Habitat fragmentation breaks up a continuous tract of habitat, often dividing large wildlife populations into several smaller ones. Examples of habitat loss include deforestation, agricultural expansion, and urbanization. Habitat destruction and fragmentation affect wildlife because the resources available to wildlife are reduced. Moreover, destruction and fragmentation create smaller habitats.
Smaller habitats support smaller populations, and smaller populations are more likely to go extinct. Overexploitation is the harvesting of animals and plants at a rate that's faster than the species's ability to recover. While often associated with overfishing, overexploitation can apply to many groups including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and plants.
Poaching for illegal wildlife trading is a major threat to certain species, particularly endangered ones whose status make them economically valuable. Culling is the deliberate and selective killing of wildlife by governments for various purposes. An example of this is shark culling , in which "shark control" programs in Queensland and New South Wales in Australia have killed thousands of sharks , as well as turtles , dolphins , whales , and other marine life.
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A wide range of pollutants negatively impact wildlife health. For some pollutants, simple exposure is enough to do damage e. For others, its through inhaling e. Pollutants affect different species in different ways so a pollutant that is bad for one might not affect another. Present day climate change is a man-made phenomenon currently changing Earth's environmental conditions.
It's related to some of the aforementioned threats to wildlife like habitat destruction and pollution. Rising temperatures, melting ice sheets, changes in precipitation patterns, severe droughts , more frequent heat waves , storm intensification, and rising sea levels are some of the effects of climate change. Meanwhile, a warming climate, fluctuating precipitation, and changing weather patterns will impact species ranges.
Overall, the effects of climate change increase stress on ecosystems, and species unable to cope with rapidly changing conditions will go extinct. It's estimated that, because of human activities, current species extinction rates are about times greater than the background extinction rate the 'normal' extinction rate that occurs without additional influence. A UN report assessing global biodiversity extrapolated IUCN data to all species and estimated that 1 million species worldwide could face extinction. Deciding which species to conserve is a function of how close to extinction a species is, whether the species is crucial to the ecosystem it resides in, and how much we care about it.
The leatherback sea turtle Dermochelys coriacea is the largest turtle in the world, is the only turtle without a hard shell, and is endangered. The leatherback sea turtle faces numerous threats including being caught as bycatch , harvest of its eggs, loss of nesting habitats, and marine pollution.
Habitat conservation is the practice of protecting a habitat in order to protect the species within it. The latter is often true of species living in biodiversity hotspots , which are areas of the world with an exceptionally high concentration of endemic species species found nowhere else in the world. Habitat conservation is usually carried out by setting aside protected areas like national parks or nature reserves. Even when an area isn't made into a park or reserve, it can still be monitored and maintained.
The red-cockaded woodpecker Picoides borealis is an endangered bird in the southeastern US.
Today, it is a rare habitat as fires have become rare and many pine forests have been cut down for agriculture and is commonly found on land occupied by US military bases, where pine forests are kept for military training purposes and occasional bombings also for training set fires that maintain pine savannas. In an effort to increase woodpecker numbers, artificial cavities essentially birdhouses planted within tree trunks were installed to give woodpeckers a place to live.
An active effort is made by the US military and workers to maintain this rare habitat used by red-cockaded woodpeckers. Conservation genetics studies genetic phenomena that impact the conservation of a species.
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Most conservation efforts focus on ensuring population growth but genetic diversity also greatly affect species survival. High genetic diversity increases survival because it means greater capacity to adapt to future environmental changes. Though not always the case, certain species are under threat because they have very low genetic diversity.
As such, the best conservation action would be to restore their genetic diversity. The Florida panther is a subspecies of puma specifically Puma concolor coryi that resides in the state of Florida and is currently endangered. In the early s, only a single population with individuals were left. The population had very low genetic diversity, was highly inbred, and suffered from several genetic issues including kinked tails, cardiac defects, and low fertility.
The goal was to increase genetic diversity by introducing genes from a different, unrelated puma population. By , the Florida panther population had tripled and offspring between Florida and Texas individuals had higher fertility and less genetic problems. In , the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimated there were adult Florida panthers and in , there were signs that the population's range was expanding within Florida.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, wildlife conservation in the US gets a majority of its funding through appropriations from the federal budget, annual federal and state grants, and financial efforts from programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program , Wetlands Reserve Program and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. In the late s, as the public became dissatisfied with government environmental conservation efforts, people began supporting private sector conservation efforts which included several non-governmental organizations NGOs.
Many NGOs exist to actively promote, or be involved with, wildlife conservation:. Storing reproductive organs, such as ovaries and testes is also getting common with the advancement in science and technology. If we talk about what benefits the cross-bred varieties of plant and animal species can have, there are various. Cross breeding has also proved to be highly beneficial in dairy cattle with improved genetic species yielding more milk, showcasing better health and fertility.
Have you ever wondered where you will go for wildlife safaris , nature photography and bird watching if there are no forests? Where will you go fishing and angling if no fishes are left in lakes and rivers or in the worst case scenario, these water bodies disappear due to deforestation resulting in warmer climates? If you have never thought about these questions earlier, this is the right time to think about them as forests, wildlife, oceans, rivers and lakes are under major threat. With humans disturbing nature at such as fast pace, it would not be long when we will have only limited options for recreation activities in the lap of Mother Nature.
Wildlife also plays an important role in improving the economy of the country. With influx of tourists, seasonal job opportunities for localites also increases significantly that again adds as a contributing factor to improved GDP. It is for this reason, many countries are today, promoting wildlife tourism even if they have to go to an extent of creating artificial habitats by importing flora and fauna from countries rich in these resources.
Singapore is one such great example where the government has taken few major and unconventional steps of creating and maintaining the wildlife just to promote tourism in their country. For many, wildlife is the source of income and provides them with their daily bread and butter.
Consider the simple case of fishermen who greatly rely for their income on their daily catches or the farmers who heavily depend on a healthy crop yield for their livelihood.
Similarly, many industries such as textile, paper, timber and rubber highly depend for their revenue on wildlife. Consider another common case of hotels and resorts sitting near wildlife parks.
These will only earn if the park and its animals remain conserved and protected thereby, attracting tourists staying over in their resorts, which would in turn be contributing to their revenues. There are many other people employed in wildlife based ventures such as the ones supplying fishing gears, snorkelling and scuba-diving equipment, binoculars for bird-watching, porters, guides, drivers, mahouts the list is endless , who are benefited by wildlife tourism. There is a great market across the world for exotic animal products such as leather bags, belts, fur jackets, ivory crafts and jewellery.
People working in these trades also have a significant dependency on wildlife. So, if one day, forests, animals, lakes, oceans and birds go missing from the earth, it will not only have an impact on the livelihoods of these people who are directly dependent on wildlife industry but, it will also have a cascading effect on every human being. Have you ever thought from where will we get fruits, vegetables, grains, wood, clothes, paper that are few of the basic necessities for a human being to survive on earth? Obviously, you do and everybody does. So, wildlife and nature obviously have an important role in imparting beautiful aesthetics to our planet.
Forests, rivers, oceans, birds and animals; all contribute in beautifying the earth in a major way. If there are no forests, rivers and animals or birds, earth would turn into a barren land with no traces of life. Therefore, if you want to live in a place which is bustling with life, colours and happiness, save wildlife and save nature NOW! Wildlife also has an important role to play in different cultures.
Many animal and plant species actually represent the cultural backbone of the community. For instance, cow is revered as mother in Hindus and therefore, holds a significant religious value. Similarly hawks and eagles are considered to be sacred in Native American culture.
If these cultural associations with wildlife would not have been formed by our fore-fore ancestors, some of these species that greatly contribute to human well-being on earth, would have got extinct centuries back. Besides the above few reasons, keeping pollution at bay, protecting soil from erosion, maintaining a healthy weather and climate; all these are some great reasons for saving the wildlife which we all have been taught in schools from day one.
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Today, almost all the wildlife authorities across different countries are facing illicit acts of poaching and killing of animals by smugglers for animal skins, tusks and horns. What more? When there are no animals, there would be no forests and no forests means soil erosion, warm weather, drying up of lakes and rivers, no rains and hence, no crops and vegetation.
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This all is a cascading effect which every human needs to realize now. The wildlife authorities should come forward with stringent plans of minimising human interference in the core forest areas and effective wildlife tourism policies should be implemented so that illegal activities can be effectively controlled.
Plus, for us as individuals we should start working towards taking small steps from our homes; minimize the use of electronic equipment such as air-conditioners that contribute towards global warming, pool vehicles while commuting so that there is less pollution and less harm to the ozone layer and save water.
Even if we start contributing our bits to the environment and nature, it would come back to us for our good in future. From the mesmerizing land of Garhwal, Pawan Kotiyal is a well-travelled writer. With a strong belief in living each moment in adventure; Pawan likes to set out on difficult treks and rafting expeditions. He has keen interest in nature photography and writing informative blogs on travel and wildlife conservation. Recommended Tours. For recreation Have you ever wondered where you will go for wildlife safaris , nature photography and bird watching if there are no forests?