There are many trillions of living creatures, and millions ofdifferent kinds of animals and plants share our planet (pg 46, Savage). Each Kind, or species, is special and unique.
But, some of these speciesare in danger of disappearing forever, just as the passenger pigeon did. When the last member of a species disappears, that species is said to beextinct. Never again will there be another creature of that type on theplanet for eternity. In the following essay it will be proven that CanadianWildlife is becoming endangered due to the actions of man.
Our Country was once filled with wildlife, and in the past, peoplehunted without worrying about the future. It seemed as though there was anunlimited amount of wildlife to be found. But overhunting has changed thisand caused the extinction of many species. Canadian people of the past thought that if you protected animals fromhunting, that would be enough.Order now
Today we now know that we must also protectthere habitats. This is where they find food, water, shelter, and a placeto have their young. Even if they are not hunted, animals will die out ifthese necessities cannot be met. In this century, loss of habitat has been one of the main caused ofextinction (pg 8, Silverstein). People share the country and the planetwith all the other creatures that live here.
As human population grows,people spread out into areas that once were wild, and they compete withanimals for living space. Mort times than not the animals lose in thisbattle. People cut down forests for lumber, clear fields for farms, and fillswamps to build towns, highways, and factories. Land can also be clearedfor such things as mineral extraction.
Wild animals get fenced out fromareas that were once their homes. Larger animals are affected the worstbecause they need large open spaces, and when these areas shrink it is muchmore difficult to find food, and live without the fear of man. When a small lot of land is cleared for a home, not much is affected. When a whole city is built in what was once a wild area, an entire speciesof animal may be endangered.
People often see wild animals as a nuisanceand drive them away into the remaining wildland. But, as the Canada’swildland disappears, there will be fewer places for the wildlife to go. Even habitats that are left intact and not disturbed by humanintervention, may infact be unsafe for wildlife because of pollution. Oilspills pollute the oceans and injure or kill water mammals and birds. Whenfarmers spray their crops with pesticides to keep insects from eating theircrops, many animals are harmed as well. Industries send out chemicalsinto the air, water, and land, with no concern about what it may be doingto the environment.
Garbage dumps leak toxic chemicals into neighbouringlakes and rivers, also affecting birds and fish. The garbage that is dumpedstraight into the ocean poisons wildlife severely. Also, animals maymistake plastics and styrofoam for food or become strangled by plasticsix-pack holders. Not all animals environments are poisoned by accident.
Some rancher,for example, have put out poison for coyotes and wolves because theseanimals sometimes kill there cattle or sheep. People and industries mustbe more aware of what they are doing to the environment and how they affectthe wildlife in general. Until recently, most people believed that the earth and everything onit belonged to humans and that we could do whatever we wa nted with any ofthe creatures that shared our planet. Human activities have driven manyspecies to the verge of extinction, but there have been some encouragingexamples of how society can save endangered animals. One of these is theAmerican bison, or buffalo.
The buffalo once was the symbol of the American wilderness. These hugeanimals roamed the plains, grazing in enormous herds. There were 30 millionbuffalo in the West in the 1860’s. But, by 1883, hunters had killed allbut 1,00 of them (pg 14, Silverstein).
Fortunately, several people hadcaptured some buffalo to raise in captivity. By 1890, 600 of the 700remaining buffalo were in private hands. Growing numbers of people becameconcerned that with so few buffalo left they could soon become extinct. There are many ways that people, working through government and otherorganizations, can help save our wildlife. One is to pass laws thatprevent endangered animals from being killed or taken from their naturalhabitats. Another is to set up parks, refuges, and preserves where thewild habitat is kept intact so that the creatures living on it will remainundisturbed.
Today there are more that 400 National Wildlife Refuges inCanada and 3,500 wildlife parks and refuges around the world (pg 16,Silverstein). The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) was a giant step towardhelping endangered animals (defined as animals that are in danger ofbecoming extinct) as well as threatened animals (those that may becomeendangered if they are not protected)in Canada and around the world. Itestablished a program that brings together the federal government, thestates, conservation groups, individuals, business and industry, andforeign governments in a cooperative effort to save endangered wildlife. The ESA restricts the killing, collection, or harming of endangeredand threatened animals and makes it illegal to buy or sell, imports orexport them without special permission.
Violators can face a fine of up to$20,000 (pg 56, Silverstein). The habitat of endangered species (the land, water, and air thatmembers of the species need for survival, including places where the liveand breed) is also protected under the act. Each year habitats ofendangered species are bought up with money from the Land and WaterConservation Fund (pg 120, Savage). The endangered and threatened species are listed by the U. S Fish andWildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Candidates aresubmitted by anyone concerned about a species of animal or plant, andinformation has to be gathered to support the claim that the species areendangered ( pg 37, Taylor). There are more that 1,117 plant and animal species on the Endangeredand Threatened Wildlife and Plants list (Pg 65, Silverstein). Each yearabout fifty more species are added. More that 4,000 additional species arecurrently waiting to be added to the list (pg 65, Silverstein).
The casefor them may be just as convincing, but limited manpower and funding havekept them from being processed for protected status. Unfortunately, somespecies cannot wait for all the red tape. According to the Fish andWildlife Service, 300 species waiting to be put on the list may have becomeextinct before they could be listed (pg 76, Taylor). When the ESA program was set up, the goal was to re- establishendangered species in the wild so they could be removed from the list. Fewof these species have recovered enough thought to remove them from thelist. After a species is placed on the endangered or threatened list, thenest step is to determine a recovery plan that will help increase thenumber of animals or plants.
Measures include buying more land to preservetheir habitats or breeding the species in captivity so they can bereleased. But setting up effective recovery plans takes a lot of time andmoney, and only one-third of the species on the list even have recoveryplans. Activist groups and concerned citizens have halted many developmentprojects around the nation to preserve wildlife habitats. But often thebitterness is just increased on both sides of the political battle, and thevictory for wildlife is only temporary. Realistic and workable solutionsusually involve some compromises on both sides. When people benefit byallowing a threatened or endangered animal to prosper, both sides win alonger-lasting victory.
Compromises like this help make re- introductionprograms successful. Scientists are quick to remind us that endangered animals may be avaluable resource in the future. When wildlife species are threatened orwiped out, the whole world loses. People in Canada and many other countriesare concerned not only about their own endangered animals but also aboutthose in developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America. Many species that share our world face frightening threats that mayultimately lead to their extinction. But, as we have seen, the picture isnot all bleak.
Today there are more opportunities than ever before forcaring people to help in the fight to save endangered wildlife. With manyanimals being brought back from the brink and new improved recoveryprograms, the animals have a much better shot at survival than they wouldhave a decade ago. BibliographySavage Candace, On The Brink: Endangered Species in Canada. Western Producer Prairie Books, Saskatoon, Sask. 1989.Silverstein Robert, Saving Endangered Species.Enslow Publishers, inc, 1993Taylor Dave, Endangered SpeciesCrabtree Publishing Company,1992