Endangered species are on the brink

Collective education and growth among advocates must start now

Samantha Hernandez, Reporter

Out of more than 76,000 species assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, it is estimated that over 22,000 are at risk of extinction. This number includes animals, plants and fungi. Some believe that 99 percent of the species are in danger because of humans.

One of the most well-known endangered animals is the tiger. Three of the subspecies have already become extinct, with the others seeming to follow in that direction. The South China tiger and Sumatran tiger are both critically endangered. These tigers are hunted for their fur, and some cultures believe that parts of the tiger cure various maladies. In 2011, it was estimated that there was a combined number of 3,200 to 4,000 tigers in world.

The Hawksbill turtle is another animal that is critically endangered. It is hunted for its shell, and that along with the destruction of their habitat has been the reason for the turtle becoming endangered.

We have endangered animals here in our state as well. There’s the Chihuahua leopard frog, Mexican wolf and Apache trout which has been brought by from near extinction.

A major part of helping animals from going extinct is conservation. The World Wildlife Fund is perhaps the best known. It focuses on the wildlife as well as the community. Their vision is to “build a better future in which people live in harmony with nature.” There’s Oceana, an organization solely focused on the ocean and, restoring and protecting it. The Wildlife Conservation Society is another that focuses on global conservation. They not only do that but they’re involved with zoos and aquariums, and now there arefive Wildlife Conservation Zoos.

There’s organizations throughout the Valley that have a focus on wildlife. The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is one in Rio Verde that is involved with the conservation of the Mexican Wolf among other animals. Not only that, they also offer education programs to educate people about the importance of conservation. The Arizona Wildlife Federation is another focused on educating others on wildlife.

It’s not enough to do something after the fact that an animal is in danger. If people are educated on the subject, then extinction could become a non-issue.