Animal day: let´s save the species threatened with extinction

World Animal Day is commemorated on October 4. It is an ideal date both to celebrate animal life in any of its forms, and to raise awareness about the need for the conservation of the different species and the prevention of their definitive extinction.


The sixth great extinction of animals


Of the 8,300 breeds of animals that are known worldwide, 8% are extinct and 22% are in danger of extinction. These figures from the United Nations put the planet on the brink of what some scientists have called the sixth great extinction. The impact of human action on ecosystems is causing many species to disappear, generating irreversible damage to both biodiversity and the environment.


According to a study by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), based on current carbon emissions, the next great extinction of animals could occur within 80 years, around the year 2100. That catastrophic event depends on the moment in which the ocean has absorbed 310 billion tons of carbon.


How many animals are in danger of extinction?


A species is considered to be in danger of extinction when all its representatives run the risk of disappearing from the face of the Earth.


According to data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, approximately 5,200 species of animals are currently in danger of extinction. Additionally, on a breakdown by class, 41% of amphibians, 26% of mammals, 14% of birds, and 37% of sharks and rays are endangered.


Causes that animals are in danger


There are multiple reasons why a species can find itself on the brink of extinction. The reasons may be very particular to each species, but in general, one of the greatest threats is climate change. This is the direct cause of the disappearance of biodiversity, which since 1970 has registered a decrease of 68%, coupled with changes in the use of land and sea.


Other causes of the possible extinction of species are the illegal hunting of animals such as the tiger, the elephant or the rhinoceros, the capture of turtles, and the destruction of habitats where species such as chimpanzees, polar bears or pandas reside due to the consequences of climate change.


How to avoid the extinction of species?


Preventing a species from disappearing implies the implementation of a large amount of resources and concrete actions. Some of them would be to avoid the fragmentation of their habitats, for example deforestation; prosecute and harshly punish illegal hunting and species trafficking; the creation of nature reserves; or the promotion of breeding, reintroduction and genetic improvement programs.


The fight against pollution and climate change is also the fight for the conservation of many animals. Each personal decision has a consequence at the global level in multiple aspects, hence the importance of the social awareness of the population.


By: Juan Carlos Ugarelli

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