Vast majority of species who have ever existed are now extinct. A lot of animals went extinct in our time, a significant amount of them because of humans. If you’ve asked people, most of us identify as animal lovers. Most of us say that we care about animals and would like to help various endangered species, but don’t actually do anything. Well guess what? Today’s your lucky day – you’re about to learn about various ways that you can help endangered animals.
What Are Endangered Animals?
First things first, what does it mean to be an endangered species?
In order for species to be considered endangered, there has to be a very high likelihood of that species going extinct in the near future. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the best known worldwide conservation status listing and ranking system. IUCN provides a list of categories that are essentially various stages of endangerment. They are listed below in a not in danger to extreme danger:
- Not evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.
- Data deficient (DD) – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.
- Least concern (LC) – Lowest risk; does not qualify for a higher risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
- Near threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered in the near future.
- Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild.
- Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild.
- Critically endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
- Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.
- Extinct (EX) – No known living individuals.
According to IUCN, an endangered species is one that meets any one of the following criteria: a 50–70% population decrease over 10 years, a total geographic area less than 5,000 km2 (or local population area less than 500 km2), a population size less than 2,500 adults, a restricted population of 250 adults, or a statistical prediction that it will go extinct within the next 20 years.
Species are considered critically endangered when then there are tens or hundreds of them left in the wild.
And extinct means that they are extinct – there are no known living members of species.
How Many Animal Species Are Considered Extinct?
According to the IUCN, they have currently, at the time of writing this article, evaluated over more than 112,400 species and 27% percent of them, or more than 30,000 species are threatened with extinction.
What Causes Animals To Become Extinct Or Endangered?
Animals usually go extinct or become classified as endangered because of habitat loss, hunting/poaching, climate change, pollution, deceases, shortage of food and some others.
A lot of animals have went extinct or have become endangered due to human actions (over hunting/poaching, habitat destruction, pollution etc.)
Also, most animals and species in general have went extinct way before humans set foot on this planet. So they do go extinct due to factors that are not related to humans, but, nowadays, because of the influence that humanityu has on this planet, a lot of species went extinct or have became endangered because of us.
What Can Be Done For Endangered Animals?
While we can’t help animals who went extinct, we can help animals who are endangered, very vulnerable or are just on the verge of extinction.
Politicians and government officials can make sure to take certain measures to make sure that endangered animals are not being hunted or poached, also make sure that habitat destruction of endangered animals is either stopped or minimized, make sure that nobody is dumping waste products into their habitats and to build nature reserves and animal shelters.
What Can You Do To Help Endangered Animals?
While it’s clear that people in power are the ones who can have the greatest influence on endangered animals, simple people can also contribute. And if we all did our part, we could produce an enormous change as a whole. That being said, what can we do as individuals to save various vulnerable species.
- First things first, we have to educate ourselves and others to make sure that we as individuals and society at large understand the dangers that so many species are facing and also how to help them. We should read articles from trusted sources, like this one, read books and listen to scientists and experts who discuss this phenomena.
- We should also discourage illegal hunting/poaching, pollution, habitat destruction, and animal food source destruction and we should spread awareness on these issues.
- You can also make donations to certain charities that work specifically on helping endangered animals, like: Defenders of Wildlife or International Union for Conservation of Nature.
- You can recycle and buy reusable/durable products, to help reduce waste that often threatens animals and nature at large.
- Grow plants in the wild that are food sources for herbivores living there.
- Try to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Don’t buy plastic products. Plastic kills millions of animals each year, especially marine animals.
- Volunteer to help wildlife.
- Don’t buy souvenirs and other products that are made using endangered animal body parts. There is a large market for various animal products and this is the reason why many animals have gone or are going extinct.
There are tens of thousands of endangered animal species who need our help if we don’t want them to become extinct and hopefully you’ve learned something more about them and how to help them.