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Scientists today are concerned about the growing number of species in the world that may soon become extinct. The United Nations, along with many governments, are trying to save these endangered species. To help resolve this issue, scientists have been trying to learn why species become endangered.
In the United States, loss of habitat is the main reason for species becoming endangered. As populations grow and cities or towns expand, nature is destroyed and the ecosystem is affected. Even small changes in one part of an ecosystem can have a big impact on another part of it. For example, deforestation may result in a change in ground temperature, which may kill off a certain kind of plant in the forest. Animals that eat this plant may suddenly find that there is no available food so they starve to death.
Another possible cause of endangered or extinct species is climate change and rising sea levels. As the Earth gets warmer, this has profound effects on animal and plant life everywhere. For example, rising sea levels make coastal areas uninhabitable for birds. Warmer temperatures melt the ice where polar bears live,destroying their habitat and making it harder for them to find food. A recent scientific study has found that the average weight of polar bears has dropped by 15 per cent in the last 20 years because of this. The rising seas also make it harder for polar bears to swim from the cold waters to frozen packs of ice so many of them drown.
There are several ways that people are trying to help endangered species recover. Ecologists study different species and try to find out more information about them to try and help. In Finland, for example, scientists found that a decrease in the number of bogs or swamps was responsible for the falling butterfly population. Once they understood this, they could manage the butterfly population and help it recover. Governments are also passing laws to protect endangered animals. One example of this is an area near Hawaii with a critically low fish population. The United States’ government has made it illegal for fishing boats to enter this area. Since this region has unique fish species, scientists and governments are working hard to save them.
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