Endangered species are on the brink of becoming extinct, especially as a result of human activity. The prominent factors in the endangerment or the extinction of a species is the destruction or pollution of its natural habitat, overhunting, intentional extermination, or introduction of unfriendly species that outcompete the native species for natural resources.
Accordingly, a species tends to be vulnerable when its population has declined between 30 and 50 percent (habitat loss being the main cause here), or if its “extent of occurrence” is estimated
to be less than 20,000 square kilometers i.e. the smallest area that could accommodate a species’ population, or even if its “area of occupancy” (where a specific population of a species resides) is less than 20,000 square kilometers.
There are many reasons as to why certain species are becoming vulnerably endangered today.
For instance, overhunting of mostly large and slow animals such as Passenger Pigeon, and overharvesting of plants such as the Goldenseal plant has caused these species to be on the verge of extinction. Similarly, one of the biggest reasons for a huge decline in both the animal and plant species is the loss of habitat, incumbently due to deforestation, agricultural spread, water extraction, mining and human migration.
There are over 90 species of mammals, birds, and reptiles in our country Pakistan, which are endangered. These include 50 mammals, 27 birds, and 17 reptiles. These are apparently categorized into three lists: the “critically endangered species” which encapsulate the Siberian crane, the white-rumped vulture, the long-billed vulture, the red-headed vulture and the hawksbill turtle. Secondly, the “endangered species” which encompasses the Kashmir grey langur, Indus dolphin, finback whale, Baluchistan bear, musk deer, hog deer, green turtle, Indian pangolin, Egyptian vulture, and Indian narrow-headed turtle. Thirdly, the “vulnerable species” which according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), consists of the common leopard, snow leopard, Ladakh urial, greater spotted eagle, fish eagle, houbara bustard, crowned river turtle, Indian soft-shell turtle, and many other mammals, birds and reptiles in Pakistan.
Besides these species, the national animal of Pakistan is also a threatened species i.e. MARKHOR. But luckily, it was discovered earlier in 2015 that its population has increased by 20%. Mountain weasel, Asian Black Bear, Baluchistan Forest Dormouse, Black Finless Porpoise, European Otter, Vole, Branded Eagle Ray, Bigeye Tuna, and Marco Polo Sheep are also among one of the severely affected species in Pakistan, due to the common reasons mentioned above.
National Wildlife Federation works to defend, to strengthen, fund, and ensure effective implementation of the Endangered Species Act and other protection laws for wildlife. Certain acts have been devised to prevent the extinction of plants and animals, such as the “Defending and strengthening the Endangered Species Act”. The federal agencies are also being held accountable for complying with laws protecting rare and endangered species.
Furthermore, State Wildlife Action Plans have also been introduced as one of the best ways to protect the decline and deterioration of endangered species by maintaining healthy populations of wildlife through promoting broad-based conservation effort programs.
However, it is not only a governmental or an authoritative act to save these species, but the precautions begin at home. Most importantly, we must stop harassing wildlife cruelly for illegal shooting and should stop destroying forests, for preserving their habitats is equivalent to preserving them.