Endangered Species :
An Endangered Species is a group (population) of plants, animals or other organisms that is in danger of becoming extinct. This could happen because there are few of that animal left, its predators have grown in number, or the climate that it lives in is changing, or the places it lives in have been destroyed. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has worked out that endangered species are 40% of all organisms.
How Plants and Animals Become Endangered :
Animals and plants depend on each other and their environment to survive. When their environment, or habitat, changes or disappears, plants and animals may become endangered. Natural disasters or changes in the climate can harm or destroy habitats.
Humans can cause species to become endangered as well. Humans pollute habitats with garbage, car fumes, and factory wastes. They destroy habitats by clearing land for roads, buildings, and farms. They also may hunt and kill too many of certain types of animals.
The arrival of a new species in a habitat is another threat. Often the new species spreads freely because it has no natural enemies. The species already in the habitat may not be able to compete against the newcomer. For example, mongooses brought to Jamaica in the 1800s killed many native animals.
Some of the animals that are listed as endangered are :
Polar Bear :
This may be the largest terrestrial carnivore in the world, although Alaskan brown bears reach about the same weight. Compared with other bears, the polar bear has a slender body covered with thick yellowish white fur, and a small head set on a long neck. The hind dogs are longer than the front legs, which causes the back to slope forward. The slope of the feet are covered with fine hair down to the small callouses at the toes.The ears are small . Like its relative , the American black bear, it’s tail never measures more than 12 cm. The length of the head and body is 2.5 m with a shoulder height of about 1.5 m. They weigh between 500 to 700 kg.
The diurnal polar bear is solitary. Pairs are formed only for a few days, while mating takes place in April on May. Adult polar bears wander from icefloe to icefloe, but do seem to have a favourite hunting ground. They are truly carnivorous , feeding on seals and fish . They are good swimmers and paddle with their front legs only.
Location : Polar Regions.
Habitat : Icefloes and coastal waters.
‘Tiger comes from the Greek word, “tigers,’ for the animal.
There is a large difference between the various subspecies of tigers. The smallest subspecies in the javan tiger, and the largest is the siberian tiger found in Manchuria and siberia. Depending on climate, the length of the coat also varies, but the striped pattern is similar in all tigers. This largest of all cats grows over 2.7 m long, with another 90 cm for its tail. And it can weigh up to 330 kg.
The tiger is essentially a solitary animal. It has a clearly staked out territory of up to 1000 square km, which it patrols at regular intervals, marking t with droppings and other signs. It hunts at night, lying in ambush for a wide variety of prey, such as deer, buffalo goats and smaller mammals. It is an agile animal and swims well. In colder northern climates, it accumulates up to two inches of fat beneath its skin.
The total number of tigers in the world is now reduced to a few thousands, and many local races are virtually extinct already.
Location : India and eastern Asia.
Habitat: Terrestrial , Variable, including most forest types.
Black Rhinoceros :
‘Rhinoceros’ literally means ‘nose horn,’ and in this species, we have the ‘bicornis ,’ which means ‘two horn.’ The Asian rhino has bit one horn.
The black rhino differs from the white rhinoceros is having a proportionately head and ears, set more to the side, no hump at the base of the neck, and an upper lip that is triangular in shape, very flexible and prehensile. It has two horns, the front one being the longer of the two and measuring up to more than 1.2 m long! in some individuals, the front horn points forward rather than upwards. These large animals stretch almost 3.6 m from stem to stern, and stand about 1.5 m tall at the shoulders. They weigh around 1500 kg at maturity.
Location : Africa.
Habitat : Terrestrial. Scrubs and savanna , open forested areas, up to an elevation of 3,450 m.
African or Cape Hunting Dog :
The African hunting Dogs is of the same size and shape as a large dog, but its mottled colouring and large ears make it unmistakable.The head is large and resembles that of a hyena. The muzzle is black and the forehead has a black line in the middle. the legs are long and slender, and the feet have only four toes. The coat pattern is never the same in any two African hunting dogs. The tail has a white plume at the tip. the head and the body is about a metre long and the tail is about 30 to 40 cm. They weigh up to 30 kg.
This dog lives in large packs of five to twenty animals, sometimes as many as fifty. It is one of the most efficient of all predators, and will attack victims of all sizes, from large elands to small hares. Its organized method of hunting enables it to bring down its prey quickly, sometimes in a few seconds. the prey is fed upon, sometimes while still alive, and may be entirely consumed within a few minutes.
Location: Sub-Saharan Africa , expect forested areas.
Habitat: Terrestrial. Savanna.
Musk Deer :
The Hindi name of this small deer is ‘ Kastura ‘.
This small animal is not more than 60 cm high at the shoulder. It comes between the antelope and the deer. It has neither horns nor face glands. A peculiar characteristic of this deer is that it has a gall bladder and a musk gland. Its tail is hidden in its hair of anal region. The musk gland is beneath the skin of the abdomen of the males. Its secretion, when fresh, has a pungent and urinary smell. But when its gets dry, it has the scent of the musk. The musk is valued very high. It is because of this that hunters and poachers killed a large numbers of these animals, sending them to the verge of extinction.
Its coat is bristly and thick. The colour of the ,musk deer is dark brown speckled with grey. The animal has mobile feet and pointed hooves. The hooves give the animal a foothold on snowy slopes and slippery rocks and ledges.
Location : North and central India.
Habitat : Mountains forest and woodland.
A male and full-grown chinkara stands 65 cm at the shoulder and weighs around 23 kg. Its horns reach a length of 30 cm, having 15 to 20 rings. The horns of does are generally small and reach a length of around 13 cm.
It is slender and graceful. the body above is of chestnut colour. However the colour deepens where it joins the white of the underparts on the flanks and buttocks. one can mark a white streak down each side of its face , and a dusky patch above the nose.
It is found in the plains and low hills of central and north- western india. Some herds of Chinkara can also be found along the banks of the krishna river in the south.
Chinkara is facing extinction because people are still killing them for sport and meat.