Sea Turtle Extinction
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, almost “all species of sea turtle are classified as endangered as a result of poaching and exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear.”
Some of the significant threats to sea turtle existence include:
- Ocean Pollution
Oceans polluted with plastic (coined by scientists as ‘plastic soup’) are polluted with plastic pieces of all shapes and sizes (large, micro and nanoplastics). Marine life ingests these tiny plastic particles, mistaking them for food, resulting in adverse health effects right along the food chain.
- Climate Change
Climate change affects turtle breeding and nesting habitats in the form of fluctuating sand temperatures, which disrupts the birth and sex ratios of new turtles.
Fish depletion as a result of large scale fisheries, trawls and fishnets catching fish severely disrupt fish ecosystems and cause contribute to sea turtle extinction. Turtles may also choke on nets while trying to pass through.
- Exploitation & Poaching
As mentioned above, sea turtles are also depleting as a result of illegal poaching activities. Such activities look to sell on the turtles as either food or to use turtle shells. Poachers can make good money on sea turtles as a result of their scarcity.
Bees play a vital role in our ecosystem as a result of their capabilities to help pollinate crops such as apples, tomatoes, broccoli and melons. According to honeylove.org, “bees pollinate 80% of the world’s plants and approximately 90 different food crops. One out of every three or four bites of food that you eat is thanks to bees.”
Despite the environmental importance of bees, research conducted by The University of Ottawa concluded that bumble bee populations are reducing at “rates consistent with mass extinction.”
Research revealed that fewer bumble bees operating within our ecosystems would result in significantly less diversity in terms of crop production and availability. The same research highlighted that many bee species could become extinct within a few decades.
Contributors to the National Geographic also highlighted the reality of losing “vital pollinators, due in part to temperature extremes and fluctuations”, and how these affects will have “dire consequences for ecosystems and agriculture.”
Here are some tips that you can do to help increase bee populations:
- Avoid using garden chemicals (specifically those harmful to bees)
- Join the Bee-Safe Program to help protect bees
- Provide more trees for bees
- Avoid weeding your garden for plants such as dandelion since they are an excellent source of nutrition for bees
Polar Bear Extinction
In 2019, the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group conducted research examining polar bear populations globally. This research revealed that, over the past decade, many of the 19 polar bear subpopulations (globally) have seen a further decline in population.
These 19 subpopulations of polar bears equate to around 26,000 polar bears worldwide, with the Canadian Arctic region accounting for around 66% of polar bears’ residency, according to Péter K. Molnár.
As greenhouse gasses continue to pollute the environment, climates will continue to rise and almost certainly lead to the extinction of existing polar bear habitats. Polar bears will have to relocate to higher altitudes where climates are cooler, significantly reducing the number of existing polar bear subpopulations.
The mothers of newborn cubs won’t have enough body fat necessary to produce milk to feed their cubs. Without milk, cubs won’t survive the warmer seasons of the year due to starvation.
Other direct examples of climate related stress caused on polar bears include polar bears being subjected to longer fasting periods as a result of food scarcity. As ice continues to melt, polar bears are starved of food resources that would normally be available to them, forcing them to find alternative food supplies, often further inland.
Tiger & Cheetah Breed Extinction
All tiger subspecies are listed as an endangered species on The List Of Endangered & Threatened Wildlife. The population of wild tigers is estimated at approximately 3900. India has more tigers than any other country in the world.
In India alone, the number of wild tigers is now estimated to be between 2,600 and 3,300, almost three-quarters of the global population.
Over a period of just over 80 years, three of the nine tiger subspecies have become extinct, significantly reducing the global tiger population.
Extinct tiger subspecies include:
- The Bali Tiger
- The Javan Tiger
- The Caspian Tiger
Human activities are the main cause for the decline in tiger population. These activities occur indirectly in the form of climate change stress and directly in the form of hunting and the encroachment of habitat.
It is estimated that there are only 7,100 cheetahs still in existence globally today. Nature’s fastest land animals are in danger of extinction as a result of a loss of habitat driven by human activities (such as urban development). Around 91% of the cheetah population that once existed is now extinct.
According to the World Wildlife Day, around 79% of all remaining cheetah populations contain less than 100 individuals. Cheetahs are also frequently killed or captured by farmers, another contributing factor to their extinction. The IUCN SSC (Cat Specialist Group) helps with cheetah ecology and conservation.
Dolphins belong to a mammal group categorized as “Cetacea”, which includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises. There are approximately 36 remaining species of dolphins (34 of which are thought to be “severely endangered”).
However it is important to note that the classification of dolphin species is complex and the numbers can often fluctuate due to species reclassification. One species of dolphin has already become extinct (The Yangtze River dolphin).
Other factors that lead to dolphin extinction are fishing consequences (fishing nets causing harm / danger), human captivity, water pollution (such as microplastics) and also climatic stress that results in the disruption of dolphin habitats and ecosystems.
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