We always hear about certain animal species being on the brink of extinction, but it seems like we do not truly care at all. Animals make up a huge part of our ecosystem, our nature, and if we keep disturbing or destroying their habitats, we will only have ourselves to blame. Ultimately, we will have to face the consequences, and we may not be ready for them. Krystine Batcho, PhD, wrote that “Recently, research on the psychology of the human-animal bond and the psychological impact of the death of an animal has begun to accumulate. Research suggests that some animals serve not only practical but also important social-emotional needs.”
The Earth is now in the midst of the sixth wave of mass extinction, and it is considered the worst rate since the disappearance of dinosaurs thousands of years ago. Unlike the era of dinosaurs, the extinction crisis of today is said to be spearheaded by humans.
The Truth About Animal Extinction
According to the World Wildlife Fund, animal species are disappearing at a rate of a thousand to ten thousand times more than the Earth’s natural extinction rate. It means we could be losing hundreds of species every year. We may not notice it today, but if it is not stopped, we will soon experience the effects of animal extinction.
Some may argue extinction is a part of natural evolution. However, the rapid rate we see right now is very unnatural. The natural rate of extinction is around one to five per species only. Humans are at fault for accelerating the rate of animal extinction, not climate change or natural disasters.
All of the animal species—birds, fishes, amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles—are currently at risk of disappearing forever. At the present extinction crisis, it is important to note how mammals such as primates, monkeys, apes, tarsiers, whales, and dolphins are disappearing as well. If not extinct, most mammals are either endangered or have a vulnerable status.
How Humans Affect The Rate Of Animal Extinction
As per a recent study, the 7.6 billion humans on earth today only represent 0.01% of all living things on our planet, yet we managed to cause the loss of almost 83% of animal and plant species. Moreover, half of our planet’s animal species have been lost in the last 50 years. These numbers are quite scary, but we are not necessarily doing something collectively to stop the numbers from continuously rising.
From pollution, deforestation, to global warming, the present extinction crisis can be blamed to the human race. Human activities like hunting, specifically trophy hunting, are a big threat to the animal population. Humans are exploiting natural resources, and this is greatly contributing to the rate of animal extinction.
The human race will also be affected by the loss of animals. The natural ecosystem will be severely disturbed, and it can cause disasters for the human race. We should stop taking the animal species for granted. Even though most of the animal species are in the wild, they are still important to the natural cycle of the Earth. “Our natural environment makes important contributions to our mental health and well-being. Efforts aimed at preventing mental illness and promoting psychological health would be wise to align themselves with environmental conservation initiatives,” Justin Thomas, PhD in Experimental Psychology, said.
Natural habitats of animal species are always in danger due to humans’ invasion. Forests are turned into villages full of condominiums. Mountains are being flattened to become hotels. The oceans are full of plastics causing severe danger to marine life. These are all created by us, the human race. We should have stricter rules and policies when touching the environment or the habitat of many animal species.
Numerous reports have emerged that adults are now experiencing eco-anxiety. William Sheate, PhD, defined it as follows: “Eco-anxiety is essentially an overwhelming sense of impending environmental doom and a chronic fear for the future state of the planet and future generations.” We, humans, should act now and learn how to value various animal species truly. We shouldn’t wait until the popular faces of lions, tigers, and penguins slowly begin to fade as well. We shouldn’t waste time pointing fingers; instead, we should put our efforts and energy into conserving and preserving the animal species and their habitats as well.