Today more than 16,000 species of plants and animals are on the verge of extinction, and we lose dozens of these species daily. Scientists say that the earth is currently in the middle of the sixth mass extinction.
It is, therefore, imperative to know the reasons behind this series of events. Herein are some of the reasons why species are becoming extinct everywhere.
The main reasons why animals are becoming extinct everywhere are effects of human activities. The largest culprit by far is land cultivation. Animal species become threatened when the specialized habitats they occupy become smaller and widely separated.
For instance, large animals need more sizable areas to obtain food, mates and shelter. Loss of habitat due to our activities often leads to the endangerment and extinction of elephant, rhino and caribou species. Large predators like lions, bears and leopards also need large spaces to hunt for food.
Over-hunting by humans is also one of the main causes of animal extinction. The commercial value assigned to various animal parts such as fur, ivory and skin leads to poaching for capitalist purposes leading to reduced populations and consequently destruction. Other causes of animal extinction are low reproductive output, human hunting, small population sizes, commercial value and reduced genetic diversity.
Plants do not come to the minds of many people when extinction is mentioned. It is surprising since plants are the foundation of almost all life on earth. They were particularly vulnerable to extinction mainly because they cannot move to sustainable habitats.
Global warming due to greenhouse gasses is a leading cause of plant extinctions. Additionally, loss of habitat due to human population expansion is another major reason. Sometimes the proliferation of other plant species such as weeds can deplete the resources needed by some plant species leading to their extinction. Other causes of plant extinction are animal grazing, natural disasters, and plant collectors.
Evidently, the common denominator in all these reasons is humans. As such, we have a responsibility to conserve the remaining plant and animal species. This can be done through proactive conservation efforts and embrace more environmentally friendly lifestyles.