The species which are likely to become extinct shortly are categorized as the endangered species. These species are at the risk of extinction due to the loss of its critical habitat, or due to the sudden decrease in the number of individuals. Any species that was previously threatened with extinction can be regarded as the endangered species. However, there is a clear difference between the threatened and the endangered organisms.
Causes for the Organisms to be Endangered
Almost 99% of the threatened organisms of the species are at risk due to human activities. In this century it could be said that human beings are the greatest threat to the species. The organisms may reach the level of extinction due to the following reasons.
- Degradation, or loss of habitat.
- The spread of the introduced species, which negatively affects the ecosystem.
- The growing influences of chemical pollution.
- The climate changes.
- Unsustainable hunting.
Although these hazards are naturally occurring, the probability of their occurring is favored by human activities. The rates of the losses are highest in the biologically diverse regions on the earth. In most cases, the organisms are endangered due to the natural causes, but the human activities are accelerating those natural processes.
How Habitat is Lost
The development also plays an important role in the organisms to be endangered. Some species, such as the fig-trees, growing in the rain forests are habitats for many other species. The destruction of trees causes the depending organisms to be endangered. The crowns of the trees provide habitat in the top layer of the rain forest. Fungi, veins, mushrooms, butterflies, insects, and such other organisms live in the canopy of the rain forests. It is also the habitat of the mammals and the tropical birds. By the cutting of trees, the habitat is lost and the organisms have less space for living and reproduction. Mainly, the development of the industry, housing, and agriculture, reduces and destroys the native habitat of the organisms. Ecologists argue that the loss of endangered organisms could be much more concerning, so some measures should be taken to avoid their extinction.
For instance, about 65 million years, ago dinosaurs lost their habitat. The dry and the hot climate changed very quickly, due to the due to the striking of an asteroid to the earth. Due to its effect, the amount of light and heat that was reaching to the earth was reduced. The dinosaurs were not able to adapt to this cooler and new climate. So, they became endangered, and then extinct.