As outrage grows over killing of Cecil the Lion, we look at wildlife threats underway

African Lion
Outrage grows over killing of Cecil the Lion

My heart aches.  Having lived and experienced years in Southern Africa and much time in the protected wildlife areas, my heart aches.   We are all outraged with the recent highlighted story of the criminal act of the killing of Cecil the lion by a trophy hunter.  Reports state that this trophy hunter lured Cecil out of the sanctuary, killed, skinned and beheaded him, and then took off with his “trophy”.  Disgusting!  Horrible!  Criminal!  We are all wounded.  When will this trophy hunting stop?  Our beloved majestic creatures’ lives continue to be threatened by trophy hunters and disease.

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My favorite memories of all time are of watching African wildlife come and go from the waterholes.

A New Mass extinction is real

  • Extinction rates are growing alarmingly fast and could threaten human life
  • Species are disappearing 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than what’s considered natural
  • 50% of wildlife has disappeared in last 40 years

Sixty-five million years ago, the dinosaurs disappeared in what’s known as the Earth’s fifth mass extinction. Today, a sixth mass extinction could be well underway and humans are the likely culprit, according to new research published in Science Advances.

The past five mass extinctions on Earth were caused by large-scale natural disasters like meteors or enormous chains of volcanic eruptions, wiping out between half and 96% of all living species.

But the modern mass extinction isn’t being caused by a freak act of nature, the researchers say. It’s being caused by man-made changes to the environment including deforestation, poaching, overfishing and global-warming, and it’s proving to be just as deadly.

Recently, species like the Emperor Rat, the Desert Rat Kangaroo, the Yangtze River Dolphin, the Skunk Frog and the Chinese Paddlefish, amongst hundreds of others, are believed to have become extinct.

I love Southern Africa, and cherish those memories of African wildlife – these beauties are very special to me.

wwf-black-rhino-

Black Rhino threatened

Black rhino – Poachers and hunters are responsible for the early decline of black rhino population. The world’s animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, according to a 2014 report from the World Wide Fund for Nature.

African Elephants on verge of extinction

safari-ebola-elephant-tanzania-

African Elephants threatened by hunters and disease

 

More of the world’s critically endangered species:

Sumatran elephant – Sumatran elephants come into conflict with humans due to the rapid expansion of palm oil plantations which destroy their habitat.

Sumatran tigers are the smallest surviving tiger species and are protected by law in Indonesia. But despite increased efforts in tiger conservation, they remain critically endangered.

Leatherback turtle – Leatherback turtles are the largest sea turtle species and also one of the most migratory, crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. According to WWF, their numbers have seriously declined during the last century as a result of intense egg collection and fishing.

Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered species. Because of poaching and disease, their numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 20 to 25 years, according to the WWF

Yangtze finless porpoise – The population of Yangtze finless porpoises is declining rapidly. The freshwater dolphins are suffering due to pollution and hunting.

Sumatran rhino – Sumatran rhino populations are extremely threatened by poaching, the WWF says.

Northern white rhinos under guard 24 hours with 1 male left worldwide

What you can and should do

The problem of extinction is becoming very serious, but it is not too late, says Barnosky.

“We have the potential of initiating a mass extinction episode which has been unparalleled for 65 million years,” says Ceballos. “But I’m optimistic in the sense that humans react — in the past we have made quantum leaps when we worked together to solve our problem.  Little by little people are understanding that we need to change,” says Barnosky. “But whatever we decide to do in next 10 to 15 years will decide the future of biodiversity on Earth.”

There are a number of steps people can take:

— Be informed.

— Reduce your carbon footprint — this is to hold back climate change from falling below critical levels and to prevent altered conditions which can ravage fragile ecosystems.

— Never buy products made from threatened or endangered species — this includes items like ivory, animal furs and rhino horns.

— Eat less meat — 40% of the Earth is currently under cultivation, and if the lands used to feed livestock were used to grow crops for people, there would be 50 to 70% more calories available for humans to eat, which is enough to feed an additional billion people. It would eliminate the need to clear natural ecosystems like rainforests for farmland.

— And, Please don’t harm animals.  Read about them.  Write about them.  Photograph them, and share with your friends.

Stay tune.  Deputy Dog reports on more stories of Africa.

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Thank you CNN for providing me some facts.

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