Eli Dresbach, a past volunteer of Kids Saving the Rainforest and a current high school student, is working on their senior capstone project and had a few questions for us about the preservation of wildlife. They asked three important questions...
What is the Impact of a Species Going Extinct?
Why Should Humans Make Efforts to Protect Endangered Animals?
How Can We Save Endangered Species?
Does this photo look familiar?
Of course! They are the co-founders of KSTR, Janine and Aislin!
Aislin was so kind to answer Eli's questions. Not only are these answers extremely great to have in a senior capstone project, this educational information can also benefit anyone who cares and wants to spread the word about wildlife preservation. Share with your friends, your students, your families. The more we understand the impact we have on our world, the closer we can get to protecting our home, our environment, and our species.
Read Aislin's answers below!
What is the impact of species going extinct?
The impact of species extinction is as diverse as the species themselves, and will be felt differently around the world. Individual species all play an important role in sustaining healthy environments. Depending on where an organism is on the food chain, species extinction can have a cascading effect far greater than the loss of one single animal. For example, the loss of a large predatory mammal could result in a population explosion among herbivores which could in turn lead to declines in forest cover. Because of the complex relationships between species in any given environment, the direct and indirect impacts of extinction can be difficult to predict but potentially catastrophic. We see examples of this time and again all around the world. Plus, without insects, plants, and animals that make up healthy ecosystems, our livelihoods and general wellbeing are also threatened.
Why should humans make efforts to protect endangered animals?
Simply put: because we can! And our lives depend on it. In almost all situations animals become endangered either directly or indirectly as a result of human activities. On the other hand, wildlife protection measures often have indirect benefits for human communities. For example, in Costa Rica, protecting and restoring mangrove habitat benefits the wildlife that lives there but also provides a barrier to coastal flooding, along with important tourism and recreation opportunities for local communities. For less pragmatic reasons, we should strive to protect endangered animals because they have a right to inhabit the earth without being threatened by human activities. Animals of all shapes and sizes are also a big part of many cultures and inspire a sense of wonder in the environment (which helps us be better stewards in our own backyards). I'm personally grateful to have lived in a place with such a huge diversity of insects, mammals, and birds!
How can we save endangered species?
This is a big question! One size does not fit all but we've had some big successes (and failures) and can learn from these to direct conservation efforts. Conservation does not happen in a vacuum. With thoughtful effort and collaboration, we can not only save endangered species, but prevent species decline in the first place. And, as I mentioned before, every organism has an important role to play in its environment. Saving endangered species sometimes means focusing efforts on lesser known organisms that are critically important for keeping habitats healthy.
At Kids Saving the Rainforest (as our name suggests!) we believe that there is huge potential for positive change when children and youth get involved with conservation efforts. But EVERYONE has a role to play. Saving endangered species means working together, taking action early, investing in proven solutions, and exploring innovative ways to protect wildlife.
The Kids Saving the Rainforest staff