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Sample Persuasive Essay: Why Should Humans Prevent the Extinction of Endangered Species
There are over seven thousand endangered species on the planet that face the threat of extinction. A species’ population decline and extinction are part of nature, however, humans have hastened the rate at which these animals and plants are disappearing. Human activities and causes, such as deforestation, hunting, pollution, and climate change , have led to animals and plants losing their habitats and becoming victims of unnatural changes. Without human intervention, the high rate of extinction of animals and plants could result in detrimental ecological changes that will affect both the natural world and human life.
Extinction’s Effect on the Ecosystem
Every animal and plant plays an important part in an ecosystem. Insects help in pollination, predators prevent the overpopulation of rodents, and trees provide shelter and food to various species. The decline in a species’ population can mean that there will be fewer contributors to their role. For instance, fewer insects will pollinate, reducing the plant population; fewer predators mean that rodents and other pests can multiply uncontrollably. Humans also depend on healthy ecosystems to maintain the natural balance (Importance of the Endangered Species Act, n.d.). The overpopulation of rodents due to predator population decline can lead to destructive infestations in rural and urban areas. In some cases, humans can even experience scarcity of natural products, such as honey and plant materials, because of extinction.
Loss of Potential Medicine
Most medicine requires natural ingredients that possess certain characteristics that help fight diseases and mitigate symptoms. According to the Endangered Species Coalition (n.d.), the cures for diseases with no known cure may come from untested plant species, with some being in the endangered species category. A critically endangered plant species may possess the cure for cancer or help shrink malignant tumors. Since there are still a lot of untested plant species, experts require time to conduct tests to identify their medical properties. If humans disregard the prevention of plant species extinction, then they risk losing the potential cure for various diseases.
Humans’ Moral Obligation to Other Species
Animals and plants are living things that cannot speak for themselves. They can feel pain, loss, and other emotions but they cannot express them like humans. Alternatively, humans can speak for themselves and for others. Humans can study animals, observe their behaviors, and learn how they react to certain stimuli. Since humans have this capacity to help and interpret other species, they have a moral duty to prevent the suffering of animals (Johnson, 2017). Endangered species are animals and plants that are in need of immediate help since they have lost their habitats, face the threats of invasive species, or are suffering from diseases. Since humans know that certain species are endangered, then they should also understand that these species require protection. A sea turtle cannot know that it is the last of its kind and so it is up to humans to prevent their extinction.
Following the argument regarding moral obligation, one can argue that humans are also responsible for the high rates of extinction and should be liable. Human activities have led to massive species population declines both directly and indirectly. Man-made fires led to the habitat loss of Amur Leopards reducing their population to 84; various rhinoceros species are on the brink of extinction due to poaching; Bornean and Sumatran Orangutans suffer from deforestation; Cross River Gorillas only have a population of 200-300 adults due to poaching, diseases, and human conflict (earth.org, 2022). These examples showcase the extent of the effects of human activities on endangered species’ populations. Since humans are responsible for these population declines, they must act to prevent the extinction of these species.
Examples of the Detrimental Effects of Extinction
Near-Extinction of the Yellowstone Grey Wolves
The effect of the near-extinction of grey wolves in Yellowstone National Park is a great example of why humans should prevent the extinction of endangered species. When the grey wolves’ population declined, the elk and deer population multiplied. The uncontrollably high population of elks and deers destroyed the habitats of songbirds, which are animals responsible for eating and controlling the mosquito and other insect populations. Beavers also experienced population decline since the loss of vegetation prevented them from building natural dams. This then led to riverbank erosion, causing significant damage to the landscape.
Disappearance of Bees
Scientists have also observed that many species of bees have disappeared. There are many reasons for their extinction, such as invasive species, climate change, and habitat loss. According to Petruzzello (n.d.), the extinction of all bee species would lead to a major effect on ecosystems. Without bees, various plants cannot reproduce through pollination. This will change the composition of various environments which would then affect other species in the food chain. For instance, bee-eating animals will lose their food source and experience a population decline. With fewer bee-eating animals, other insects may multiply rapidly and change the ecosystem, or worse; spread diseases to animals and humans. The disappearance of all bee species will also affect the agriculture industry since these insects help improve crop yields.
Humans should prevent the extinction of endangered species to avoid the detrimental effects that the events can cause. Endangered species extinction will lead to significant ecological changes that can harm ecosystems and the species living in them. Food chains and other natural processes will experience altercations that will lead to more population decline. Disregarding endangered plants can lead to the loss of potential medicine to cure incurable diseases. Additionally, since humans are responsible for most of the population decline, they must bear the moral obligation and responsibility to help endangered species. Preventing the extinction of endangered species is not only a service to those who cannot speak for themselves but an assurance that the planet will remain livable.
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Cho, R. (2019). Why Endangered Species Matter. Columbia Climate School. Available at https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2019/03/26/endangered-species-matter/#:~:text=What%20are%20the%20consequences%20of%20extinction%3F&text=If%20a%20species%20has%20a,species%20and%20the%20ecosystem%20itself . Accessed July 11, 2022.
Earth.org. (2022). 10 of the World’s Most Endangered Animals in 2022. Earth.org. Available at https://earth.org/endangered-species-day/. Accessed July 11, 2022.
Endangered.org. (n.d.). Importance of the Endangered Species Act. Endangered Species Coalition. Available at https://www.endangered.org/importance-of-the-endangered-species-act/. Accessed July 11, 2022.
Johnson, L. (2017). On the Suffering of Animals in Nature: Legal Barriers and the Moral Duty to Intervene. Journal of Animal Ethics, vol. 7(1). Available at https://doi.org/10.5406/janimalethics.7.1.0063. Accessed July 11, 2022.
Petruzzello, M. (n.d.). What Would Happen If All the Bees Died?. Encyclopedia Britannica. Available at https://www.britannica.com/story/what-would-happen-if-all-the-bees-died. Accessed July 11, 2022.