Why Are So Many Animals on the Verge of Extinction? Jill Layton

Let’s talk facts: African elephants are endangered, and it’s possible that in five years, they will be extinct. Gone. No more African elephants.

What? That’s crazy. How can elephants just die off? Well, because humans are killing them to supply illegal ivory to markets throughout the world. As many as 50,000 elephants are being killed annually.

Elephants are the largest land animals on Earth. If anyone’s killing anyone, it makes way more sense for elephants to be killing humans, because humans aren’t as big as elephants. But they don’t kill humans, because they are kind and mind their own business.

Elephants are some of the most loving, family-oriented, emotional and intelligent animals on our planet. The females stick together for their entire lives, while the males leave the family at puberty and live in a bachelor herd until they are ready to be on their own (typical). If one is sad, they will console each other with their trunks. They trunk hug each other! If they come across a dead elephant, or even just the bones of an elephant, they dig a grave and stay there for days mourning the loss (if they come across a human who has died, it’s been reported that they show the same respect). They never forget another elephant, or even a human who has made an impact on them.

Elephants can live up to 80 years, but their lives are being cut drastically short because humans want their tusks. However, they aren’t the only animals on the endangered species list due to poachers. Rhinos, leopards, tigers, lions, bluefin tuna, salamanders and sharks are all being threatened by poaching.

Poaching isn’t the only man-made cause of extinction, however. The global climate change is continuing to threaten the world’s animals. Another major problem is the C02 increase. The more C02 humans put into the atmosphere, the more acidic the oceans become, killing marine life and threatening so many others.

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Here’s a short list of animals (there are hundreds) that most people don’t know are facing extinction:

Koalas: They face malnutrition and starvation as their Eucalyptus leaves are dying.

Penguins: Loss of ice effects their fishing and breeding capabilities.

Bats: These animals are dropping dead because of the lack of climate stability in caves.

Arctic Foxes: Their hunting territory is diminishing as the Arctic tundra disappears because of the warming climate.

Clownfish: Acidic water effects their sense of smell, impairing their ability to find anemones that offer protection.

Beluga Whales: As the ice melts, they have a harder time finding prey, and the sea opens for human poachers and pollution.

Leatherback Turtles: Warmer temperatures create more storms, destroying their nesting habitats.

Salmon: The warmer water temperatures reduce the oxygen levels, increasing the chances for disease and disrupting their breeding efforts.

We can’t allow these animals to disappear. Prince William agrees. He recently launched an organization called United For Wildlife, which brings awareness to the critically endangered species and the criminals who kill them. You can also help other wildlife organizations by donating to the Natural Resources Defense Council and Save the Elephants.

Featured image via ShutterStock; additional Arctic image via ShutterStock

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