Samuel Mills, Staff Writer

Whether it is caused by a mass extinction event, such as dinosaurs being wiped out, or brought on by human interference, such as the overhunting of dodo birds, animals going extinct has never been uncommon. For millions of years, a wide variety of species have evolved and adapted to survive; however, in recent decades, the number of species becoming endangered due to human interference has drastically increased.

The key cause of more species facing possible extinction is the actions of humans. Deforestation is completely demolishing the homes of millions of animals all over the world. One main example of this is the deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in South America, which is made worse by the fact that the Amazon rainforest is home to many unique species that do not live anywhere else. This deforestation is being done to create materials like paper to benefit humans, but this is having adverse effects on wildlife. Without the Amazon and other forests, the Earth will suffer an enormous loss of biodiversity.

In other places, poaching is posing another large threat to many endangered animals. Species of elephant and rhinoceros are being maimed or even killed by poachers. These poachers are cutting off the horns and tusks of these animals to illegally sell or use the ivory. Much of this ivory is being used for simple decorations or accessories, such as jewelry, or alternative medicines that are not scientifically proven to work. These animals are being brutally killed for unnecessary reasons.

Looking towards the world’s seas and oceans, it appears that land animals are not the only ones in danger. Pollution is causing many aquatic animals to ingest plastic and other forms of trash or waste. This garbage has been tossed into the ocean, where it is harming ecosystems and fish that are on the brink of extinction.

With all of this happening, many organizations and volunteers are stepping up to both catalogue and conserve these endangered species. One notable example is the World Wildlife Fund. This group keeps a list and descriptions of endangered species in the skies, plains, forests, and oceans. According to their website, they are working hard to “protect and restore species and their habitats.” For over six decades, this group has worked in one hundred countries to conserve endangered animals and their homes. For more information, the World Wildlife Fund’s website will be listed at the end of this article.

So many species are struggling to survive, and far too many of them are losing this struggle. This is an international problem, so what can one individual or community do? People who want to help stop deforestation, poaching, pollution, and other harmful issues that hurt animals can spread awareness, join volunteer groups, or donate to these groups. Even recycling more and littering less can help make this planet a cleaner, better home for not only endangered species, but for ourselves, too.