Species have been dying out since life began. In a way extinction is a part of the ecosystem. It is impossible to determine how many species have disappeared. Scientists estimate that go percent of the species that have ever lived have vanished. The rate of extinction went up during certain times in the earth’s history. It grew very much some 65 million years ago and the dinosaurs died out completely. The rate was gone up again in modern times. Since 1600 more than 200 species of mammals, birds and other creatures have vanished from the earth.
Now men are able to change the natural environment very rapidly. Many species of animals are not able to adapt to the changed conditions. They perish. This is the problem today. Such forces of change have to control to prevent extinction of wildlife.
In the past unregulated killing of wildlife caused the extinction of species. The North Atlantic Sea-bird, the auk was mercilessly killed for fish and fish bait. By 1844 it had vanished from the earth. Killing animals for hides and meat contributed largely to the extinction the gaggua, a South African Zebra. In the last century the North American bison was almost exterminated for similar reasons. Killing for commercial and food purpose continues to threaten various cats, whales, sea-turtles and certain other creatures.
Relentless killing of animals in no longer considered as hunting. Hunting in many countries now is a regulated activity. Hunting of rare species is forbidden by law. The annual number of species to be hunted is fixed by acts. This number is replaces by fresh breeding in the following season. Slaughter is not the only cause for species vanishing from the sea earth.
The dodos once thrived on the island Mauritius. Many dodos were killed for food. Yet this was not the only threat to their survivals. The worst threat came from the rats and pigs that ate away the eggs of the dodos from their nests. The dodos built their nests on the earth. Wolves and tigers would have declined in numbers even if they had not been hunted. Many men have invaded the forests and destroyed the wilderness of the habit of wolves and tigers. Destruction of habitat is the greatest threat of wildlife. The other forms of thereat are overgrazing by live stock, population of air and water deforestation, the establishment of towns and factories.
There are many ways to find out to what extent a species is endangered. The most obvious is by numbers. There are about only six enchoparakeet living on Mauritius now. Their number has come down because of the destruction of their habitats. Poaching and deforestation has reduced the number of the Javah rhinoceros to a few dozen only. There are other ways to gudge the extent of thereat to the life of a species. The Tokyo bittering a small fresh water fish lives in the streams. There are about a thousand of them living now. The city is expanding. More and more land is needed for building purpose. Streams are being filed up with sand, stone and soil. Overcrowding has caused air and air pollution. The state of affairs has endangered the bettering.
International agreements play a major role in protecting imperiled wildlife. Many countries have agreed to prohibit trade the hides of vanishing species such as the cheetah and the snow leopard. Another international agreement attempts to regulate the hunting of whales.
Private organizations are working to protect wildlife. The world wildlife Fund and the International union for the conservation of nature and natural Resources are some such organisation. They are establishing parks and reservations. They are breeding wild animals in captivity. They are educating the public. Private groups helped the government of Peru establish a reserve in the Ades for the vicuna. Protection from poachers and maintenance of their habitat increased the number of the species. They were sent to other parts of the country. Not there are many vicunas. The vicuna wool is sold for the benefit of the local people.
People can help protect wildlife by keeping bird feeding station, confining the family dog at night and putting a bell on the cat to warn the birds of its approach. They can refuse to buy products made from rare animals. They can prevent extinction by becoming aware of events that affect wildlife. They can put pressure on the government to make and enforce sound conservation laws. They can join with others and support the organizations devoted to the preservation of nature and wildlife.