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Why save endangered animals?

  1. Jun 11, 2006 #1
    It may be a stupid question, but it's real, and I can't come up with any good reasons to why should we save endangered animals. Any ideas?

    F.ex, Would anything important happen if there were no grizzly bears?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2006
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  3. Jun 11, 2006 #2

    Hootenanny

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    We should save all the species that we, as humans, have made endangered either directly (hunting / detroying habitat) or indirectly(upsetting ecosystem). All others (very small number) we should allow nature to take its course.
     
  4. Jun 11, 2006 #3

    Pengwuino

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    How do we know nature is only accounting for a small number? What are the percentages?
     
  5. Jun 11, 2006 #4

    Hootenanny

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    Sorry, I would imagine it to be a very small number. I think penguins are one of the only species we have not had an effect on :tongue2: ; although there is still time...
     
  6. Jun 11, 2006 #5
    Yes, but seriously, Hootenanny, do you have a good reason to why save?
    And wait, let me ask you another silly question? What's the importance of animals in our environment?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2006
  7. Jun 11, 2006 #6

    Hootenanny

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    Well for one, if we have endagered their species, surely it is upto as a humans to do whatever we can to sustain their species? And for two all animals (except insects and arachnids) are beautiful and magestic. I for one would be sad to see them go. Do you have a good reason for not saving these species?
     
  8. Jun 11, 2006 #7
    Well, some beautiful ones tend to be quite killy as well, large cats, etc.
     
  9. Jun 11, 2006 #8

    Hootenanny

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    All lifeforms are integral to our enviroment as a whole. You remove / add one species and that could unbalance an entire ecosystem. The point was emphisied when rabbits were introduced into austrailia.
     
  10. Jun 11, 2006 #9

    Hootenanny

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    I still would rather save them than see them disappear from the face of the earth.
     
  11. Jun 11, 2006 #10
    I'll see whether I have good reasons for why not to save them if I get the good reason for saving them because as of now, my knowledge of environmental science isn't too high, and the reason I'm thinking about may be just empty piece of words without truth in itself.
    OK, so your reason is beauty and their unique existance?
     
  12. Jun 11, 2006 #11

    Hootenanny

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    And RE post number 8, every lifeform is integral to an ecosystem. But surely beauty alone is a sufficent reason as any.
     
  13. Jun 11, 2006 #12
    Ok, let me ask another question, which animals do you think are not beautiful?
     
  14. Jun 11, 2006 #13

    Astronuc

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    Because it's the right thing to do! That's good enough for me. :cool:
     
  15. Jun 11, 2006 #14

    Hootenanny

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    As a said before, arachnids, as I have arachnidphobia and certain insects.
     
  16. Jun 11, 2006 #15
    and how do you know saving them is a right thing to do? :tongue2:
     
  17. Jun 11, 2006 #16
    Because many ecosystems will break down if certain animals become extinct...isn't that enough?

    ...and the golden rule #2 of course: Treat animals as you would want to be treated. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2006
  18. Jun 11, 2006 #17
    Animals such as tigers and owls are intelligent, living things like you and I and thus some would argue that to kill them unnecessarily is evil. It would follow that if your people had a part in almost annihilating that animal's entire species then it would only be right to at least make an attempt to reverse the damages you've caused. If a species is naturally dying out (i.e. without human intervention) then I suppose the only reason someone would want to save them would be just for the sake of having them around. There may also be repercussions having to do with the food chain etc. but you'd have to ask a biologist about that since I'm not very familiar with the subject.
     
  19. Jun 11, 2006 #18

    Astronuc

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    Because I am part of the interdependent web of all existence. It is a matter of stewardship.
     
  20. Jun 11, 2006 #19
    OK, but don't you think that once 90% (more or less) of girls become really beautiful, all of them somehow lose their beauty on its own and become ordinary girls, and their look starts too be judged not after beauty anymore but after ugliness? I think similar is with animals, when most of them are beautiful, they aren't somehow special, and rather the importance to the environment should be the criteria and not the beauty. Because how would it change the environment if every arachnid were substituted with a lion?

    Yes, but if the species are already endangered, and the environment still exists, then total extinction of a species, wouldn't further break the environment (only I think). And again as above, how would the environment break down, if there were no grizzly bears or sea cows?
     
  21. Jun 11, 2006 #20

    JasonRox

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    How boring would this planet be with just humans!?

    That's good enough for me.

    Your question is similiar to asking why stop if a pedestrian starts to walk across the road? It won't affect us if that person dies. Might as well not stop and just hit the person.
     
  22. Jun 11, 2006 #21

    Moonbear

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    There are a lot of emotional reasons, but this is the primary one. Particularly when a species is endangered because of our reckless killing of it, it has a trickle-down effect on entire ecosystems...their predators also die off, their prey have a population explosion, that impacts the vegetation (even crops), all the way down to insects and disease.

    Take for example farmers killing off snakes because they don't like them or are worried for their livestock. The natural prey of the snakes, small rodents, have a population explosion, and not only do they feast on the crops, but also carry diseases back to the humans...rabies, Lyme disease, etc. If those snakes become endangered, helping them recover is the only way to restore balance to the ecosystem. It would be different if we were relying on them to survive ourselves, because there would be a natural check to our own population if we depleted too many of an animal we needed to survive, but since we don't need them to survive and just kill them indiscriminately, we break the loop that keeps everything balanced.
     
  23. Jun 11, 2006 #22
    Wow, I've just became enlightnened. What a nice feeling when it happens.
    Thanks JasonRox.
    The only necessary reason for saving the endangered animals, is simply to let and help them live.

    Thank you all.
     
  24. Jun 11, 2006 #23
    Did you not read moonbear's post? Even endangered species have an effect on the ecosystem...so they must be protected to preserve the ecosystem as well. While the effects of them being endangered is already being felt, the effects will increase if they do become extinct. As humans, it is necessary to try and let things happen as naturally as possible (as in, the rise and fall of different species), some things we won't be able to fix.
     
  25. Jun 11, 2006 #24
    Actually, I've noticed it just now. It appeared when I was writing my last reply. Ok, now I know all I wanted to know. Previously I thought that endangered species don't have any effect on the already existing environment, well, they do have an effect, that's also a very important reason - to preserve the existing environment, keep it stable, and don't let it be overloaded with exploding amounts of preyed population.
    Thanks Moonbear
     
  26. Jun 12, 2006 #25

    Mk

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    I once posted this question. The same viewpoints have been presented again here, and with one of my posts I repost, all the answers inlie. Tell me what you think.

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=83564&highlight=animals

    As I later posted:

    What about the protozoan Malaria parasite, Plasmodium? Or polio, smallpox, influenza? I think the world did just fine without polio and smallpox.

    Extinction is a natural phenomenon; it is estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever lived are now extinct. Through the laws of evolution, new species are created by speciation — where new organisms arise and thrive when they are able to find and exploit an ecological niche. Species become extinct when are no longer able to survive in changing conditions or against superior competition. Conditions on the Earth are always changing, and dramatically is not rare. It is not something new, caused by humans. Termite mounds, beaver dams, and coral reefs all change their environment dramatically, affecting many other creatures. Are they interferring with nature?
    Yellowstone Park, the first wilderness to be set aside as a natural preserve anywhere in the world, was called a National Park in 1872, by Ulysses Grant. No one had ever tried to preserve wilderness before, they assumed it would be much easier than it proved to be.

    When Theodore Roosevelt visited the park in 1903, he saw a landscape teeming with game. There were thousands of elk, buffalo, black bear, deer, mountain lions, grizzlies, coyotes, wolves, and bighorn sheep. By that time there were rules in place to keep things the way they were. The Park Service was formed, a new bureaucracy whose sole purpose was the maintain the park in its original condition.

    Within 10 years, the teeming landscape that Roosevelt saw was gone forever. The reason for this was because of the Park rangers, they were supposed to be keeping the park in pristine condition, and had taken a series of steps that they thought were in the best interest of preserving the park.

    The Park Service mistankenly believed that elk were becoming extinct, they tried to increase the elk herds within the park by eliminating predators. To that end, they shot and poisoned all the wolves in the park, of course not intending to kill all of them. They also prohibited local Native Americans from hunting there, even though Yellowstone was a traditional hunting ground.

    Totally protected now, the elk herd population exploded and they ate so much of certain trees and grasses, that the ecology of the park began to change. The elk ate defoliated trees that the beavers used to make dams, so the beavers vanished. That was when manages found out that beavers were vital to the overall management of the region. When the beavers vanished, meadows dried up, trout and otter populations receded, soil erosion increased, park ecology changed even further.

    By the 1920s, it was clear there were way too many elk, os the rangers shot them by the thousands. The change in plant ecology seemed permanent; the old mix of trees and grasses did not return.

    It also became clear that Native American hunters had exerted a valueable ecological influence on the park lands by keeping down the numbers of elk, moose, and bison. This recognition came as a part of a general understanding that the Native Americans strongly shaped the untouched wilderness white men thought they saw.

    North American humans had exerted a huge influencee on the environment for thousands of years, by burning palins grasses, modifying forests, thinning out specific animal populations, and hunting others to extinction - capitulation to a superior species.

    The rule forbidding Native Americans from hunting was seen as a mistake, but it was just one of many that continued to be made by the Park Service. Grizzlies were protected, then killed off, Wolves were killed off, then brought back. Radio collars research was halted, then resumed. Fire prevention policies were instituted, with no understanding of the regenerative effects of fire. When the policy was reversed, thousands of acres were burned so hotly to the ground that it was sterilized, and forests did not grow back without reseeding. Rainbow trout were introduced in the 70s, that species killed off the native cutthroat species. And on and on and on and on.

    It is a history of ignorant, incompetent, intrusive interveintion, followed by disastrous attempts to repair, followed by attempts to repair damage caused by repairs. Just as dramatic as any oil spill or toxic waste dump, but in these ones there are no evil awful big corporations, or fossil fuel economy to blame. These are disasters caused by environmentalists, the very people who wanted to protect the environement, who made one mistake after another.

    Passive protection, leaving things alone, doesn't preserve the status quo within a wilderness any more than it does in your backyard. The world is alive, things are constantly in flux. Species are winning, losing, rising, falling, exploding, bottlenecking, taking over, being pushed back. Merely leaving it alone doesn't put it in a state of supsended animation. Its like locking your son or daughter in their bedroom and expecting them not to grow up.

    Humans do care what happens to the environment in the future, and try hard. Humans just don't know what they are doing, period. We haven't made an action that only had postive consequences yet - banning DDT, Solar panels, Water recycling systems for homes, abolishing CFCs.

    Why are we interferring with the course of nature? Why do some try to keep it the way it is? Why do some blame humans for changing it? It will change for better or for worse, if we are here are not here. If humans were in this state of development before the last ice age, we would blame each other for causing it.
     
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