David Byerly Mrs. Taylor English 1010 9a. m. Explanation Essay 26 Sept. 2011 Endangered Species: Watching them Disappear Earth has roughly 40 million species right now. Earth has held 10 times that many animals since its inception. Of that 40 million, 99 percent of the species on the planet have gone extinct (Acherman xii-xiii). With only a fraction of the species on the planet that have ever existed it is important to keep the ones that we have. Before a species is completely wiped out, it is called an Endangered Species. People have noticed over the years the animals disappearing but Endangered Species is a relatively new term.
Endangered Species will never recover with the lack of classification, protection and destruction of habitat. Endangered Species is a group of animals that faces a high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future (Audesirk 616). Endangered Species are classified into seven different specific categories which are extinct, extinct in wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, near threatened and least concern. Extinct species are species that are no longer alive on the planet like Dinosaurs. Extinct in wild species only live in captivity like the Wyoming Toad that only survives in zoos and laboratories.
The critically endangered species are those with extremely high risk of extinction in immediate future like the Sea Turtle. Endangered species are classified as species with high risk extinction in the near future like the Blue Whale. Vulnerable species are those that have a high risk of extinction in medium term like the African Elephant. The near threatened species are species that may be threatened in near future like the Magellanic Penguin. The last category of endangered species is those of the least concern which are the species with no immediate threat to survival of species like the Bald Eagle.
Scientist feel that the three in the middle (Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable) are threatened. Scientists made a list of these three categories called the red list. All of the animals on the red list are protected by law. In May of 2000 there were 1789 total species on the red list protected worldwide. The protected animals numbered 1051 and the protected plants numbered 738 (Defenders of Wildlife). There are still a lot of animals world-wide that still have not been classified into the above categories.
To assess the conservation status of a species scientist must know the change in population (increase or decrease), the percent of breeding success and the known threats. To classify species into these groups scientists and researchers need the funding, time to study the species in the field, and people to help. Realizing that animal, plant and insect populations were decreasing worldwide, scientists came together at the first major international conference in 1972 called the Stockholm Conference. Of the attending countries 96 percent established environmental protection agency’s (EPA).
These were to be government funded agencies to study the wildlife and habitats in their countries. A few examples are the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US Fish & Wildlife. The largest agency today is the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This agency consists of 200 government agencies, 800 conservation related organizations, and 11,000 Scientists and experts in over 160 different countries (Audesirk 586). Afterwards in 1973 congress passed the Endangered Species Act which stated: Authorizes the determination and listing of species. Endangered or Threatened) Prohibits unauthorized taking, possession, sale, and transport of Endangered Species. Provides authority to acquire land for conservation of listed species. Authorizes establishment BLM and for US Fish & Wildlife. Authorizes civil and criminal penalties for violating acts. Authorizes payment and rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction for violation of this act, (Defenders of Wildlife ). Until recently the general public has never really paid much attention to the impact they have on the environment.
New York Harbor has been one of the busiest and dirtiest harbors in the United States since the early 1900’s. Until the mid-1980’s it was dumped in two places of the coast of New Jersey called the “Mud Dump” and the “Twelve Mile Sewage Sledge. ” In March of 1987 seven hundred and fifty Bottlenose Dolphins washed ashore along the eastern sea coast. The Dolphin exhibited respiratory trouble and had lesions along their bodies. Scientists didn’t know how to explain this so they tested the water and traced the problem to these areas.
In the Mud Dump scientist found enough dredge materials from the harbor to fill three World Trade Center towers for each year since 1983. In the Twelve Mile Sewage Sledge scientists found 166 billion pounds of wet sludge in 80 feet of water (Caldara 34). That could be spread out over the whole state of Wyoming. After the reports were out this outrage threw Endangered Species and Conservation into the public eye. People had no idea this amount of abuse and destruction was happening to the Earth. In September of 2011, there are 20,123 total endangered species on the red list worldwide.
There are 10,801 protected animals and 9,322 protected plants (Defenders of Wildlife). Although things have been done to address this problem many people are left wondering are they too late to save the animals. Species on the red list have grown to ten times the number on the red list of endangered species in May of 2000. Over the last 500 years the extinction rate has been one species per year. Without changes being made all that is left to wonder is what is the next Endanger Species to become extinct? (word count is 913) Work Cited Acherman, Diane.