Preventing extinction is one of the main missions of conservation. If certain species end up going extinct, the consequences can be felt throughout the ecosystem. The current rate of extinction is 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than it ever was before.1
What Is Causing Extinction?
Several issues are causing the decline of species throughout the world. A huge culprit is the lack of sustainable use of resources. That is, we’re using more resources than ever before, and at a rate that the planet can’t bounce back from. Overharvesting is a huge part of this – if we continue to cut down forests and overfish, for example, without giving the environment a chance to replenish itself, we end up causing permanent damage.2
Because we’re all so connected and travel is so easy with today’s technology, the risk of bringing invasive species into a new environment is higher. Invasive species pose a huge threat to native species because they compete with them for resources and tend to be more adaptable to their new environments where they don’t have their usual predators. This can throw the entire balance of the ecosystem off.2
This isn’t just from companies using fossil fuels, which throws a lot of carbon dioxide into the air and causes global warming, but from lack of recycling and improper disposal of items. A lot of trash that ends up in landfills ends up sitting there for hundreds of years and may break down into microplastics or leech harmful chemicals into the earth.2
Plastic also ends up in our oceans, which negatively impacts sea life. Animals may get caught up in plastic or mistake it for food, which can lead them to starve.1
What are the Consequences of Extinction?
Because everything in an ecosystem relies on everything else in that ecosystem, when one species disappears, it can have far-reaching effects and consequences. When biodiversity is lost, habitats are less resilient and more susceptible to threats.1
Some consequences include:
- A Cascading Effect – when we lose one species, we may lose many others that relied on them.
- Reducing Pollination – we rely on pollinators for most of our crops. Losing pollinators could lead to less production and ultimately the extinction of plants.
- Loss of Medicine – many medications come from plants or animals. If ecosystems collapse or these species dwindle, we may not be able to have access to certain medicines.
- Negative Impact on Communities – those who work in the honey or fishing industries will be negatively impacted if the source of their job goes extinct.1
Caring for our wildlife is imperative for a sustainable future. One way forward is to build a relationship of mutual respect when it comes to protecting our environment and the wildlife within it.
We strive to build that relationship between people and the world around us through our programs at the Wolf Center. Help us achieve a brighter future for our carnivores and for the next generations that will be the future stewards of our wild world.
Your support is the only way forward.
Donate today. Any amount helps keep us going.