The Sad Reality of Extinction

Lorelei Gorman and

The Sad Reality of Extinction

By: Lorelei Gorman

It is very natural for animals to die over periods of time. However, over the past five centuries, myriad species have been completely wiped from the planet– approximately 900 or more. According to The Journal Science, the death rate of animals has increased by about 1,000 times, being an estimated 0.1 rate before humans existed. A great amount of creatures that humans depend on for survival are slipping away in number and entering the endangered species list. As a result of unnatural processes, the world is facing a drastic increase in animal extinction. 

What are the Causes of Extinction?

Many processes such as climate change, habitat loss, overhunting, and pollution have resulted in the extreme eradication of animal species. 

Global warming and climate change have become significant problems in the ecosystem, being issues that are very difficult for the world to control. Due to the evolution of humans and economy, greenhouse gases are being trapped inside of the atmosphere, and then causing the earth to be heated, glaciers melting, ocean levels rising, and the climate being greatly altered. All of these effects have caused animals to lose their land and lives.

Habitat loss can occur from the destruction of land due to natural causes, or from people who are thirsty to acquire resources. For instance, numerous trees have been chopped off for their wood, in order to clear land for agriculture, raising livestock, or to support increasing population. Many of the native animals in these locations have died or have managed to evolve in different habitats. 

Another process, overhunting, is an extremely unnatural issue across the world, in which an overwhelming amount of animals are killed for food, sport, or their materials. At least 0.97 trillion fish are killed in one year, due to the great demand for their meat. The demand for red meat is also excessive, leading to a great population decrease of these species. Raising cattle can also tie in with various other issues, such as the concerning amount of greenhouse gas emitted from the manure of these animals, or the large amount of land required to be cleared for grazing areas. 

Poaching is a major problem associated with the endangerment of species, as many people illegally kill animals for their materials. Species such as elephants, rhinoceros, gorillas, and snow leopards have become incredibly endangered due to illegal hunting. 

Lastly, pollution also results in many creatures being wiped out. Whether it is through air pollution, littering, or pollution in water, unnatural materials that do not belong in nature are discarded, and can bring about habitat loss through unclean air or water, or the litter can be consumed by animals. Studies have shown that pollution itself is responsible for approximately 37 extinctions in total. 

Present-Day Animal Extinction and Predicted Extinctions in the Future

A very recent species extinction was that of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, in which the last living member had died on September 24, 2021; proceeding the 15 species in 2020 that had gone extinct. 

In about 30 years or so, many more species extinctions are anticipated, some of many prominent animals. Scientists predict that by 2050, animals such as giant pandas, polar bears, rhinoceros, gorillas, and koalas will not exist anymore. The idea of losing so many celebrated species is horrifying, as these animals and many others have been so significant in our world for so many years. We can not let these beloved creatures fade away into our past, we must fight against animal extinction together. Some of these animals could be saved if enough attention and concern is developed. In order to contribute to these causes, everyone should donate money to animal protection organizations, spread awareness, and do what they can to make a difference, big or small, in our world.  

About 40,000 animals have gone extinct since 1950– while from the 1900’s to the 1950’s, much less than 10,000 animal extinctions have occurred.