Gorilla    Endangered Species   polar bear

by Emily Loring and Tess Perry

Background and Introduction

Starting in the 1500's humans began domesticating animals and colonizing different parts of the world. Because of these human practices about 811 plant and animal species have become extinct. Humans are the major contributor to the endangerment and extinction of animals because we destroy habitats, hunt illegally (also called poaching), over fish and cause pesticide poisoning. The biggest issue is the destruction of habitats.

We do not think this is a big deal, that animals and plants seem pretty resilient, especially since most have been on this planet longer then we have. But numbers show that some animals and plants cannot survive among us. Over 11 thousand species of plants and animals are either  threatened or endangered. In the United States alone about 971 animals, about one third of all US animals, at risk of becoming extinct

What EXACTLY does Endangered Species mean

?

Any species, either plant or animal that is in danger of
becoming extinct because the populations numbers are
dwindling or a changing environment that is no longer able to support an animal population.
Habitat Destruction

Habitat is a place where a plant or animal normally lives and grows. Each species has a different and unique habitat  that provides what is needed, adequate food, clean water and protective shelter. Without these essentials life is not possible. The destruction of forests and wetlands along with pollution of water, land and air greatly reduce animals natural habitats.

The destruction of forests is called deforestation. About 25 years ago forests covered a little over one fourth of the world's land. Today forests only cover about one fifth. In just 25 years we have ruined so many species' habitats. We continue to destroy forest lands at a rate of about 28 million acres per year. In just the U.S. forests have been demolished for logging purposes, road construction, mining, ski resorts and other human activities and demands. Forests in the U.S. are not the only target for this wreckage. Tropical forests in Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Amazon Basin and Mexico have been cleared for agricultural use and firewood. These forests were homes to thousands of animals. Restoration can take many years especially when trees are cut down faster then they are planted.

Wetlands are regions covered with water for long periods of time. They support plants that require wet soils. Bogs, marshes, wet meadows and swamps are examples of wetlands. They also provide breeding grounds for animals such as mosquitoes, crocodiles, alligators, snakes and fish. Fish require wetlands to reproduce and grow so they will be able to live in deep waters. Wetlands are often drained for oil and gas extraction as well as agriculture, mining and forestry. Drained wetlands have even been used for urban development. Many are also dredged to make marinas, canals and ports.          

Tiger

There are thousands of Endangered Species but below are just a few animals we focused on.

Click on an animal to get more information!

Giant Pandas

Great Apes

Marine Turtles

Elephants

Whales and Dolphins

Polar Bears

Rhinoceros

Tigers

What is the DIFFERENCE between Endangered and threatened

?

A species that is 'threatened' has a low  population and will be considered endangered in the near future.
Conclusion & Things you can do to help

References

Any questions??
Contact Tess and Emily at
tess.perry@maine.edu
emily.loring@maine.edu