Research and Article by John Cox, Cascade Mountains
Species extinction facts
122,090 Number of species gone extinct So far this year 1
This is not a natural occurrence, as the broken systems of game management, oil production, agriculture, and cattle industry would like all of the American taxpayers to believe. No
“Here are some quick “species extinction… facts”… and it’s not encouraging reading. Species are becoming extinct faster now than at any point in modern history.
Top 5 facts about species gone extinct
Species are disappearing
We don’t know exactly how many species go extinct every year but it could be 100,000 – about 1 every 5 minutes.
…And fast !
The current rate of extinction is up to 10,000 times higher than the average historical extinction rates. We, the humans, are almost wholly responsible for this increase.
It’s getting worse
The worsening and loss of biodiversity are projected to continue, and even accelerate. Direct human activity and climate change is the cause of this – for example through the destruction of forests and coral reefs.
Possible mass extinction
There is a wide belief that a “mass extinction” is underway. Some predict that half of all living species could be gone within 100 years.
Who are they?
Within the next 15 to 40 years it is likely that the following animals will become extinct: polar bear, chimpanzee, elephant, snow leopard, tiger, mountain gorilla, orangutan, giant panda, rhino, and the koala bear. Unfortunately, these are just a few of many…”
What is Extinction
- An endangered species is one whose numbers are so small that it is at risk of extinction.
- A species is defined as endangered or threatened when it is suffers from these factors: damage to its habitat for recreational, or entertainment purposes; disease or predation of the species; and hazards to the continued life of the species.
- A species is declared extinct after many years of not being spotted. Because it takes so long to define an entire species as extinct, it is probable that there are many species already gone that we are unaware of.
- Rangers are on the frontlines of conservation to protect some of the world’s most endangered species like tigers, elephants and rhinos. Send thank-you cards to those who protect endangered species. Sign up for Wildlife Cards!
- Extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the “background” rate, with dozens going extinct every day.
- As many as 30 to 50 percent of all species are possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century.
- 99% of currently threatened species are at risk from human activities, primarily those driving habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, and global warming
- The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) protects registered endangered species by removing them from the “take” list, which makes it unlawful for a person to shoot, harm, capture, trap, or attempt any such actions to the species.
- Ultimately, the ESA strives to recover species from the endangered list by restoring their ecological health until they no longer need protection.
- The World Wildlife Organization focuses on saving certain species that help sustain other species. They protect wildlife such as pandas, whales, rhinos, marine turtles, primates, polar bears, and big cats.
- Freshwater ecosystems are home to more than 100,000 known species of plants and animals, and are now one of the most endangered habitats in the world as a result of human development, pollution, and climate change.
Just to illustrate the degree of biodiversity loss we’re facing, let’s take you through one scientific analysis… The rapid loss of species we are seeing today is estimated by experts to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate.*
These experts calculate that between 0.01 and 0.1% of all species will become extinct each year.
If the low estimate of the number of species out there is true – i.e. that there are around 2 million different species on our planet** – then that means between 200 and 2,000 extinctions occur every year.
But if the upper estimate of species numbers is true – that there are 100 million different species co-existing with us on our planet – then between 10,000 and 100,000 species are becoming extinct each year.
Unlike the mass extinction events of geological history, the current extinction challenge is one for which a single species – ours – appears to be almost wholly responsible.
This is often referred to as the 6th extinction crisis, after the 5 known extinction waves in geological history. So without arguing about who’s right or wrong; Or, what the exact numbers are. There can be little debate that there is, in fact, a very serious biodiversity crisis.
We are at a point in history where the Human-Species should start to question, and demand good science, good research based on non-negotiable and well refenced facts (no personal agendas, political agendas, nor special interests need apply here, as it is uncooperative corporations as well as government agencies that remain causing these problems). . .
Rather than follow corrupt empires of special interests, and profound agendas with no Environmental Assessments, or disregard the laws put into place to protect our environmental landscapes and wildlife ecology, strengthen the laws in place, and regulate and manage our interests with diversity and “all is connected on this earth of ours” mind-sets.
We must get along! How simple of a resolution is this? We must stop assuming corrupt corporations, commercialized non-profits, and government agencies are worthy of respect, when they indeed are not what so ever! Corruption is corrupt, and those that follow the corruption are just as bad as the corrupt.
Our environmental as well as our wildlife management systems are broken – entirely!
- Wildscreen Arkive. “Endangered species.” Wildscreen. Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program. “Listing a Species as Threatened or Endangered: Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act” 2015. Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
- Engber, Daniel. “When can you say an animal is extinct?” Slate Magazine, 2005. Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
- Center for Biological Diversity. “The Extinction Crisis.” Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
- Center for Biological Diversity. “The Extinction Crisis.” Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
- Center for Biological Diversity. “The Extinction Crisis” Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
- Davison, Steven G. “Alteration Of Wildlife Habitat As A Prohibited Taking Under The Endangered Species Act.” The Florida State University College of Law. Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service . “Endangered Species Consultation Handbook.” 1998. Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
- World Wildlife Fund. “About Us.” Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
- World Wildlife Fund. “Habitats: Freshwaters.” Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
- WHAT YOU CAN DO — http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/biodiversity/what_you_can_do/
December 10, 2017 at 12:44 pm
The destruction of other species and our environment makes me wonder if humans are God’s mistake. There are some saints of course but they are rare , and I sure am not one of them.
December 10, 2017 at 4:53 pm
I agree, Barbara, why is it we have this need to destroy anything in our way?
Using the “natural occurrence” truly is ignorance! Look at the number of times we, as humans, have even come close to destroying species – buffalo, wolves, mountain lions (will never forget the mounds of skulls pictured). There is obviously no end to this kind of destruction. Allowing ranchers and others in the West to destroy species rather than make the attempt to find non-lethal ways of managing their livestock along with wild predators is nothing more than lazy ignorance.
December 10, 2017 at 4:55 pm
Actually, I should add – ranchers in the West are not the only group that bears this responsibility!
Photographer and Journalist
December 10, 2017 at 7:57 pm
Very true Maggie, but as the cattle market, along with some sheep markets (in the west) are placing an overabundance on the markets, mostly welfare ranchers, or those who collect overwhelming amounts of money from subsidies disbursed by the DOI and the BLM and the Forestry.
This overabundance, in particular in the west, is destroying our Public and Forestry Lands far and above what many biologists and agriculturalists would describe as normal. It is the western Welfare Ranchers that are caught in lies, along with BLM personnel and Forestry personnel.
Where does this overabundance of beef go (since they only supply the American Markets less that 1% domestically, per commercial sales receipts – and yet 34% throw-away margins exist domestically — last year this amounted to 3.2 billion pounds of beef thrown out from markets and grocery stores. Then we get to the Welfare Rancher’s main markets, which are China, the EU, Japan, and Indonesia. . . American taxpayers pay the Welfare Rancher’s bottom line, so everything they sell, out rightly, is profit.
In accord with the markets, beef will be going down, in $$$$$, by next year. We are also looking at subsidies being taken, and placed into more wholesome situations that assist our ecology and environmental systems, for growth . . . Ignorance is a profound enemy, and placing the responsibility where it should go is part of the battle with ignorance, and complacency.
It is time for the pendulum to swing upward for America, rather than for specific special interest groups and welfare ranching, that do nothing to improve America at all — American’s need to take responsibility for their actions, and it is time for welfare ranching to be discontinued as unworthy as well as being nothing more than a small percentage of over-abundance of beef . . . truth!
December 11, 2017 at 10:54 pm
I agree – sadly truth is a really scarce commodity right now. I so regret not being more involved when I was younger & better off financially. It amazes me when people I know aren’t interested in hearing about the wild horses & burros situations, no interest in stopping our horses from being shipped for slaughter, etc etc etc. We become so self-involved with just living our lives, I guess. But if we all don’t wake up & see what is becoming of our country and our planet – the animals will be gone, the environment will be destroyed – then what? I remember thinking (years ago) that anyone who became a politician was doing an honorable thing and was an honest human being. Boy has that changed. Just seems like our votes count for nothing. Sorry to be so pessimistic, but its very frustrating. By the way, I hope your health is improving – everything hits harder as we get older (as we all do).