African giraffes are now on the list of endangered species. I love them and it would really upset me if the world were without the beloved giraffes. So just why are they going extinct? According to Simon Stuart, chair of the Species Survival Commission for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN),
“For the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving plants and animals to extinction faster than new species can evolve.”
The IUCN goes on to warn us that, “IUCN estimates that nearly half of the world’s primates are threatened with extinction, as well as one third of the world’s amphibians, nearly a quarter of the mammals, and over 10 percent of the birds.”
The impacts of greatest significance are climate change, deforestation, loss of habitat and disease. Should we be concerned?
Extinction is a part of the natural order of things – the cycle of life. Roughly two percent of the species that have ever lived on this earth are thought to be alive today according to the IUCN. So, are the giraffes and the lemurs passing to make room for animals to come? Maybe.
I remember a few years back, our Blue Heron were on the endangered list here in the Hudson Valley of New York. The wetlands where the herons breed and live were fast becoming a construction project of housing complexes and parking lots. Some activists got together and rallied the government in Albany to put a stop to it. The heron soon returned, they are resilient.
Does this mean we should curtail the deforestation of the planet? Should we interfere with those plants, animals and fish that are losing ground? Is this a direct impact of our foolish, selfish ways in the world? I don’t have the answers and apparently, neither do the scientists.
The Convention on Biological Diversity is expected to meet later this year in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010, to discuss some of these concerns with world leaders. 193 countries are currently participating in the joint effort to address these concerns.
I’m just happy to see that so many countries can work together for a common good.
And, for the giraffes? I hope they are around awhile longer!