Can Earth’s Species Be Saved?
“FROM apes to albatrosses to dragonflies, humans are driving other creatures to the brink of extinction so quickly that we are jeopardizing our own chance for survival,” says The Globe and Mail of Canada. The newspaper’s comments were in regard to the 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, published by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) of Geneva, Switzerland. The Red List warns that over 11,000 species of plants and animals face a high risk of becoming extinct. Mammals are among the most endangered. “Roughly one in four types of mammal alive on the Earth today—or 24 per cent—is stalked by extinction,” reports the Globe.
What is to blame for the crisis? Scientists point to the international pet trade, longline fishing operations, and loss of suitable habitats to explain the quickening pace at which these species are disappearing. In addition, as more and more logging roads are built through virgin forests, “people are getting greater and greater access to wild animals that were once beyond reach. Then they kill and eat them. If that’s done thoroughly enough, species die out.”
Scientists warn that this spells danger for humans too. “We are tinkering with our life-support system as we drive species extinct,” says David Brackett, chairman of the World Conservation Union’s species survival commission. “The globe will not survive with all our biodiversity just in zoos.”
The IUCN report urges the global community to act, stating that “human and financial resources must be mobilised at between 10 and 100 times the current level to address this crisis.” Sadly, however, greed often stymies sincere efforts to conserve our planet’s resources.
Can earth’s species be saved? The first humans and their offspring were given the task of caring for the diversity of life on our planet. “Jehovah God proceeded to take the man and settle him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it,” says the Bible, “and to take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15) Although man is failing in his obligation, God’s purpose toward the earth remains the same. He cares for our planet, and he will not allow it to be destroyed by carelessness or rapacity. (Revelation 11:18) His Word promises: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:29.
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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C./J.D. Pittillo