When the majority of people hear the words ‘animal extinction’, some obvious animal species come to mind; the tyrannosaurus rex, the saber-toothed tiger, the mammoth or even the dodo.
But how about animals such as the golden toad, China’s bajin dolphin, the spix’s macaw, the Mexican grizzly bear, the West African black rhino or even “Lonesome George”, the last of the pinta island tortoises that passed away in 2012? No, I doubt these animals rarely come to mind at all.
In the last few weeks news, outlets have released reports from major international wildlife organisations and charities such as the WWF (The World Wide Fund of Nature) and the ZSL (The London Zoological Society) affirming that the animal population has deteriorated remarkably in the last forty years.
The loss is assumed to be worse than ever imagined. Birds, mammals, amphibians, fish and reptiles have plummeted by approximately 52% according to the report by ZSL.
The report also stated that the largest decrease of animal population have been freshwater species who have declined by an overwhelming 76%.
According to the study finalized by the WWF, over 3,000 species’ population worldwide have been affected, the most recent cases however, having been found in the tropical areas of Latin America.
Now, it is common knowledge that animal extinction is a natural process of evolution, the world changes and thus everything in it changes. Despite this fact, it cannot be dismissed that the in the last few hundred years the staggering percentage of animal extinction has been anything, but natural.
According to these recent reports, and to pure common sense, human activity is to blame. In the past, the commencement of European colonialism was responsible for initiating habitat loss, a major cause in affecting animal population.
Following through to the present day, the overpopulation of people and careless human greed appear to be indisputable factors at fault. Even the most evident causes responsible for damaging the wildlife and their habitat can be traced back to humans; deforestation, poaching and climate change.
Evidence predicts that 21% of Southeast Asian forests will have disappeared by 2100. Researchers have also announced that since 2010 almost 35,000 elephants have been murdered each year in Africa.
In more recent news, the NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have spotted tens of thousands walruses seeking refuge on Alaskan shores due to rapid melting ice rooted by global warming.
Of course we can neither forgive or forget the obsessive and selfish mentality we possess towards animals. In this day and age, where one wants everything and can achieve just about anything, wild animals are no exception.
The incredibly insightful 2010 documentary The Elephant in the Living Room distributed by National Geographic, explores the infamous multi-billion exotic pet industry that exists in America.
The documentary informs that in The United States there are more exotic animals that live as house hold pets and as zoo property than in the actual wild. To add, there are seven states in the US that do not even require licenses or permits to own such wild and supposedly free animals.
In this expanding desensitised world, it comes as no surprise that the wild life population is in grave danger. Regardless it is equally clear that we humans and more specifically the dominant powers making such regretful and detrimental decision musts begin to make a change.
We must begin to choose correctly, we must begin to choose life- every life.