Intoduction to Endangered species
" The problem "
A habitat is the ecosystem a species needs to live in - a swamp, rainforest, woodland, limestone bog, desert etc. HABITAT LOSS IS THE GREATEST CAUSE OF SPECIES BEING ENDANGERED. Construction of homes, buildings, roads, timber harvesting, loss of farmlands and the creation of farmlands (more likely outside of the U.S., as in the rainforest of South America) threatens many ecosystems large and small.
Pollution can take many forms. Water, air and ground pollution are all related. Toxic substances dumped in a wooded area will destroy the soil and the species that live in it (from bacteria, to insects and the birds & animals that eat them) but it will also get into the groundwater below it. that water may lead to the same source of water that comes out of your faucet!!
COMPETITION FROM OTHER SPECIES
Sometimes there are just too many animals living in an area that compete for the space, water and food that is found there. For example, in NJ, a large population of raccoons (which turned out to have a parasitic disease) threatened the last remaining population of woodrats in NJ.
By our definition, diseases occur naturally. We are not talking about diseases that animals get because of pesticides or pollution. It is a part of nature that animals get diseases. But sometimes humans introduce diseases and problems into a species. The most publicized example is DDT. An insecticide that was used all over the U.S., it was found in water & soil and eventually worked its way up the food chain from small water feeders to the fish who ate the plant life in the water and the animals and humans who ate the fish! When DDT was left into the water it eventually broke down and became DDE. These toxic substances (along with others like PCB's) caused eagles and peregrine falcons to produce eggs that had shells so thin that they broke just from the mother sitting on them.
Addressing the problem
Our wildlife cases wield the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws to stop and prevent habitat destruction, from unchecked grazing to motorized vehicles to industrial degradation. As global warming and other threats cause the loss and fragmentation of habitats, our work in this field becomes increasingly vital. We strive to protect and boost diminishing wildlife populations, no matter what shape they take.