Protecting the Scenic Beauty of Wildlife By Jeramy Buckman CM220 Unit 9 Final Project 7/17/12 I want everyone to close your eyes and picture yourself in the Rocky Mountains with your children hiking up a trail to your favorite camping site next to a hidden lake. While walking down the trail you are looking around looking for animals prints to show your children. You are excited to show your children some of the beautiful wildlife that you got to see when you where their age when your parents did this for you.
As you and your children are walking you start to realize that you are not really seeing any wildlife that should be very abundant in this area. You also are noticing that there are not as many wild flowers and plants that were also here. You finally realize that you will not be able to give your children the wonderful memories that you received as a child. As you may have realized that this is a problem that we are starting to see and face today. Many times animals become extinct causing changes to the scientific life cycle, environment, scenic sights, food sources and many others.
This has a drastic affect not only one our habitat and environment but can and will also affect us as humans. We as people can prevent and preserve this beauty for future generations all we have to do is understand the problem and take action. We need to educate ourselves and our children of the importance of animals and how to protect them. We need to understand what happens when we introduce an exotic species to an area, about pollution, habitat destruction, over using animals, poaching, the punishment for poaching, and how we can help prevent all of this.
Every day we are rapidly losing many different plant and animal species. With this rapid decrease of these animals and plants we start to lose the beautiful sights that we grew up with, taking away those potential memories from our children and generations to come. Ten thousand scientists in the World Conservation Union stated that anywhere between 2. 7 and 270 species are erased from existence every day including today. So broken down, 1 out or 4 mammals, 1 out of 8 birds, 1 out of 3 amphibians are at risk of extinction (Whitty, J. 2007). This is not the only thing that can happen though.
With the loss of these species it starts to affect the plants and animals around them causing them to slowly die out. This then can end up causing more drastic effect to the environment and even us. As E. O. Wilson stated in a speech: “that if we were able to kill off all the insects that it would lead to our own extinction” (2007). First, I want to provide a friendly recap of what many of us have learned as a child in school, and that is the food chain. The food chain basically contains four important groups. The first group of the chain is the sun. This offers energy to everything on this planet.
The next group is the producers. These are things that are able to make their own food by using the energy the sun provides. Examples of these are, grass, trees, flowers, vegetables, etc. Next, we have the consumers. Consumers are any species that eats something, either plants or other animals. Finally, we have the decomposers. These are things like bacteria or fungi that take something that has died and breaks it down and produces gases like carbon and nitrogen. They then release that back into the air, soil, or water where it will be used by future producers (ThinkQuest, 2012).
When an animal (such as a grizzly bear) becomes extinct this an effect not only on the food chain but the food web also. When the bear is gone it is no longer eating other plants or animals, which can then lead to them starting to over populate. Over time these plants and animals are going to start to decline because their food sources are being depleted due to the increased numbers. So as you can see even the smallest species plays an important role and affects everything around them. There are many things that are the leading causes of animal endangerment and extinction.
One of these causes is the introduction of exotic species not found in a specific area. When this is done it can affect the balance of things. Lets’ take the government’s action to introduce the grey wolf into Montana and how it had a drastic effect on things. First off the grey wolf that the government introduced was not the species of grey wolf that are native to Montana. Because of this introduction many of us noticed the numbers of deer and elk started to rapidly decrease. And like I mentioned earlier the deer population decreasing has an effect on other species of plants and animals that depend on them.
So the biggest thing that not only the government, but us also, is that we have to remember is that we need to introduce animals in the area that they normally come from instead of an area that has never known that type of species. Another factor that is causing the increase of endangerment and extinction of species is habitat destruction. The greatest force that causes habitat destruction is the human being. We cut down forests to make room for our expansion and needs. We cause pollution of the land, water, and air which in turn can also increase the greenhouse effect (Kurpis, L. 002). So what are some of the ways that we can prevent this? That is an ongoing battle that we fight today. For the pollution is to use greener more environment friendly types of energy such as wind or solar, drive less or carpool, and of course recycling is a big help. Also keep in contact with the state government if you notice factories or companies that happen to be polluting and see if there may be a safer alternative. Never be afraid to write to state officials, remember we helped to get them into office so they can help us protect the animals.
This leads to another cause of the increase of endangerment and extinction is what some call “over exploitation”. This is when we “over use” a species. This can be caused by miscounting numbers of a species in an area, and then over hunting that area, causing a drastic drop in numbers. Again we are not just affecting that species but others that are part of that food web in that area. Another reason why animals’ numbers are declining is due to poaching. Poaching is the knowledgeable and purposeful illegal killing of an animal. This is done either for trophies such as antlers, horns, or other things that poachers will classify as a trophy.
Some poachers will do it for money selling the animal meat or trophies to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, some do it because they need the food and cannot afford to wait till the proper hunting season, or come across the animal in a no hunting area. Yet some poachers do it for the sport of the kill. This affects us because they are killing and wasting animals that can be hunted during proper hunting seasons, kill endangered species, and other animals that are not allowed to be hunted (Fish, Wildlife, & Parks 2012). Here in Montana we do have laws against poaching but is it enough?
The punishment for poaching an animal can be a fine of $50 up to $35,000, jail time from 6 months up to 20 years the loss of hunting, fishing, and trapping rights from 2 years to life and possible restitution for the animal based off of the species, sex, age, and whether it was a trophy animal or not. The bad thing about this is that not all judges will give the maximum punishment and give more of a “slap on the wrist”. For example a person was caught poaching two moose and the judge sentenced them with a fine of $50,000, no time in jail and the loss of their hunting rights for 8 years.
I feel that we as a whole need to contact our state legislature and try to get the punishment increased and enforced better, because I feel that some poachers don’t learn the lesson. Again we will use the hunter mentioned earlier. He didn’t learn his lesson because he still brags about what he done and goes around telling people of other animals he has poached since then. If we can get additional laws and bills passed I believe that this will help limit the amount of animals killed due to poaching. Some of you are asking, “What can we personally do about poaching”.
One of the ways that you can help reduce the numbers of poachers is if you happen to see an animal being killed illegally you need to report it to the local Fish and Game, Forest Service or the local authorities. Second if you are a hunter or a fisher make sure that you know that the area that you are hunting/fishing is an area that is not protected against it. On way you can do this is by purchasing a local map that will show areas that are allowed to be hunted or places that you can seek permission to hunt or fish. Always keep an eye out for no hunting or no trespassing signs which are the number one way to know you can’t be there.
Also, you want to make sure that you become familiar with the animals or fish that you are trying to get so that you don’t shoot or fish something that you should not. For example black bears are not always black but can also be brown. This can lead someone to shoot a grizzly which happens to be a protected animal. You need to learn the distinguishing marks and differences between the black bear and the grizzly before you go hunting. You should always get the hunting/fishing regulations because they always include information on the species and what to look for so that you know what you are trying to hunt or fish.
Another option is that you can research the animal that you are going to be hunting and get information and pictures of them so you can become familiar with the species. And finally you can always take hunters safety which will give you additional hunting and fishing knowledge. You have to remember that poaching isn’t always done on purpose it can be done due to the lack of knowledge. The main this that everyone has to keep in mind is that poaching is illegal and needs to be stopped. We need to remember to know the areas that we can and cannot hunt or fish.
We also need to have a running knowledge of the animals that we are hunting and fishing so as not to shoot something that looks similar only to find out that it is a different species. And above all is if you see or know someone that is poaching is that you need to report it to the proper authorities. With this knowledge and understanding of poaching together we can help lower one of the reasons for the rapid decline of animals. So as you can see, we as humans need to take a stand and start helping to protect what many of us hold very dear to us and future generations.
We need to educate ourselves and future generations of the importance of animals. We need to limit, as best as possible, the amount of habitat that we destroy. We also need to understand the amount and types of species that we bring into an area. We need to understand and help prevent pollution not only for our sake but also the animals. Above all we need to take a stand against the over exploitation of animals and the biggest one is poaching. If we stand together I feel very confident that we can make a difference and protect our childhood scenic beauty to share with future generations to come. References
Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (2012). Poaching in Montana. Source Retrieved from http://fwp. mt. gov/enforcement/crimes/poaching. html Kurpis, L (2002). Causes of endangerment. Source Retrieved from http://www. endangeredspecie. com/causes_of_endangerment. htm ThinkQuest (2012). The food chain. Source Retrieved from http://library. thinkquest. org/11353/food. htm Wilson, E. O. (2007). Saving life on earth. Source Retrieved from http://www. ted. com/talks/e_o_wilson_on_saving_life_on_earth. html Whitty, J. (2007). Animal extinction – the greatest threat to mankind. Source Retrieved from http://www. commondreams. org/archive/2007/04/30/862
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