Monday, October 4, 2010

Endangered Species

On World Animal Day 2010, it is fitting that we acknowledge the long list of endangered species* that are at risk of becoming extinct due to human habitation and the changing environment.

Animals and plant life are at risk in largely due to humans. As human populations have grown in the last 150 years we have seen much higher rates of extinction. These rates are commonly associated with the destruction of habitat attributable to human activity.

These activities include over population and overbuilding, over exploitation of the species by hunting, illegal wildlife trade, and pollution.

We need to see legislation and building laws which protect sensitive habitats. Natural preserves are another way of protecting pockets of land for creatures to live in, but our interdependent ecosystems do not recognize park boundaries and every creature on earth has a role in the environment.

There are a total of 1,589,361 known plant and animal species on planet earth. The 59,811 vertebrate animals include 5,416 mammals, 9,956 birds, 8,240 reptiles, and 6,199 amphibians. The 1,203,375 invertebrate animals, include 950,000 insects, 81,000 molluscs, 40,000 crustaceans, 2,175 corals and 130,200 others.

There are a total of 297,326 plants, 980 conifers, 13,025 ferns and horsetails, 15,000 mosses, 9,671 red and green algae, 10,000 lichens, 16,000 mushrooms, 2,849 brown algae and 28,849 others.

Unfortunately, there is also a long list of endangered plants and animals. (See the list of endangered species by country, state or region or see, a complete list of endangered species, and a complete list of endangered plants.

These are the endangered species amongst the roughly two million species we know about, however, there an estimated nine million species yet to be discovered by science. Sadly many of these species will go extinct before we even acknowledge they exist.

For more information see world animals and endangered species.

*Endangered Species Day is celebrated in USA on the Third Friday of May, it is a celebration of wildlife and wild places, it was started in 2006 by the US Congress to recognize the national conservation effort to protect endangered species and their habitats.

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