People all over the world are working to help save endangered animals from extinction. There are conservation organizations which try to make people aware of the problems facing wild animals. Some of the ways in which they are being saved include habitat protection, captive breeding, setting up nature reserves and parks and using alternative products in place of products fromrare animals. Governments can help by making international agreements between countries to protect animals (many countries, for example, have agreed to stop hunting the blue whale). Scientists are setting up gene banks in which they keep an animal's genetic material (the 'building blocks' of a living thing) in suspended animation. This technique may make it possible in the future to 'grow' a newanimal of the same species.
What does Endangered mean?
Officially, threatened species are those listed as Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) or Vulnerable (VU).
Practically this means:
* Critically Endangered (CR): A species facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
* Endangered (EN): A speciesconsidered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
* Vulnerable (VU): A species considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
In the time is takes you to read this work, one of our planet’s unique species will become extinct. By this time tomorrow, a further 150–200 will have disappeared forever. And by this time next year, over 50,000 more.
This alarmingrate of extinction is 100-1,000 times, and perhaps even 11,000 times, greater than the expected natural rate.
One in four of the world’s mammals are now threatened with extinction in the near future. So are one in eight birds, one in five sharks, one in four coniferous trees, and one in three amphibians.
By and large, the cause of this decline is human activities. The land we use for living space,food, clothing, housing, fuel; the things we buy; and the waste we produce – all this contributes to the main causes of species loss:
* Habitat loss
* Unsustainable trade
* Climate change
* Invasive species
Priority & endangered species
WWF is focusing efforts on a select group of priority species that are especiallyimportant, either for their ecosystem...
* Species forming a key element of the food chain
* Species which help the stability or regeneration of habitats
* Species demonstrating broader conservation needs
...or for people
* Species important for the health and livelihoods of local communities
* Species exploited commercially
* Species that are important cultural icons.These species fall into two groups:
1. Flagship species – iconic animals that provide a focus for raising awareness and stimulating action and funding for broader conservation efforts
2. Footprint-impacted species – species whose populations are primarily threatened because of unsustainable hunting, logging or fishing.
Strategially focusing efforts on these species will also helpconserve the many other species which share their habitats and/or are vulnerable to the same threats.
Flagship species | | Footprint-impacted species |
* Bonobo * Chimpanzee * Dolphins (freshwater) * Dolphins (marine) * Elephants -African * Elephants - Asian * Giant panda * Gorillas * Leopard * Marine turtles * Orangutan * Polar bear * Rhinos * Rock wallaby *Tiger * Tree kangaroo * Whales | | * African teak * Alaskan pollock * Albatross * Antelope * Argali (wild sheep) * Cacti * Cichlids * Cod * Corals * Cork oak * Ginseng * Humphead wrasse * Korean cedar pine * Mahogany - Bigleaf * Paddlefish * Ramin * Salmon * Sharks * Sturgeon * Swordfish and other billfish * Tortoises and freshwater turtles...