We speak of animals like panda, polar bear, rhinoceros, puma, ocelot, tiger etc very fondly. Similarly, plants like red helleborine, cheddar pink, monkey orchid, alpine catchfly, alpine gentian etc get our special consideration. The reason is simple, but painful. These animals and plants are on the verge of extinction and only limited numbers exist across the globe.
When first suggested, Charles Darwin was ridiculed for the ‘theory of survival of the fittest’. Gradually, the theory gained popularity as many species of plants and animals became extinct or started facing extinction as described by Darwin. Atlass wild ass, lava mouse, Chinese elephant, cave lion, Bali tiger, cave bear, cave hyena, dwarf elephants, tarpan, majorcan hare and British large blue are representatives of already extinct animals or insects.
Since evolution of plants and animals, many have become extinct while some others are nearing extinction. Certain species which are on the verge of extinction has attracted worldwide attention. These species are categorized under endangered species for special attention and care.
Both natural and man-made factors can be blamed for these special circumstances. Encroachment of forest areas by growing human population has resulted in scarcity of forest land for the survival of wildlife. Deforestation for wood and farming has reduced the area of forest making certain wildlife to vanish. Pollution resulted from industrialization became a catalyst. Man started hunting certain animals for meat and gradually those animals got extinct. The auk and dodo comes under this category. Oil spills have resulted in vast areas of seas and oceans getting covered with black oil. Sea birds, fish and plants in the sea have suffered because of this. Natural calamities, scarcity of suitable food and unsuitable temperature and pressure are some of the major natural causes.
Conservation of wildlife is one of the top most agendas worldwide. Creation of new laws, wild life sanctuaries and better awareness are being used as powerful weapons to fight the extinction. Specific projects are also being promoted to protect endangered species.