Extinction is simply the process of a species or group of animals no longer existing. If an animal is becoming extinct, it is referred to as “endangered.” There are professionals whose job is to protect these animals and preserve the wildlife that has limited numbers in order to hopefully repopulate them. So why do animals become extinct? The way that we behave as humans has a major effect on the wildlife population. For example, many places that animals consider to be their homes are being ruined by those who do not consider the consequences of their actions. The place that a particular animal lives is called its “habitat.” Some behaviors that harm habitats are agriculture expansion, water exploitation, waste and sewage, and mining.

Many animals have gone extinct due to a loss of habitat, the Formosan Clouded Leopard, Spix’s Macaw, the Cryptic Treehunter, and the Mount Glorious Torrent Frog, to name a few. The Formosan Clouded Leopard lived only in Taiwan, which is located in Asia and was declared to be extinct in 2013. The reason its species was unable to live any longer was due to the fact that they lost their food source, the lowland forests in Taiwan. This forced the animal to look elsewhere for food outside of its habitat, but unfortunately this did not sustain them. There is an acronym called H.I.P.P.O. (habitat, invasive species, pollution, population, overharvesting) that is used to provide some insight as to how animals begin to slip into extinction. Some animals dangerously close to extinction (endangered) include the black rhino (around 5,600 left), African wild dog (around 1,400), amur leopard (around 84 left), and the sunda tiger (less than 400 left).

The “I” in H.I.P.P.O. stands for “invasive species.” An invasive species is defined as an animal, plant, disease, or insect that relocates to a new area and disrupts other living things that already inhabit that area. Burmese pythons, for example, have had a major impact on our ecosystem; specifically, in Florida. This is because they compete with the wildlife that is native to that particular area and set up their homes in areas where those animals go to scavenge for food. Burmese pythons actually prefer to be near bodies of water to search for their own food due to the fact that this is also where animals such as raccoons go to look for something to eat. The extreme decline of mammals in Everglades National Park in South Florida has been found to have a connection with these pythons.

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