Extinction is a part of the natural order on Earth. Species have always disappeared because of natural changes in the environment or biological changes (like diseases). So, why save them? Dr. Stuart Pimm of the University of Texas said that scientific evidence strongly suggests that the current rate of extinction is much higher than the natural rate - about 1,000 times greater than before humans were on the Earth. Most endangered species protection concentrates on "fixing" problems that people created, not stopping natural extinctions.
When the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, the U.S. Congress said that endangered species are of " esthetic,ecological, educational, historical, recreational and scientific value." So let's look at those reasons.
This means that endangered species are beautiful to look at. Just like a clean stream or ocean, beautiful mountains, wildflowers and other parts of nature are to us. Especially for kids like us, we would like to save beautiful things for our lifetime and for the kids who come after us.
Biodiversity is a word we came across a lot when we researched this site. It means keeping a variety of life forms in our ecosystem. Think of all the different kids of dog breeds there are and how many varieties of flowers we have on the Earth. If there were only 10 types of dogs left, people would pay attention! Lack of variety is also dangerous. New diseases show up when there is less variety and one disease can wipe out an entire species.
It is also important to have variety in ecosystems - forests, deserts, wetlands, swamps, prairies, oceans etc. They help keep varieties of species alive.
We don't think about bacteria as very important, but bacteria in the soil helps crops grow. Birds control pests and improve harvests. Plants and trees filter our water and our air.
FOR SELFISH REASONS!
Be selfish about endangered species! Problems with species are often the first sign that there are problems with people. The bog turtle's problems indicate water quality problems. The bald eagle's problems with thin egg shells was an early sign of DDT (a chemical insecticide) getting into our water and food chain. So protect them to protect yourself!
All of the species on our site are being studied by students at all grade levels. We continue to learn from animals and the problems we create for them and the solutions that we find for dealing with them.
We have a historical record of extinctions in recent times and the foissil record of past extinctions. Many species play a part in our living history.
Millions of people enjoy camping, hiking, bird watching, rowing, kayaking, backpacking, fishing, hunting, biking and other outdoor. What kind of nature do you want to enjoy? Probably the best one available!
Most of our medicines come from plants and animals. Probably most of our FUTURE medicines and cures will be found there too. What if the species of animal or plant to disappear next is the one that would lead to a cure for cancer or AIDS? can we afford to take that chance?
Don't we owe to future generations to give them the same opportunities in all the areas listed above? If we have made problems with our Earth, isn't it our job to fix them if we can?
The little dwarf wedge mussel inhabits creek and river areas with a slow to moderate current and a sand, gravel, or muddy bottom. These areas must be nearly silt free, which means that polluted waterways will not support them. Their appearance, as with many endangered species, indicates a healthy environment. The construction of dams alters these conditions. Upstream from each dam, heavy silt deposits (silt is the fine powdery dirt and sediment that settles in water that moves slowly), combined with low oxygen levels, makes the area unsuitable for mussels. Downstream of the dams, water level and temperature changes from water let out by power generators also hurt. In some areas below the dams, the river banks have changed because the water flow is lower and never floods naturally anymore so a sandy, gravel, or muddy bottom no longer exists. Who caused these changes? WE DID? Who should fix them? WE SHOULD!