Humans are destructive. Many of us do not think about how our actions affect the world around us. We act like we are the only ones on this planet. We go around polluting and destroying our world with no regard for our actions. The things that live in the wild are paying the price for it. Every day that passes there is another animal or plant that is placed on an endangered list. This is happening at an alarming rate. Because of man’s desire to expand and conquer their surroundings, there are animals and plants that are on the brink of extinction. They may not be around for our kids and future generations to enjoy if something is not done about it now. This problem has been going on for hundreds of years. It is because of our ignorance that we have this problem today, and we now have to double our efforts to prevent more animals and plants from disappearing forever.
How have these species come to the point of becoming endangered or extinct? What can we do to save the endangered species that are near extinction? Can we actually do anything to save these species, or is it a lost cause? Why should I care?
All of these questions occurred to me recently when I was vacationing in Walt Disney World. My cousins and I visited Animal Kingdom, and it was here that I encountered the answers to my questions and learned some horrible truths behind what humans have done to create such a big problem in our world today. It all started when I walked into Animal Kingdom’s huge entrance, consisting of a long chain of arches covered with vines and other green, exotic plants. I was told that many of the vines like the ones thriving on the arches are endangered of becoming extinct due to humans illegally taking them to sell in the Black Market. They are desired for their beautiful flowers and unique appearance. That saddens me. What saddens me even more is what I discovered deep within the park, when I took a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Throughout the tour across 110 acres of rolling savanna, we saw a variety of unique, free roaming animals. However, the problem with this picture is that most of these animals would not be safe in their native habitats, due to human activities. We poach these animals, have destroyed their habitats, and we often kill them indirectly through the waste products we carelessly dump into their environments. I learned that many of these incredible animals do not even exist in the wild anymore because our own human actions have decided their fate.
I also explored the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in the park. We encountered giant anteaters, gorillas, underwater hippos, tigers, and countless others. It was another shocking blow to learn the history of many of the animals featured in the exhibits, as told by an animal trainer. I was dismayed to learn that the Bengal and Siberian tigers are just two examples of animals that are on the brink of extinction in the wild. She told us that there are more tigers in captivity than in the wild today!
Most people do not know the answer to many of these questions I have asked myself. Although this subject gets a great deal of attention from environmental groups and agencies, the global community generally ignores it. Many people feel compelled to help or contribute; yet few seldom carry out their intentions. This is a very serious subject that needs to receive immediate and full attention from the general public, and I know many others like myself who want something to be done soon to address this big issue. Only people like us can truly make a difference. The concept of extinction doesn’t seem to be fully understood by many people. Once animals and plants are gone, they’re gone for good. There is no returning from extinction. If we continue at the present rate, we could lose at least one bird or mammal species per year by the year 2020.
The causes of many species becoming endangered and extinct are many and varied.