Endangered Wildlife: A Global Issue
Across the globe, more and more animal species face extinction. From the rhinos and great apes in Africa, the elephants in Asia, to the tigers in India, animals are becoming increasingly endangered. Conservation organisers have now developed the concept of gap years for adults where people volunteer to do animal conservation work and take some time out from their jobs. Here are just 4 animals in need of a serious wildlife conservation strategy.
Where Have all the Tigers Gone?
It is estimated that there are only about 4000 tigers remaining in the wild worldwide, making them one of the most threatened species. The habitat of the tiger stretches across South East China, and from the Russian Far East all the way to Sumatra in Indonesia. However, tigers can mostly only be found in tiny isolated pockets.
Despite wildlife conservation efforts, tiger population numbers continue to decrease. Tigers are dying because they are being killed for use within the illegal wildlife trade. They are being shot, poisoned and trapped to sell on this market, and it will take the best efforts of those involved with animal conservation work to counter this effect.
The habitat of the tiger is also diminishing because of the expanding human population. The poor local communities also need the land to sustain themselves, and are depleting the vegetation and prey in the tigers’ habitat. Wildlife conservation projects will therefore need to carefully consider how to reduce the need of the local populations to depend on the environment in a destructive way.
Rhinos No Longer Roam in the Wild
Almost no rhinos are still found surviving in the wild. But not so long ago, these creatures were roaming across the entire African continent, and the Southern parts of Asia. There are five species of rhino in existence, two of which are indigenous to Africa, and three to Asia. Volunteers involved with animal conservation work are trying hard to preserve all of these species, some of which face imminent extinction.
The northern white rhino is now on the critically endangered list, and a subspecies of the black rhino is now thought to be extinct. There are some wildlife conservation success stories, however, with the populations of the southern white and northern Indian rhinos now on the increase.
The Great Apes Face Extinction
Found in both Africa and Asia, the great apes once had a mighty population. Now, these majestic creatures are under threat, and it will take concerted wildlife conservation efforts to save these gentle giants.
In Africa, bonobos, eastern and western gorillas face losing their habitat to humans. Human action is degrading and fragmenting their habitat, with civil wars making it difficult for volunteers doing animal conservation work to access the areas in need of protection. Poaching and disease is causing a serious threat to the populations, and wildlife conservation efforts need to be somehow increased.
The orang-utan is the only ape found in Asia, with its last remaining habitats being the Sumatran rainforests and the island of Borneo. These areas are diminishing rapidly, because of illegal logging, oil palm plantations and forest fires caused by human activity. A great way to give something back to nature and attempt to reverse human impact is to take a gap year for adults and help save animals such as these.
The Ivory Issue
Elephants were once the giants of the African and Asian continents, but now their numbers are dwindling, and in Asia and they face extinction. Wildlife conservation projects can only do so much to help these creatures, as people continue to illegally poach elephants for their ivory, meat and hides.
In Africa, elephants are primarily poached for their ivory, and poaching, alongside habitat loss, is placing them under threat. Wildlife authorities do not have the capacity to implement adequate wildlife conservation projects on their own, and volunteers to do animal conservation work are in high demand.
Elephants in Asia are nearing extinction, with the remaining elephant populations being small and fragmented. The biggest problem faced in Asia is the disruption and destruction of their migratory routes and habitat. Poachers also have their role to play, with poaching for ivory, meat and hides being widespread.