Extinction happens and there is nothing we can do to truly stop it, but could we be causing different species to go extinct much quicker than the normal rate? Sadly, we are and the damage we have done isn’t something that can be changed.
A lot of the time we don’t even know for sure which species we are truly affected when we do different things. Everything from hunting, climate change, habitat loss, and so much more have been affecting and will continue to affect many different species across the globe. I recently came across a study from back in 2014, and it really put things into perspective for me.
This study was published in Conservation Biology and its abstract goes as follows:
A key measure of humanity’s global impact is by how much it has increased species extinction rates. Familiar statements are that these are 100–1000 times pre‐human or background extinction levels. Estimating recent rates is straightforward, but establishing a background rate for comparison is not. Previous researchers chose an approximate benchmark of 1 extinction per million species per year (E/MSY). We explored disparate lines of evidence that suggest a substantially lower estimate. Fossil data yield direct estimates of extinction rates, but they are temporally coarse, mostly limited to marine hard‐bodied taxa, and generally involve genera not species. Based on these data, typical background loss is 0.01 genera per million genera per year. Molecular phylogenies are available for more taxa and ecosystems, but it is debated whether they can be used to estimate separately speciation and extinction rates. We selected data to address known concerns and used them to determine median extinction estimates from statistical distributions of probable values for terrestrial plants and animals. We then created simulations to explore effects of violating model assumptions. Finally, we compiled estimates of diversification—the difference between speciation and extinction rates for different taxa. Median estimates of extinction rates ranged from 0.023 to 0.135 E/MSY. Simulation results suggested over‐ and under‐estimation of extinction from individual phylogenies partially canceled each other out when large sets of phylogenies were analyzed. There was no evidence for recent and widespread pre‐human overall declines in diversity. This implies that average extinction rates are less than average diversification rates. Median diversification rates were 0.05–0.2 new species per million species per year. On the basis of these results, we concluded that typical rates of background extinction may be closer to 0.1 E/MSY. Thus, current extinction rates are 1,000 times higher than natural background rates of extinction and future rates are likely to be 10,000 times higher.
Yes, you read that correctly. We have caused the extinction rates to rise 1,000 times higher than they would be naturally. Isn’t that completely mind-blowing? We have had devastating effects on the animals around us and most people don’t care at all.
This decline is much more intense in amphibians, and while we might not all see the effects day in and day out they are still quite prominent. Should we be allowing this to happen? Change is drastically needed if we want to preserve the rest of the species before us, everything holds importance in this world whether you are aware of that importance or not.
Extinction is a growing problem, and if we are causing it to speed up this much we need to take responsibility and get things under control. Once these animals are dead, they are gone forever. Please watch the video below, and learn what YOU can do for the animals.