Causes of Extinction of Species

The 6th Mass Extinction is Here

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TheWorldCounts, 20 May, 2014

The 6th Mass Extinction is Here

When we talk about extinctions, we need to understand that it’s not just about the disappearance of a single specie but also the effects of its disappearance to the environment that it interacts with. It’s a broad topic. Concerned groups and governments are trying to save these endangered species through breeding and preserving their habitat – but these are all temporary solutions. What we need to do is to address the root causes of extinction of species.

Extinctions have happened several times in our geological history and they were mostly caused by natural events such as comets and volcanic eruptions… some causes remain unknown. But definitely, the current dilemma of Rhinos, Tigers, Bluefin Tuna and Gorillas is unnatural. 

This 6th mass extinction is on us – Homo Sapiens.

Top Causes of Current Extinctions

Over Hunting – The ivory of elephants, the fur and organs of tigers, the deliciousness of tuna and the supposedly medicinal effect of shark’s fin are some examples of why we have over hunted these animals to the point of extinction. 

More: Animals That Are Becoming Extinct

Destruction of Habitat – It is currently the biggest cause of current extinctions. Deforestation has killed off more species than we can count. Whole ecosystems live in our forests. It is predicted that all our rainforest can disappear in the next 100 years if we cannot stop deforestation. To date, 13 million hectares of forest have been converted or destroyed – how many species have perished? Our coral reefs are also threatened. Reefs are home to 25% of marine animals. To date, 27% of coral reefs have been destroyed. 

More: How Can We Stop Deforestation?Deforestation Facts and StatisticsThreats on Coral Reefs

Pollution – When we introduce unnatural chemicals that contaminate our air, soil and seas, it interferes with the metabolism of animals and they are unable to cope. Air pollutants include carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Water and soil pollutants are heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead – and pesticide and herbicide compounds.

All of these factors work in synergy with each other, causing the fastest rate of extinction ever seen. Large bodied animal and rare species are more prone to the changes caused by humans to the planet. Extinctions can disrupt our ecological processes like pollination and seed distribution and a collapse of the food chain which can cause more extinctions.

Get more interesting environmental facts here. See how you can make a difference at FirmHugger.com.

References

  1. The Encyclopedia of Earth: Causes of Extinction
  2. Wikipedia: Extinction
  3. National Geographic: Mass Extinctions

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