There are a few thousand endangered species around the world. As global warming progresses, polar bears are losing their habitat because of melting glaciers, and koalas are at risk of extinction due to wildfires in Australia. There are various reasons why animals are endangered, mainly due to climate change, ecological destruction, and capture by humans.
How do animals become extinct? Black bears, cranes, and musk deer are some of the firstclass endangered animals, according to the Ministry of Environment.
The Asiatic black bear is endangered because of the ‘Politics of eliminating destructive animals.’ This policy, conducted during the Japanese colonial era, is the most significant factor. As a result, many mammals, including the bear, disappeared although they aren’t harmful animals. Also, numerous Asiatic black bears were captured by poachers because their gallbladders were used as a popular drug.
Musk deer are a very rare species whose numbers don’t increase, because their musk is used for expensive perfume requiring 3-4 deer to make one product. Also, in oriental medicine, their musk is used as a high-quality herb medicine. The demand for perfumes and herb medicines is high, so the number of musk deer is decreasing.
Cranes come to Korea as winter migratory birds staying on mudflats, wetlands, and agricultural land. The number of cranes that come to Korea is increasing each year, but the population is decreasing worldwide. Cranes are threatened because of habitat loss due to landfills in mudflats and wetlands and reduced farmland.
How can we protect endangered animals? According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the fundamental principle of what is beneficial to nature is also helpful to humans is beginning to be widely understood. They have expanded their conservation focus to include climate, energy, oceans, forests, freshwater, and food. What university students can do to protect endangered animals can also be understood in the same context. Vegetarian-oriented meals, reducing single-use packaging, using public transportation, and reducing consumption can help protect endangered animals in ways that minimize the ecological footprint.
In addition, the WWF recently revealed a statement that the coronavirus should be an opportunity to eradicate illegal wildlife trade. This coronavirus shows that unlawful wildlife trade can harm humans as well as ecosystems. So, we should be interested in eliminating the illicit wildlife trade, too.