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Loss of wildlife calls for concern

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A leopard in captivity

A leopard in captivity (Monica Lopossay/Baltimore Sun/MCT)

Planet Earth is home to habitat deterioration and wildlife loss; the number of species is declining, and the footprint of mankind is constantly growing. As these realities become more extreme, many of the causes appear to be human-induced. In fact, most scientists agree with the Center for Biological Diversity that he sixth mass extinction is underway, with blame resting largely on humans.

“We, as humans in an urbanized society, are always hurting the planet because of things we find to essential to change, like gas and chemical supplies,” freshman Emmy Pascual said. The Living Planet Report produced by the World Wildlife Fund, along with many others, has confirmed several of these beliefs.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, in the last forty-or-so years, the world’s population of vertebrate animals has declined by 52 percent, populations of freshwater species have dropped by 76 percent, and more and more reports offer evidence of nearly 50 percent of all Earth’s species moving a bit closer to extinction by mid-century.

The Living Planet Report also confirmed that half of the planet’s wildlife has been lost, deteriorating at a rate that is severely unnatural. According to the report, “we need 1.5 Earths to regenerate the natural resources we currently use; we cut trees faster than they mature, harvest more fish than oceans replenish, and emit more carbon into the atmosphere than forests and oceans can absorb.”

Again and again, humans are at fault. The Center for Biological Diversity concluded that 99 percent of these vulnerable species are vulnerable simply because of human activity. “Our choices are affecting species badly,” sophomore Jake Norris said.

The report does claim that solutions can still be found. Carbon emissions can be reduced and habitat loss can be prevented, and yet the list of “13 Species We Might Have to Say Goodbye to in 2015” has already been released. Species mentioned on the list include the Sumatran elephant, the Leatherback turtle, the Siberian tiger, and the mountain gorilla. Most of the explanations fall to poaching, destruction of habitats, and overharvesting–all with blame falling to humans themselves.

“Corporations are making too much money off of these materials instead of aiming for improved versions that could harm the environment less. Greed like this is slowly killing all of us, and we all contribute to this whether we like it or not,” Pascual said.

The report has made it clear that the demand for natural resources and current threat to ecosystems is affecting all life on Earth. The findings offer unsustainable requests of nature, and, as a result, threats to our planet.

“In order for our planet to be healthy again, our entire society must band together to find solutions,” Pascual said. But, according to the World Wildlife Fund, these solutions cannot be found until we take action to protect habitats, reduce carbon emissions, and stop wildlife crime.

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The student news site of John Hersey High School
Loss of wildlife calls for concern