Over the past century, we have seen the dramatic rise in animal extinctions. Scientists study these animals to determine the cause of their demise. While there are lists consisting of hundreds of creatures who are no longer around, there are another thousand that we never knew existed. As average citizens, there may not be much we can do, other than donating to the cause. However, it never hurts to continue educating ourselves on the status of the nature that surrounds us.
Humans are often to blame for the extinction or endangerment of an animal species. From hunting to pollution, there are hundreds of creatures who were unable to survive the world that we live in today. On the contrary, there are other animals who simply lacked the rate of reproduction to keep up with the changing environments around them. While many in the field consider extinction a “natural phenomenon,” the rate of animals going away forever is alarming. According to The Center for Biological Diversity, one to five species are naturally wiped from this earth every year. With the addition of human interference, that statistic goes up by up to 1,000 times.
Since 2012, wildlife ecologist David Steen has been developing the annual extinction list. In an effort the educate the public about the rapid rate at which we are losing animals on this planet. With the list, Steen hopes to not only educate society but to also show them how devastatingly fast we are losing precious creatures of the world.
While Steen continues to inform us about animals we are losing, others are making efforts to do the seemingly impossible. Bring back extinct animals. Through a process, appropriately called “de-extinction”, scientists are considering the possibility of bringing back animals who are extinct. To choose the right animals, they consider specific details including the animal’s ecological functions and the availability of tissues with quality DNA samples. Right now, the list for possible “win-backs” is at 25. Should they be successful, this could be a major step forward for not only extinct animals but for those who are endangered list.