WHY WE NEED TO ACT NOW
On one sunny afternoon, the last two white rhinos, both female, eat and play together in Nairobi, Kenya, watched by guards while scientists think about a way to reproduce them. These poor rhinos are the only two in the world, because the species is very near to extinction. They are endangered. Endangered animals are all over the world, from the Arctic Ocean to the Amazon Rainforest.
“Now we should cherish the present,” said Ms. Yu, a brand manager in Beijing who is concerned about wildlife. “We should protect animals now and start acting, not wait until the time we have nothing.”
An endangered species is a species of animal or plant that is seriously at risk of extinction. If they are at risk and animals die, their numbers can drop from 500 to 200 and last to one and extinction. Data has shown more than 35,500 species are threatened with extinction: 28 percent of all species, 40 percent of amphibians, 26 percent of mammals, 34 percent of conifers, 14 percent of birds, 33 percent of shark and rays and 33 percent of reef corals, according to The International Union for Conservation of Nature. About 150 to 200 animals go extinct every 24 hours.
Why is this so important?
We have the ecosystem, a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. It’s like when you are building a Lego tower, when you accidently got one block wrong, it would all fall down. Same with animals: if one kind of animal becomes extinct, it means one block is put wrong. Then the whole block tower could fall down, like the whole ecosystem might collapse.
COVID-19 has made saving endangered species even more urgent, because it does not only affect us, but animals too. There was a coughing tiger in New York – tigers are endangered, and now they can spread the virus, which could lead the tiger to extinction.
We affect the environment in many ways. If we cut down trees and birds live on the trees, now they lose the habitat and they die. If a meat-eating animal found the bird and ate the bird, there would be more meat-eating animals and the birds would be extinct.
Students can help endangered animals in many ways, like going to a zoo and spreading information. Even picking up a plastic bottle, researching about how to save endangered animals, or donating money to animal welfare helps. Nene, a nine year old, said, “We should act because it is our world and we are part of it.”
“Animals are, like us, endangered species or an endangered planet, and we are the ones who are endangering them, it, and ourselves. They are innocent sufferers in a hell of our making,” said Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, an author of many books about animals. So, what are some things that are affecting the environment?
Some people guess that human population growth, loss of forest and killing a lot of animals are very harmful. So, what should we do to help them? Children and adults interviewed for this story had ideas regarding how we can learn about and help endangered animals. If we learn about the animals, we can spread the idea of conservation. Then, more people will notice how important endangered animals are. Also we should never buy anything made from endangered animals, such as shark fin or ivory products.
Right now, not enough kids know about endangered animals. We should start to pay attention to them, otherwise, the situation could get worse.
Imagine a world with no animals. When you wake up there are no birds chirping, just pollution and sandstorms. Would we like it? No. So we should care for our future very much.