Why is it important to save endangered species?

+74 votes
asked Feb 27, 2015 in Science by Desirae (500 points)
Protecting the natural environment is one thing I strongly believe in. In fact, I'm one of those people that believe we will all die if we fail to protect the environment. I also believe that every other species is vital for the survival of man on earth and their habitats must be protected and made conducive for their survival.

Nevertheless, I do not understand the reason why individual species ought to be protected. If the law of natural selection singles out a particular specie for extinction, I would have believed it means the specie isn't well adapted to survive in its environment. After all, extinction should be a natural part of the entire process.

But I could be missing something here. Can any environmentalist, or anyone with relevant knowledge about the issue tell me more about this? Why is it important to save endangered species? What makes protecting endangered species so important?

3 Answers

+22 votes
answered Mar 4, 2015 by Giselle (690 points)

In short, every plant and animal has its own benefits, such as protecting the environment, beautifying the earth and in the production of useful drugs, cosmetics, etc.

We all know that different species of animals have been appearing and disappearing since life began on earth. This is a normal natural process. As a matter of fact, species have been disappearing at a very fast rate over the century. The reason for this high rate of disappearance is definitely connected to manmade factors such as commercial over exploration, deforestation, poaching, and pollution. But again, why all the troubles in an attempt to protect even crocodiles, sharks, spiders, snakes or even raptors and wolves?

1. For a natural balance

Whether an animal is dangerous, ugly or undesirable is not important, every animal has an important role to play in nature and therefore have every right to survive in the environment where they live. Everything in nature is interconnected.

For instance, the much feared Killer Whale affects the Alaska Bald Eagle's diet! According to researchers, an increase in the number of Killer Whales leads to a decline in the population of sea otters. Otters feed on sea urchins. Consequently, the more the population of otters reduces, the more the population of sea urchins increases. Sea urchins are known to feed on large algae where all sea-living invertebrates and fish hide along the water banks. Therefore, the more the sea urchins are, the fewer the number of algae is. And this ultimately reduces the number of places the invertebrates and fish can hide along the banks. This will often cause the fish and invertebrates to move to a new habitat where they can find more hiding places. The Bald Eagles in Alaska known to be raptors feed mainly on the fish that live in shallow waters near the edges of the ocean. In the absence of this fish, these raptors have no other option than to search for any other available food source. Hence, scientists in Alaska have discovered that the reduction in the population of Alaskan Sea Otters as a result of the action of Killer Whales, forces the Bald Eagles to switch diet to marine birds.

In reality, we do not have adequate idea of the whole consequences the disappearance of every species of animal population. Therefore, saving endangered species is of utmost importance.

2. For biodiversity

Biodiversity is the sum of the variety of life, which includes its genes, species, populations, and ecosystem. Saving endangered plants and animals from going into extinction and saving their natural environments is very crucial for the health of all humans and the overall wellbeing on future generations. The advantages of biodiversity include:

  • Relieving air pollution: The natural rainforest is quite helpful when it comes to filtering the particulates and regulating the atmospheric composition. It also purifies the air we breathe. Increased deforestation around the world leads to increased pollution of the air.
  • Poverty alleviation: The biological diversity provides humans all around the world, especially the poor, with medicine, food, building materials, protection against natural resources and bioenergy.
  • Health: Nearly 50% of all the available medicines today are extracted from natural products. Not less than 120 chemical compounds, obtained from about 90 different plant species, are used as very important drugs for treating all types of diseases in every part of the world. By losing the natural biodiversity, mankind could be losing the only chance to develop new vaccines and drugs to help put an end to different diseases ravaging the human race and save the economies of nations some billions of dollars annually.
  • Purifying fresh waters: Nitrogen pollution has become a very serious issue in different parts of the world today. It is much less expensive to protect and restore the wetlands as a way of reducing nitrogen concentration in the atmosphere than constructing wastewater treatment plants. Wetlands contain some very outstanding biodiversity and lead to the creation of vital services like fresh water purification.
  • Agriculture: Several of the benefits that come with biodiversity are related to agriculture. For instance, one great source for insecticide production is the marine environment. One very effective insecticidal poison gotten from the marine worm, Lumbrineris brevicirra is known as nereistoxin. Other agricultural benefits include soil fertility benefits from the activities of microorganisms, crop pollination, and pest control benefits from wildlife and insects.
  • Carbon sequestration: Carbon sequestration is all about storing carbon. It is a process that occurs in the soils and forests mostly as a result of photosynthesis. The Earth's global Carbon Cycle includes the movement of carbon in and out of soils and trees. Both coral reefs and forests contain very large reservoirs, which helps regulate the global climate quiet significantly.
  • Spiritual and aesthetic: The natural environment is quite beautiful and valuable for its great visual appeal. When we lose natural biodiversity, we lose the beautiful appeal of the world around us. This does not only affect us, but the coming generations.
+6 votes
answered Mar 3, 2015 by Tomikia (880 points)
Why is it important to save endangered species? The reason is that these animals are our friends! And if we allow all animals to die of, what shall we feed on? (Lol that does not sound very friendly I guess). Berries and Grass? No. Please let us do whatever we can to keep the animals alive. Without these animals, we won't have any more beautiful pictures on natural geographic.
+2 votes
answered Mar 7, 2015 by Kyle (620 points)
This is a very wonderful question. It is all about protecting the human environment and the entire human existence. I hope you find more valuable answers.
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