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Are Humans to be Blamed for Animal Extinctions?

As a matter of fact, scientists have only identified 1.9 million species ofanimals all over the world, while there are still millions out there left,waiting to be identified and studied. So technically, we are unable to know howmany species gone extinct in precise, but based on researches and studies, itis known that the rate of species going extinct is much faster than the rate ofnew species being discovered and studied. Perhaps, there are new speciesarising without us knowing, but as far as we know, the rate of extinction isbecoming higher and this is all because of humans’ activities nonetheless.

Deforestation,global warming, climate change, glaciers melting, increased carbon dioxide level,risen sea level – all these are interlinked. And all these are contributed bywhat we have done to the nature. And all these are instrumental in causinganimal extinctions. The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just inthe last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance andretreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago markingthe beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Thecurrent warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is verylikely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past1,300 years. In its Fourth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel onClimate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countriesall over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there'sa more than 90 percent probability that human activities over the past 50 yearshave warmed our planet. The industrial activities that our modern civilizationdepends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts permillion to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years. The panel alsoconcluded there's a better than 90% probability that human-produced greenhousegases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of theobserved increase in Earth's temperatures over the past 50 years. According toa report made by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), it hasshown a couple of compelling evidences for rapid climate change due to humans’activities. For instance, the sea level rose 17 centimeters similar to 6.7inches in the last century, yet the rate in the last decade alone is nearlydoubled the rate. And also, the rising global temperature, especially moresevere in North and South Poles. July 2016 was the warmest July in 136 years ofmodern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperaturesby scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). Shrinkingice sheets is another persuasive evidence. The Greenland and Antarctic icesheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and ClimateExperiment show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers of ice per yearbetween 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers of icebetween 2002 and 2005. In a matter of fact, the Montana Glacier National Parkhas only 25 glaciers now instead of 150 that were there in the year 1910 due toglobal warming and this has deeply affected the balance of ecosystem. Globalwarming that is causing extreme weather changes has shown it implications inthe way of several extreme events, such as forest fires, heat waves, hurricanesand severe tropical storms throughout the world. Hence, due to humans’ pollutionactivities that consequently leads to global warming and climate change, one ofthe species that is deeply affected is coral reefs, for example, they aresuffering the worst bleaching with the highest dying record since 1980. Hereare some facts about how deforestation leads to certain animal extinctions too.As we all know, forests are the habitats to most of the land animals and bynow, 13 million hectares of forest have been converted for other uses ordestroyed by natural causes. Up to 28,000 species can go extinct in the nextquarter century due to deforestation. By the year 2030, we might only have 10%of Rainforests left and it can all disappear in a hundred years. 10% of theworld’s forests are now protected areas. This is only roughly the size of India.All these have shown that humans are not doing anything to save the forests asthey said they would. Instead, they cut the forests down and destroy them fordevelopment purpose. And this is leading to certain animal extinctionsindefinitely. After all, most people only care about their own benefits insteadof benefits to all.

Accordingto a study result shown by National Geographic, it is shown that most of thenon-profit organization like “Save Our Species” spend their funds on conservingthe five most popular species which are apes, elephants, big cats, blackrhinoceros and giant pandas. For instance, tigers are often rated the mostpopular animal among society in surveys conducted, therefore, in 2010,according to an article published in the Economist online, the cost of managingtiger reserves alone cost at least 82 million US Dollar. This is a huge, yetdisappointing and disheartening contrast – other lesser known species such asfish and frogs which are in a more dire-straits, with just fewer than hundredsleft in some cases do not get much attention and support from the public. Thisis a bias - a bias against smaller, less iconic animals. People often proclaimand protest to have fairness in the humans’ society – no discrimination ongender and sexuality and so on, but they are not doing the same for theanimals. People end up choosing and deciding on which species to be saved ontheir own wish and will eventually, instead of giving a proper consideration onwhich species to be prioritized and conserved. “To preserve and conserve allthe animals on the brink of extinction” is merely an ideal statement made byscientists and conservationists. In reality, though, scientists andconservationists prioritize based on a mix of public perception and a species'economic value—for example, whether it's a popular, favored animal or does itbring tourism dollars to a state. Hugh Possingham, an expert in environmentaldecision-making at Australia's University of Queensland, says humans’ obsessionwith "celebrity species" is likely detrimental to as many asthousands of other creatures in need. Some conservationists argue that how wechoose which species live or die is deeply flawed, that our bias for preservingcute and fuzzy animals diverts precious resources from creatures that actuallykeep our planet humming. And this is true, absolutely, undeniably accurate.Ants, for instance, are essential environmental helpers – distributing seeds,aerating soils, and eating other insects that are often human pests, says MarcBekoff, an ethologist at the University of Colorado Boulder. "If we'regoing to save pandas rather than ants, we need a good reason, and being cute isnot a good reason," he also says.

Quotedfrom Dr. Josa C. Depre, “The clock to extinction is ticking faster today thanit was a decade ago”, why did this occur for the matter of fact? What is theleading cause in this issue? Without any doubt, it has to be humans’responsibilities. Humans are to be blamed for animal extinctions – the massextinction that has happened for decades and even centuries not just in KingdomAnimalia but other kingdoms too. As a species, we have much to be proud of. Wehave tamed the wild beasts, we have built wonders of the world, and we havelanded on the moon. Of course, we believe that we are quite deserving of ourprivileged position. After all, we won the evolutionary arms race, climbing andclawing and intellectualizing our way to the top of the food chain over thecourse of millions of years.

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