Adventist Adventurer Awards/Saving Animals
Why are animals endangered?[edit | edit source]
1. Overhunting - This has been the fate of most large animals, slow animals and tasty animals when humans have migrated to a previously uninhabited area.
History abounds with stories of animals going extinct because of hunting and the consequent deaths of their predators if not by direct hunting as well, then by starvation because they no longer have a food source.
2. Habitat loss - Deforestation, agricultural spread, water extraction, mining and human migration have either destroyed the only habitats the species can survive in or driven the species to a severely fragmented habitat, generally meaning simply a slower demise of the species.
3. High specialization - Rarity has its own problems. Highly specialized species that have very specific habitat requirements do not fare well when faced with a changing environment, such as a changing climate or a habitat loss.
4. Pollution - Although biologists have been unable to isolate a single cause for the recent rapid decline in numbers and extinctions of many species, it appears that much of it is due to pollution.
For example, the Peregrine Falcon almost became extinct in Canada when DDT was widely used prior to becoming banned in the U.S. and Canada in 1971.
5. Invasive species - Invasive species are a major cause of loss of diversity of both plants and animals. When a new species arrives with no natural predators to keep it in check, it can take over.
A familiar example is the brown tree snake inadvertently arriving in Guam on a cargo ship following WWII. The venomous brown snake has decimated on virtually all of the local bird, fruit bat and lizard populations
6. Human-wildlife conflict - As our populations increase and more people move into areas where wildlife previously lived in abundance, new human-wildlife conflicts arise. Sadly, in many cases, wildlife is killed when they cause too big harm to farmers by hunting livestock or destroying crops.
7. Disease - Diseases kill humans and animals alike. The Ebola virus killed 5,000 critically endangered western gorillas between 2002 and 2003 at the Lossi Sanctuary and other hundreds of gorillas in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in 2003-2004.
8. Low birth rate - It is believed that reproduction rates are a natural way of maintaining a population equilibrium. Some species do not reproduce very often, and they may have few offspring each time when they breed. Other species may take a number of years to become sexually mature, thus reducing their opportunity to breed over their lifetime.
9. Genetic vulnerability - If a population has low genetic variation, it cannot evolve on the face of changing environmental variables and will face an increased risk of extinction.
For example, if a population does not have a gene that is resistant to a certain disease, that disease may wipe out the entire population in one fell stroke.
10. Small population - Some species can be found only in certain areas. If there are only a limited number of individuals of a species that are in existence to begin with, and the environment changes, there is a lower probability that such a species will survive in the future.
Rare species can easily become extinct in the face of hunting. The Sumatran Tiger is an example of a rare species that was over hunted to the point of extinction, as there were a very limited number of individuals to begin with.
What happened to extinct animals? Why?[edit | edit source]
They died from being poached, over hunted, acts of nature, the flood, and lack of necessary habitat. Extinct animals died.
Identify and name at least 5 extinct animals.[edit | edit source]
Learn about 5 endangered animals.[edit | edit source]
Native to the mountain forests of southwest China, the giant panda is one of the most beloved animals in the world.
Giant pandas are identified by their distinctive black and white coloring. Their ears, muzzle, eyes, shoulders and legs are black while the rest of their body is white. Their thick hair keeps them warm in the cool, wet mountain zones. When on all fours, giant pandas average between 60-100 cm (2-3 ft.) tall at the shoulder and between 1-2 m (4-6 ft.) long. They can weigh between 100-115 kg (220-250 lb.), with males being larger than females.
One of the interesting evolutionary traits of the panda is their protruding wrist bone that acts like a thumb. This helps the pandas hold bamboo while they munch on it with their strong molar teeth. Bamboo makes up nearly the entire diet of the panda. Due to the low nutritional value of bamboo, pandas need to eat 10-20 kg (20-40 lb.) a day. Occasionally pandas will eat other available food, including small rodents, eggs, fish and other flora. Bamboo provides a good amount of water, but pandas need to supplement this with fresh water daily.
When pandas are between 4-8 years of age, they reach maturity and can reproduce. However, female pandas are only able to become pregnant for 2-3 days each spring! In this small window of time, male and female pandas find each other through scents and calls similar to that of goats or sheep. They do not roar like other bears.
Between 95 and 160 days of becoming pregnant, the female panda will give birth. The newborn cub is blind, hairless, and tiny, weighing only 85-140 g (3-5 oz.). Completely helpless, the cub cannot move much on its own for nearly 3 months. In turn, the mother is very protective and careful in tending to her cub during this time.
William Blake’s “forests of the night,” the stalking grounds of the six subspecies of tiger, are burning bright. Slash-and-burn agriculture, along with logging, and human encroachment, have hugely diminished the habitat available to these felines, which require extensive ranges capable of supporting the large herbivores that constitute the bulk of their diets. Poaching—for trophies and body parts used in Asian “medicine” —is thought to pose the greatest threat to tigers. Probably fewer than 4,000 are left in the wild. In 2014, China explicitly outlawed the consumption of endangered species, including tigers, whose bones, penises, and other organs are superstitiously believed to have magical curative powers.
whooping crane (Grus americana)
In 1938, the first year a population survey was conducted, only 29 whooping cranes remained in the wild. Three years later, only 16 were left. Hunting and reduction of their wetland habitat had vitiated the population and concerted efforts to salvage remnant birds did not being until the late 1960s. Today, there are over 400 birds, thanks in large part to innovative breeding programs. Though a plan that involved transferring whooping crane eggs to the nests of related sandhill cranes for fostering ultimately failed, captive rearing and reintroduction have established two wild populations in Florida, one of which has been taught to migrate to Wisconsin. Neither is self-sustaining. The only self-sustaining population migrates between Alberta, Canada, and Texas, U.S.
Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
There are fewer than 25,000 blue whales, the largest animals on the planet. Comprising several subspecies, blue whales are found in all of the world’s oceans save the Arctic. The current population is thought to have been reduced by up to 90% by whaling in the 20th century. Commercial hunting of the species was ultimately banned in 1966. The National Marine Fisheries Service of the U.S. spelled out a recovery plan in 1998. It stipulated the maintenance of photo databases of individual specimens and the collection of genetic and migration data in order to better understand the species, which remains at risk from ship collisions and entanglement in fishing nets.
Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
The IUCN’s best guess on the current population of Asian elephants, which inhabit 13 countries, is around 40,000–50,000. That number may be far lower; some regions inhabited by the lumbering pachyderms are inaccessible due to the terrain or to political volatility. Over 50% of the population is concentrated in India. The burgeoning human population there—and elsewhere in Asia—creates conflicts for space and resources. And while the tusks of Asian elephants are much smaller than those of their African counterparts, the Asian species is still poached for its ivory, meat, and skin.
How many animals are currently on the endangered species list. Collect pictures of at least 5 endangered animals and name them.[edit | edit source]
Make a poster or booklet encouraging people to save endangered animals. Show it to someone.[edit | edit source]
Memorize Proverbs 12:10[edit | edit source]
|Proverbs 12:10 (NIV)|
|The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.|
External Resources[edit | edit source]