Four Reasons Why We Should Save Endangered Species

Why do we need to save endangered species? Of what use are wildlife nearing extinction to the human race? This article lists four reasons why we should protect endangered species.

Some people do not understand the importance of keeping a healthy population of animals or plants on the planet. This article, therefore, aims to provide a deeper understanding of the need to preserve endangered species.

Why should we save endangered species? Here are four principal reasons why everyone should do their share in conserving these valuable natural resources:

Four Reasons for Saving Endangered Species

The following are the potential benefits from plants and animals that may be facing extinction:

1. Medicinal value

The drug digitalis, derived from purple foxglove, prevented the death of millions of people. Digitalis is used to treat congestive heart failure (CHF), fluid retention, irregular heartbeat, asthma, epilepsy, tuberculosis, headache, constipation, headache, and spasm. It can also heal wounds and burns. Withering (1785) described the healing properties of the plant as early as the 18th century.

purple foxglove
Digitalis purpurea

This observation means that if one plant species gets extinct, the potential benefits, such as a source of medicine, will be forfeited. However, many plants may be nearing extinction without our knowledge. These plants could contain thousands of important compounds that can lengthen the human lifespan.

Plants are not the only source of medicine. Animals have medicinal properties, too. Here is a list of animals and their medicinal uses:

  • leeches – secretions prevent coagulation and inflammation
  • vipers – elements in their venom control blood pressure
  • scorpion – brain tumor research uses its venom
  • shark – utilized in the study of certain forms of cancer and muscle degeneration
  • bees – honeybee products prevent microbes from thriving
  • lizards – secrete a toxin that may benefit diabetes sufferers
  • frog – produces compounds that prevent infection

2. Agricultural value

Wild species of plants can be a source of vital genes to improve crops that are grown today. Among those genes that scientists splice from the DNAs of plants are pest or disease resistance, salt tolerance, and drought resistance. These properties can help counter the effects of global climate change.

While there are concerns about the products of genetic engineering such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), these products helped attain food security. People have had a reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable and nutritious food. For example, genetic material from a wild corn species stopped a leaf fungus that previously wiped out 15% of US corn crop. Thus, more crop production ensued.

Animals such as gecko and spiders are also important natural pest control agents. Geckos feed on at least five different kinds of pests while spiders are known to prey on cockroaches.

3. Ecological value

Have you heard the popular quote “No man is an island?” No man stands alone.

Animal or plant extinction can drastically change an ecosystem.

Just like humans, an individual plant or animal could not live by itself. It has to interact with the other organisms as well as its environment to survive. Removing one animal or plant species from the ecosystem will compromise the life of other organisms that interact with it.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, one lost plant species can lead to the loss of 30 other insects, plant, and other animal species found in the higher levels of the food chain. These individual species of plant or animal are sometimes called the keystone species. If that species is removed, the whole ecosystem will be changed drastically.

Examples to illustrate this importance of endangered species and how they link with other organisms are the following:

  • northern spotted owl – health indicator of the ancient forest of the Pacific Northwest
  • gray wolf – controls the population of the elk
  • killer whale – affects the diet of bald eagles (see illustration below)
killer whale and bald eagles
Chain of events that show how the killer whale can affect the diet of bald eagles.

Killer whales affect the diet of bald eagles.

The illustration shows the food chain dynamics in Alaska. If killer whales deplete the population of otters, the population of sea urchins will increase. Overfeeding of large algae by sea urchins will leave no place to hide or breeding places for fish that in turn will migrate to other areas. Once the fishes migrate, the bald eagle population switch their diet to marine birds. In this case, it appears that the keystone species are the sea otters.

 4. Bequest value

Leaving out a legacy for the next generation is a desirable value. We would like our children also to enjoy the benefits that could be gained from wildlife species, not only of their mere existence but for the potential benefits that they can provide.

How to Conserve Endangered Species

Endangered animals and plants, therefore, must be conserved by all means possible. Doable initiatives include the following strategies:

  • reforestation,
  • rehabilitation of degraded lands,
  • sustainable harvesting of timber and other natural products,
  • pollution reduction and prevention,
  • waste reduction and management, and
  • development of innovative strategies to conserve endangered species.

Can you think of other ways to conserve endangered species?

References

WebMD, n.d. Digitalis. Retrieved on May 23, 2014 from http://goo.gl/VvlfYD

Withering, W. (1785). An account of the foxglove, and some of its medical uses: with practical remarks on dropsy and other diseases. Classics of Medicine Library.

Zoo Granby, 2014. Why protect endangered species… So what? Retrieved on May 23, 2014 from http://goo.gl/6zFiZn

© 2014 May 23 P. A. Regoniel

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (May 23, 2014). Four Reasons Why We Should Save Endangered Species. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2014/05/23/4-reasons-why-we-should-save-endangered-species/

11 thoughts on “Four Reasons Why We Should Save Endangered Species”

  1. 1. if they have their medical value, we don’t need to protect them. Think about if 1 specie that can kill cancer. People will pay whatever price to make the environment to breed them. do we need to protect them? Do we need to protect chicken even we kill so many a day? For the unknown, they may have value or may not, so, it is gamble with less than 50% chance. How about let them go and free the spot for new species. the new species can provide them same for that purpose. Furthermore, we already have some data of the current species, so, have new specie can provide even more chances. With our technology, we can clone them back later after we collect they cells. So, let more species exist on earth will provide a bigger bank of data.

    2. We have less and less species on earth since many years. how about our agriculture? We actually produced more and more. Look at the market. how many new product can you fine? Compare the number with 100 years ago, how many more gain did we produce today? If they have value, human will make it out and keep it. Why do you think human work so hard to develop all kinds of technology? Money talks. Without bees, if that kind of plants can sell a good price, the farmers will touch the flower 1 by 1.

    3. Why do we need to care about all species can live. if one out and the whole chain out. it only means 1 thing. that whole chain didn’t fit. With human or not. there are species extinct anyway. So, many years since life exist on earth, we still have life on earth with countless specie appear and disappeared. It is just a cycle or mother nature. As above, we can keep them in zoo or collect their cells and clone later. If 1 species can only eat 1 other species to live, it is clearly that specie needs to change their diet. If they can’t make the change, whose fault?

    4. Our children? There are many species extinct even before human exist, so what is the different that our children can’t see some species anymore? How will that change their life? Actually, our children may benefit from not protect them. They can still see some from zoo. how many people actually see animal on wild instead or zoo? Do you want your children to meet a tiger in wild because you want them to see how tiger looks other than from the books? We can already clone some animals now. In the future, we can do even better for sure. Also, keep animal in wild will take so much land. Will you think we will have more human living on earth in the future? with our medication technology, we sure will. that means we need more farm land, more space to build house. Do you want your children live in a bigger house or a cubicle? I am sure most people wants a bigger house. We have no choice but occupy more land. Unless you are animal lover that put animal’s life over human, so you want to kill most human to empty space for animals, this can’t be changed. Let the new animal that can fit into human’s life is one of the limit solution. We already have many of them like dogs, cats, rats…

    Human is a part of nature. There is no any species work to protect other species in purpose. Why should we force ourselves to do that? If you love animal and don’t want to hurt them, you don’t have to. However, please let other people choose what they want to do. We are on the top of food chain, it is our right to choose our food. We should not ask everyone to have the same food because it is your favor food.

    1. Do you want there to be no animal diversity? Do you want the eco system to collapse? Are you an idiot, there are so many animals that we can’t survive without. Like frogs, they account for 10% of noble prize awards for human medicine. Do you want your kid to be healthy or be dead? Who the hell cares if you live a cubicle or not. Imagine if you were a animal and your home was being destroyed so humans could “Live in a bigger house”. Everything has a purpose and a role in the food chain. If we destroy that there will be no food chain and oh look that we won’t be at the top of the food chain, we’ll be dead. Nice spelling and puncntuation by the way ignoramus.

  2. Even though that is just rude, you are right. For example, if we killed off all animals and humans became extinct, you know what would be left on earth? Only the 10% of plants that don’t rely on creatures for pollination.

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