We should protect endangered animals. What are your views?
This is written as an extra, self-directed exercise.
Advocacy for the protection of endangered animals has been gaining momentum
in recent years, with the growing availability of information regarding the
scientific importance of maintaining a biological equilibrium in the ecosystem.
From time to time, news of demonstrations calling for stricter laws against
animal trafficking and wildlife consumption attract attention and fuel heated
debates. But still, some people turn a blind eye to the plight of animals
tittering on the edge of extinction, saying dismissively that there is nothing
more we can and should do, because everything is a result of natural selection
and animals in danger today are just the losers in Nature’s unremitting tests.
Yet I beg to differ – for the benefits of ourselves and our progeny, we should
not be apathetic to the crises facing those poor animals: we should take the
initiative to protect their races from going extinct.
From a self-preserving perspective, we need to help animals on the verge of
extinction because our fate and theirs are inextricably linked. The entire Earth
is one shared space where every species coexists, and any change to that
environment would affect the lives of all. Every being is interconnected and
interdependent, for each plays a part in the grand Circle of Life: predators
rely on their prey for nutrition, and their prey hinge their survival on the
lower levels of the food chain – from the very base, plants, to the very top,
carnivorous animals, a pyramid of existence is built. This means that the
disappearance of an entire section of the ecological web would directly
undermine the survival of the other sections as the entire food chain crumbles.
As we humans are one link in the ecosystem, the other species’ inability to
maintain existence would ultimately hurt our own chance of survival. In other
words, if we do not take action to help animals on the edge of dying out, we are
taking a suicidal path towards humankind’s extinction.
Besides the pragmatic concern of our own ability to survive, there is
another reason why we should protect endangered animals – because having a more
diverse pool of species could ensure the quality of life our descendants enjoy.
Our future generations should have the same opportunity as we do to see many
kinds of animals and appreciate the biodiversity of Earth, taking Nature in her
full beauty and pristineness as a worthy inheritance. Imagine how disappointed
and melancholic our progeny would be if they can only behold the majesty of
tigers in photos and listen to the chirping birds in recordings! In Beijing, the
cemetery for extinct animals has arranged tombstones in remembrance of species
no longer living on Earth and tourists visiting there to learn about the
heart-breaking tales of these animals going extinct are often moved to tears by
imagining their hardship and suffering. Undoubtedly, we do not want to see our
grandchildren and theirs coming here or to any other places of mourning to
lament the irretrievable loss of so many faunae. Therefore, for the benefit of
our offspring, we should take action to prevent animals already on the brink of
extinction from disappearing forever and preserve the variety of fauna in the
Opponents to the huge resources invested in preservation effort may use
Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ ideology to denounce the validity for human
interference. In their opinion, animals facing immense difficulties in survival
nowadays could blame no one but their own incompetency in weathering the shifts
in their living environments. In such cases, external intervention in the name
of assistance would be a violation to Nature’s laws. However, their stance is
flawed. Darwin’s famed theory may indeed explain the unforgiving process of
natural selection determining the continual existence of species –animals like
dinosaurs and mammoths once thriving on Earth were unable to adapt to
environmental changes which ultimately reduced their kinds to the silent,
forgotten margins in the book of history, paying for their failures with the
price of extinction. Yet Darwin’s words could not explain the extinction and
near extinction of all species, particularly those that owe their misfortune to
humanity. Hence, ‘survival for the fittest’ should by no means be chanted as an
omnipotent mantra to absolve humankind of all guilt for endangered animals’
current predicament, because other than the victims of Nature, many species
facing the danger of dying out today could trace their downfall to the selfish,
greedy acts of human. Japanese’s penchant for whales in their dining culture has
been the culprit of their near extinction with hundreds of whale-hunting ships
slaughtering the poor animal in many seas; Australians’ mercenary exploits in
boosting their animal husbandry triggered the mass killing of thylacines which
were completely exterminated. It is thus our responsibility to atone for our
mistakes and prevent those animals that we hurt from repeating the tragedy of
those already extinct.
“Stop being passive; take action so that things won’t get worse!” This is
the call at once passionate and heartbroken raised by environmental activist
Barbara Barrett, the global ambassador for Wildlife Conservation Society.
Indeed, humankind has already erred and pushed many species to the point of near
extinction, and it is high time that we stop pointing an accusing finger at
Nature and reflect on our past mistakes. For the welfare of our descendants who
would be no doubt deserving of and grateful for inheriting a world full of
wonder, beauty and vibrant diversity, and for the survival and growth of our own
kind, we should take active steps to help endangered animals. I believe, as long
as we are willing to play our part in preserving the biodiversity of Earth, we
can see tangible results – in the lofty strides of lions roaming the plains of
Africa, in the wide-spread wings of eagles soaring above the mountains of South
America, and in the excited squeals of seals swimming in the waters of the