on other organisms in one way or another. All organisms form part of a co-dependent structure called the ecosystem. In this article we will explore the question: "Should endangered species be protected?"
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Link to Endangered Species
This affiliation can also be linked to the issue of endangered species. It is said that the world’s population boom has caused much of the environmental damage in most parts of the globe, which has resulted in the destruction of the natural habitat of most species, in effect exterminating or gradually obliterating those creatures endemic to these areas. Although only a few profit-oriented entities may be labeled guilty of actually committing this disservice to the endangered species, condoning the act or allowing such practices to continue is synonymous to being an accomplice. The list of endangered species continues to grow with each passing day. The worst scenario will be the day when all these endangered species will eventually become extinct. “What is of concern today is not the process of extinction, but rather the increasing rate at which extinctions are occurring, and especially the role that humans are playing in this increase” (American Society of Mammalogists, p. 2).
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The Need to Protect Endangered Species
Endangered species therefore have to be protected principally in order to maintain biodiversity. The term biodiversity refers to the different species in an area/region, their roles in the area, and the amount of genetic variation in the population (American Society of Mammalogists, p. 3). All living organisms play an essential role in contributing to the environment that man is currently living in. It is said that if there is greater biodiversity, then the environment is highly likely to be a good one as it promotes the growth and proliferation of many species. Conversely, if there is greater extinction, this connotes a poor or flawed natural setting. Again, this depicts the inextricable link that exists between living organisms and the environment.
Biodiversity is essential for man’s continued existence on earth. Man is extremely dependent on plants, animals and aquatic resources for his subsistence; on the environment for his clothing and shelter; and on other natural resources for his other day-to-day activities. Plants and animals provide food and other valuable services to man like cleaning the air and providing control for crop pests among other things (Bailey). Drugs and medicines are also extracted from naturally-occurring substances in nature. Most of the time, man behaves arrogantly, as if he can manage to control the world on his own, but in fact he can’t – not without the help of nature and the organisms in it. If man will allow the endangered species to become extinct, this will cause a domino-effect on the other species, which will also progressively result to the extinction of man in the near future.
The endangered species also have to be preserved so that the beauty of nature can be maintained. Some of the endangered species like tigers, elephants and bald-headed eagles may be wild animals, but still they are pleasant to look at despite their feral tendencies. They also are an essential part of the forest’s balanced, natural ecosystem, and thus, should be allowed to perform their respective roles.
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What can be done?
The situation of endangered species is unalterable but small efforts are already underway. Preventing further destruction of the environment is perhaps the most crucial requirement in averting more negative impacts on the ecosystem.
“Habitat protection is the key to protecting our rare, threatened, and endangered species” (Bailey) so that the remaining organisms may be able to propagate their offspring. This work has been initiated by federal agencies, state agencies, and conservationists and has been gaining more and more adherents far and wide. Another possible solution is that experts be assigned to care for the endangered species so that they may be given the correct caretaking and management. Injured species should be cared for to prevent further dwindling of these scarce breeds.
Sufficient regulations should be passed to further augment the laws and policies already passed. Periodic checking of such regulations and the current circumstances also have to be done regularly so that such laws may be considered up-to-date and compatible with existing conditions.
Lastly, supplementary education about endangered species should be conducted so that more people are aware of these issues. This can already be seen in the numerous videos about endangered species on the net, but since such videos may not be able to reach those who do not have internet access, education at the grassroots level is ideal to these circumstances.
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Commoner, Barry. “The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology” New York: Bantam Books, Nov 1972.
American Society of Mammalogists, “Why Species Become Threatened or Endangered: A Mammalogist’s Perspective” www.mammalsociety.org. n.d., Web. 15 June 2010.
Bailey, Regina. “Endangered Species”. biology.about.com, n.d., Web. 15 June 2010