Wildlife Conservation Biology Project - Lake Harding Association

Wildlife Conservation Biology Project

Wildlife Conservation Biology Project

By Micah Moen 1 Comment February 12, 2020


At this moment, we are experiencing the worst
species loss since the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. And this current crisis
is mainly caused by us- humans. Globally, one third of all known species are
threatened with extinction. There are currently 41,415 threatened species, including 15,306
endangered species threatened to go extinct. So what happens if we DON’T conserve and
protect wildlife? Since every species is interconnected in a
complex ecological food web, a single species going extinct can lead to the extinction of
many other species. This web includes plants, animals, microorganisms,
land, water, and climate which are all interdependent on each other. Removing one piece of the web
causes small changes in the ecosystem, eventually leading to bigger, irreparable problems. Take, for example, the gray wolf. In a normal
food web, the wolves keep other species from over populating. They prey on elk, deer, moose,
and other small animals. However, during a mass extinction in the first half of the 20th
century, the gray wolf population was decimated from over 2 million to fewer than 1,000 in
the Midwest. Without the wolves keeping other species regulated, populations over grew.
The increasing number of elk wiped out plant species, which threatened songbirds, which
in turn increased mosquitoes and insects… see where this is going? By protecting one species, you’re actually
protecting a whole web of species. Wildlife conservation is the most effective
way of protecting that web. Firstly, biodiversity is what makes everything
unique. Wildlife conservation helps preserve biodiversity, protecting animals and plants
from harm that may come from competition with other animals or from human interaction by
placing them in a protected space. Conserving the natural world creates a more
beautiful and aesthetically pleasing planet. The preservation of this beauty is beneficial
for both us as humans and the organisms that live among us, as well as future generations
that are yet to come. Going back to the animal web, many small insects
and mammals help pollinate many other different species of plants, and by preserving the space
for these animals to thrive, that in turn helps the plants and creates a chain of events
that greatly impacts the ecosystem for the better. This chain of events also includes an increase
in decomposition quality, water purification, erosion control, flood control, carbon storage,
and climate control. All of these possibilities, including essentially every other one you
can think of, are made a reality by preserving the natural order and beauty of the world
through wildlife conservation. Wildlife conservation gives us many economic
benefits. Number one, tourism. Americans alone spent
$18 billion on watching wildlife last year. There is even a special type of tourism surrounding
conservation, called ecotourism. Ecotourism is the responsible travel to natural areas
that conserves the environment, sustains the well being of the local people, and involves
interpretation and education. Tourism brings new money to local economies and creates jobs
for people in the area. In 2014, wildlife tourism created 36,000 jobs in the US. Second, natural resources. By conserving wildlife,
healthy forests and fertile soil are produced, which in turn helps forestry and agriculture,
creating money for the economy. However, natural resources can also be a con for the economy.
If the land where wildlife is being conserved has valuable natural resources, the economy
either loses those resources or has to pay a very high amount to attain that land. Third, conserved ecosystems indirectly benefit
all species, including humans. Ecosystems reduce the severity of global warming, prevent
floods through the absorption of water, and detoxify wastes. This creates less cost that
humans would have to pay later. Biodiversity is also linked to economic benefits.
For example, 50% of medicines currently available are derived from natural products. Losing
that biodiversity would mean that we lose the chance to discover new medicines that
could help millions of people and save economies billions of dollars each year. There aren’t many economic risks caused
by wildlife conservation, but there are a few. One, as we mentioned before, is the possibility
of losing natural resources. Another is the cost of maintaining the grounds and keeping
the conservation staffed. As of 2015, there are 25,800 protected areas covering 14 percent
of the land area of the United States. As you can imagine, the cost of keeping those
areas preserved is very high.

1 Comment found

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Gabriella Wei

Wow!! This is such a cool video Ellie!!

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