Extinction is supposedly a natural phenomenon. A species die out when they fail to evolve and adapt to natural circumstances in their environment. For example, nearly all dinosaur species died out when a meteorite crashed into the earth. This mass extinction of dinosaur species happened because the dinosaurs failed to adapt to the rapid shift of their environment.
However, with the arrival of human species, the extinction of animal species has dramatically worsened. Humans have been the primary cause of extinction of various animal species that have been present long before us.
We put together several of the most popular wildlife extinctions. Get to know what happened exactly happened to them by reading up on this list.
The dodo bird is arguably one of the most famous wildlife that was driven to extinction. This flightless bird was led to extinction because of the arrival of European sailors. In addition to killing several hundreds of birds for food, sailors unknowingly brought with them foreign animals. These animals competed with the dodo bird for valuable resources.
The last of the dodo birds were found around the 17th century in Mauritius.
This wildlife species was native to the Australian mainland and was considered last of its kind. The Tasmanian tiger, or Tasmanian wolf, for some, is a one-of-a-kind carnivorous marsupial that feeds on small animals such as birds, kangaroos, wallabies, and other marsupials.
The Tasmanian tiger’s sudden population decline can be attributed to the excessive hunting after the arrival of European settlement. Settlers believed that the Tasmanian tiger feeds off their sheep. Thus, the massive hunting of these animals started.
While hunting undoubtedly contributed to their demise, it was sudden climate change that wiped away most of their population. Sadly, a farmer killed off the last remaining wild animal of this kind in 1930. Meanwhile, the last known Tasmanian tiger held in captivity died in 1936.
Western African Black Rhinoceros
The Western Black Rhinoceros is one of the latest casualties of excessive hunting activities. Before, there were about a million different subspecies of the black rhino living in Africa. However, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) heavily favored the use of powdered rhino horns because of its medicinal qualities. Rhino horns can treat gout, fever, and even detect poison. It easily became a status symbol for the Chinese, because of its rarity, only the rich and the famous can afford to buy it.
The demand for more rhino horns drove the poachers to hunt these black rhinos at alarming levels illegally. The population of black rhinos dropped steeply. In 2011, it was declared that the black rhino is extinct.
How many more of these animals will we allow to go extinct? Are we going to act as if it’s not our fault when all the changes on the earth’s natural surface have the trace of human intervention? The rapid pace of global warming can be blamed back to humans. The garbage swallowed by fishes and turtles in the Pacific Ocean is entirely our fault. The cruelty of some humans doesn’t seem to stop there. Various animal species are even hunted for sport. Their heads are plastered on walls for vanity.
Clearly, it seems that some humans already forgot that we have a duty and responsibility to protect the earth. It also means that we have to preserve everything that’s in it as well, including the flora and fauna that holds the ecosystem together.
Do you remember learning about the food web? Everybody on this planet is interconnected. Even if a single species is removed from that web, everyone in the food web can feel the effect of its loss.
Earth is our only home. She is our only option. It’s time for us to wake up from our dreams and do something about this alarming situation.