Extinction is simply the process of a species or group of animals no longer existing. If an animal is becoming extinct, it is referred to as “endangered.” There are professionals whose job is to protect these animals and preserve the wildlife that has limited numbers in order to hopefully repopulate them. So why do animals become extinct? The way that we behave as humans has a major effect on the wildlife population. For example, many places that animals consider to be their homes are being ruined by those who do not consider the consequences of their actions. The place that a particular animal lives is called its “habitat.” Some behaviors that harm habitats are agriculture expansion, water exploitation, waste and sewage, and mining.
Can we reduce our carbon footprint to help protect wildlife habitats and natural resources, as well as reduce habitat destruction?
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Many animals have gone extinct due to a loss of habitat, the Formosan Clouded Leopard, Spix’s Macaw, the Cryptic Treehunter, and the Mount Glorious Torrent Frog, to name a few. The Formosan Clouded Leopard lived only in Taiwan, which is located in Asia and was declared to be extinct in 2013. The reason its species was unable to live any longer was due to the fact that they lost their food source, the lowland forests in Taiwan. This forced the animal to look elsewhere for food outside of its habitat, but unfortunately, this did not sustain them. There is an acronym called H.I.P.P.O. (habitat, invasive species, pollution, population, overharvesting) that is used to provide some insight as to how animals begin to slip into extinction. Some animals dangerously close to extinction (endangered) include the black rhino (around 5,600 left), African wild dog (around 1,400), amur leopard (around 84 left), and the Sunda tiger (less than 400 left).
The “I” in H.I.P.P.O. stands for “invasive species.” An invasive species is defined as an animal, plant, disease, or insect that relocates to a new area and disrupts other living things that already inhabit that area. Burmese pythons, for example, have had a major impact on our ecosystem; specifically, in Florida. This is because they compete with the wildlife that is native to that particular area and set up their homes in areas where those animals go to scavenge for food. Burmese pythons actually prefer to be near bodies of water to search for their own food due to the fact that this is also where animals such as raccoons go to look for something to eat. The extreme decline of mammals in Everglades National Park in South Florida has been found to have a connection with these pythons.
The preservation of species is of great importance, especially seeing as the more animals we lose, the less balance we have within nature’s ecosystem. Each species plays a role and when that role is emptied, there will have to be a replacement. This could be very damaging to the system. For instance, forests and grasslands would slowly start to die because there are no animals around to help naturally pollinate and naturally decompose the environment.
Aquaponics preserves the fish species by producing healthy fish that do not contain mercury or radiation; this means they will live longer. This system also minimizes our environmental footprint by allowing us to use up to 90% less water when growing crops and enables us to grow food for our fish that is all-natural, which is much better for them. Food can be grown even without much access to space, and you can rest easy knowing that you are eating food that is free of chemicals and fully organic.
Despite the price of upkeep that comes from the high energy costs associated with the constantly running LED lights (especially in larger systems), aquaponics undoubtedly helps to lessen our environmental footprint and preserve our environment.