Endangered and extinct animal species
Did you know that along with the famous Red Book, there is Black? This is a truly sad list, in which already extinct species of animals and plants are listed. And if we have the hope (albeit weak) to preserve and even restore the size of the populations from the Red Book, then we are no longer able to remove any species from the Black List. But how can we know that some animal has become extinct, if we and none of our contemporaries have seen it? According to the bones found by paleontologists? But many of the fossil animals and plants are victims of their inability to changing conditions, in a sense - the dead end of evolution. Can dinosaurs, mastodons and mammoths be added to the Black Book? It turns out no. Although these types of animals have already become extinct. On the Red and Black Books of the world and Russia, read this article.
Man and nature to the New Time: a delicate balance
Ancient people, especially in the Ice Age, lived by hunting. But, nevertheless, they did not bring significant damage to nature.There were many animals, the weapons of the people remained too imperfect to bring rich trophies or catch. Yes, and homo sapiens as a species was then scarce. People who lived at the dawn of civilization, tried to adapt to natural conditions, and not modify them to fit their needs. They did not plow the land, did not cut down forests and did not drain the swamps. They simply hunted, as do wolves, lions and crocodiles. Perhaps the mammoths disappeared at the end of the ice age due to man’s fault. But they are not in the Black Book. Because there are only those extinct species of animals and plants that disappeared after 1500 years. In the Middle Ages, people began to think about reducing the population of animals that were fishing. Seniors and kings began to prohibit hunting in their forests. But such measures were taken for the sake of hunting, only future, when the number of game in the forest will be restored. But, in principle, until New Time nothing threatened the existing populations.
Why is 1500 the key date?
Before the discovery of America, and then of Australia, the Europeans had no idea of the existence of many species of animals and plants. Travelers, who first set foot on new lands, took notes and sketches of flowers, trees, birds and animals unseen before.But, unfortunately, along with the Europeans, a terrible danger came to a tropical paradise. Whole populations began to disappear. And this trend has not disappeared now. Why do animal species die? People with firearms can kill more game. But not only hunting is to blame for everything. Often the colonists brought with them the so-called aggressive species of European animals. They either exterminated endemics, or claimed their food supply. Europeans began to actively develop new territories - first of all, to cut down forests, drain marshes, plow lands. This economic activity, people have deprived endemic habitual habitats. The first victims were the species that existed in Australia and New Zealand. There were simply no predators on the Green Continent and the archipelago. As a result of evolution, many species of birds appeared that have forgotten how to fly. They became easy prey for people, dogs and cats. So, what happened to the year 1500 with the wildlife of the New World - we do not know for certain. But what happened later is only our fault.
Conservation of endangered animal species
People realized the danger only in the nineteenth century.Attempts were made to restore some species, but they were clumsy. The animals were bred in captivity, and a pair of individuals were crossed, and then their children. As a result, such offspring was not viable. So, the last wandering pigeon (named Martha) died at the zoo in 1914. Zoologist Gerald Darrell has changed the situation. He turned the menageries into zoos, where animals were kept in an environment close to the natural one. For successful resumption of the species, several pairs of unrelated individuals are needed. After there are a lot of them, you can already think about how to release some of them into their natural habitat. And only after they successfully adapt, will demonstrate the ability to independently obtain food and give healthy offspring, we can hope for the restoration of the species. However, even then these animals are considered “on the verge of extinction” or “vulnerable.”
Symbols of threatened species
But as for the defendants in the Black List, we can only hope that the last representatives of the disappeared population have become more cautious and are hiding somewhere in the wilds of the Amazon basin or in the depths of the oceans.Geneticists have an idea to reanimate extinct animal species by implanting their preserved DNA into an egg cell of a female of a similar type. However, so far such attempts have not been successful. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the beginning of the current millennium summed up the sad result: over the last five hundred years, eight hundred forty-four plant and animal species have disappeared from the face of the earth. In the list of the Union they are classified by the abbreviation EX (Extinct). These are figures of the so-called Black Book, which lists the species that have disappeared after the death of the last individual. This does not include animals and plants, extinct before the year 1500, - mammoths, dinosaurs. The list of species that have disappeared in the New Time is published on the first page of the Red Books - the world, continent, region, and country. Further, animals and plants are classified according to risk. Topping this list is EW (Extinct in the Wild). The abbreviation means that one or two individuals still live in some zoos of the world, but this species is no longer found in the wild. Following are CR (on the verge of extinction), EN (endangered), VU - vulnerable. The classification is assigned depending on the number of individuals and how preserved the territory of natural habitat.The list closes CD (species that depend on conservation efforts), NT (close to vulnerable) and LC (under a small threat).
Is salvation possible?
The Red Book is not just a long list of endangered plant and animal species. This is the motivation of all mankind to apply maximum efforts in order to preserve the invaluable gene pool of the planet. Extinct animal species - a photo of a sea cow, a stuffed animal of the last Karolinsky parrot who died in 1918 and other testimonies - reproach us. But is it possible to save populations that are on the verge of extinction? Sometimes yes. We can give an example of the Australian koalas, bison, as well as pandas.
In some countries, some species is considered destroyed, while in others there are still a few dozen or even hundreds of individuals. This is the situation with ordinary brown bears in France. First, animals are raised in zoos. Then transferred to the reserves. When they become quite a lot, they are resettled in their natural habitat. The main thing is not to delay salvation. Now in the world there are two turtles of the species Rafetus vietnamensis. But, judging by the fact that the female lays unfertilized eggs, her gentleman can no longer leave offspring.
Black book of the world
The very first land left the animals that lived on isolated islands, where there were no predators. As early as 1546, the rodents Plagiodontia ipnaeum and Quemisia gravis, endemics of the island of Haiti, disappeared. The reason for this was the destruction of natural habitats, as well as the introduction of ordinary ship rats, which occupied the ecological niche of animals. A century later, the Black Book, which describes extinct animal species, was supplemented by a blue-and-yellow macaw and a dodo dodo. Man caused the greatest harm to nature in the nineteenth century. There are dozens of species that have disappeared forever. This and the sea cow, and owls Mascarenotus, and Steller cormorant and many others. Particularly worth remembering quagga. These solids, similar to zebra, lived in South Africa and were tamed by man. In fact, this is the only pet that has become extinct. Quaggs had a very sensitive ear and were used to guard the herds. But the Boers exterminated these animals for their hides. In 1878, the last quagga was killed.
Black Book of the Russian Federation
Fortunately, Russia has huge areas, and its Asian part is almost not mastered. Therefore, extinct animal species in the country are practically absent.However, as a result of human activities, some plants disappeared forever. People actively drain marshes, develop floodplain meadows in floodplains. And if in the forests the flora is preserved, then this cannot be said of meadow vegetation. The black book of Russia is compiled by region. So, in the European part of the country you will no longer meet the stonewall cladonia, Norwegian astragalus, Barguzin wormwood. Beyond the Urals, heather can not be found, a beautiful feather grass, black alder and sulcate onion. But the Volga fossil (Potentilla volgarica) appears in two Black Books at once - Russia and the world.
Red Book of the Planet
What does the International Council for the Conservation of Nature mean by assigning EN (Endangered) to any species? This means that such organisms face complete extinction. Why and on what basis does the IUCN draw such a conclusion? Firstly, when representatives of this species remain critically few, and secondly, when the habitats of these organisms are at risk. Now, when there is a harsh struggle against poaching, the second reason prevails. Many people respond to the call of environmentalists to save orangutans or koalas,but not many people understand that the survival of these species is directly related to the reservation of virgin forests and the provision of these animals with adequate food supply. Who is threatened and who cares about the Red Book? Endangered animal species, according to IUCN's disappointing statistics, account for 40 percent of all currently known organisms. The genetic wealth of our planet is depleting. The rate of extinction is not slowing, but growing. Most species have entered the Black Book only in the last 150 years.
Under the critical threat of extinction
Here we will name only 10 endangered animal species on the planet. This is a grizzly. The huge bear was once driven from Alaska to Mexico. Now there are 50 thousand individuals in Canada and the United States. This species appears in the Black Book of Mexico. The western gorilla disappears at a catastrophic speed. Over the past twenty years, the number of these primates has decreased by 45 percent. In addition to poaching and habitat destruction (deforestation), the Ebola virus, to which gorillas are extremely susceptible, is a huge risk factor. The Sumatran and Bornean orangutans occupy the third and fourth positions.Despite all efforts to keep small populations in national parks, the number of animals over the past 60 years has decreased by 80 and 50 percent, respectively. The risk factor is deforestation and catching of cubs for resale. Black and Javanese rhinos were under critical threat of extinction due to human superstitions. All efforts by the authorities to protect species from poaching are ineffective. Since the horn of animals in Chinese medicine is recognized as an aphrodisiac, its value on the black market is more than gold. Chimpanzees, like the gorillas, are subject to fatal human ailments. These are also endangered animal species. The list includes the African elephant (in the Black Books of the Gambia, Burundi and Mauritania), the Galapagos sea lion and the Grevy's zebra.
Endangered animal species in Russia
The government is taking a number of measures to restore the number of Amur tigers. However, poaching and animal migration to China does not reveal the true number of individuals. Przhevalsky's horse was saved from extinction, as well as bison and other endangered species in Russia ,. As for the Far Eastern leopard, this species is still under critical threat of extinction.
Why is species conservation important?
There are four reasons for concern.The genetic wealth of our planet is depleting by 1-5 species per day! This, in addition to moral problems, generates destabilization of ecosystems. The extinction of one species threatens the existence of others. Rare and endangered species of animals - is an indispensable genetic material. In the annual wormwood, for example, contains a substance from which to make a drug for malaria. Disappear this plant, and humanity may face a pandemic of this terrible disease. When a species disappears, it can lead to uncontrolled growth of other populations (including pests).