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Human progress is paramount. Incumbent and unstoppable. But if there were two things that distinctively differentiated between a simplistic animal and a cognizant human being, it is “Consciousness” and “Responsibility.” Sadly, human beings have almost abandoned both of them, and it is our animal friends that had to take the severe brunt of this.

The Crisis

According to IUCN Report, 44,838 species are on the red list. This includes animals from the land and the sea, which hints at our transgressions. The report also lists 869 species that are already extinct, a number that will climb to 1159 if we are to include the 290 Critically endangered ones that are on the verge of irreversible extinction.

On critical analysis of the problem, one can clearly observe that the problem is global. For example, in Europe, 38 percent of all fish are critically endangered, a number that stands a little lower at 28 percent in Eastern Africa. This is what freshwater resources look like.

Larger water bodies, such as the oceans, exhibit a similarly horrifying picture, which might serve to prove that human activity is no more progressive, only lusted and insidious. An estimated 17 percent of the 1045 species of shark and ray are about to be wiped off forever. The same can be estimated for marine turtles, six out of seven species of which are already history.

The problem is not just harmful. It is comprehensively harmful as no living being is spared. The report states that almost a third of amphibians, one in eight birds, and a fourth of mammals are on the precipice of their imminent extinction. That is a whole world of wildlife looking directly at permanent non-existence and with only one culprit to blame, Human Beings.

The more one explores this, the bleaker the picture will get.

The Impact

In one word. Catastrophic. It might seem that progress is a worthy exchange, but if there is one wrong assumption we are making, it is this one. We might not see it directly, but animals play a vital role in keeping the world running in perfect order. I will only cite one example to paint a picture. I am sure you will get the rest.

In 1930, the wolves in Yellowstone Park were hunted to near non-existence. The number of elk and deer proliferated since the wolves that usually hunted them were no more hunting on the scene. The excessive grazing by the elk and the deer made the land prone to erosion and stripped the songbirds of a habitat.

This led to a decrease in the population of the songbirds and an increase in the population of the mosquitos that were usually the diet of the songbird. In a small span of time, the forest was almost a barren wasteland, which only resuscitated back to its green luster when the wolves were re-introduced.

Human beings might be the intelligent species, but what good is intelligence if it doesn’t grant us foresight to see the inevitable damage we are incurring upon ourselves? I am sure you all are prudent individuals to gauge things for yourselves. I will only cite the words of Jean-Christopher Vie, the editor of the IUCN report, to leave you with some food for thought.

“Think of fisheries without fishes, logging without trees, tourism without coral reefs or other wildlife, crops without pollinators. Imagine the damage to our economies and societies if they were lost. All the plants and animals that make up Earth’s amazing wildlife have a specific role and contribute to essentials like food, medicine, oxygen, pure water, crop pollination, carbon storage, and soil fertilization. Economies are utterly dependent on species diversity. We need them all in large numbers. We quite literally cannot afford to lose them.”

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