Protecting The World's Endangered Species

There are many different organizations that work to encourage the conservation of animals in danger of extinction. Some are voluntary organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and the IUCN and others are government initiatives enacted by laws like America's Endangered Species Act.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) help conserve endangered animals by raising awareness which stimulates action and funding. They do this by picking an animal to act as ambassador for a particular habitat. The aim is that by achieving conservation of the ambassador species, the status of all other animals which share the habitat will be increased.

Recently the WWF published the top ten list of
species in danger of extinction. News agencies around the world ran the story which listed Tigers, the Polar Bear, the Pacific Walrus, Magellanic Penguins, the Leatherback Turtle, Bluefin Tuna, the Mountain Gorilla, Monarch Butterflies, Javan Rhinoceros and the Giant Panda as the animals most endanger of extinction.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are another organization that work for the benefit of conservation. Like the WWF, they are the world's oldest and largest environmental agency. Each year they publish the 'Red List of Threatened Species' which categorizes threatened animals into seven scales. The least threatened animals are classified as 'Least Concern'. These are animals which are vulnerable and could be of concern in the near future. The Gray Wolf and Common Wood Pigeon are two examples of the animals on this list. The next stage is 'Near Threatened', which includes the American Bison. The third level of concern is called 'Vulnerable'. Here the Great White Shark is listed along with the Hippopotamus. Then the 'Endangered' animals are recorded.

This part of the list includes the Blue Whale and the Tiger. 'Critically Endangered' animals are the next animals listed. This category includes the Mountain Gorilla and the Black Rhinoceros. The penultimate category includes animals like the Hawaiian Crowe and the Wyoming Toad. This is the category listing animals 'Extinct in the Wild'. The last category on the list is reserved for 'Extinct' animals like the Dodo.

The work that organizations like WWF and IUCN do is augmented by the world's governments. Each country has its own policy towards rare and threatened animals. In America the Endangered Species Act protects critically endangered animals from become extinct as a consequence of the country's economic growth.

It protects both the animals and the ecosystems which they depend on and helps to recover and maintain the populations of scarce animals by reducing any threats to their existence. It has only been in place since 1973, but since that time animals like the Bald Eagle, the Gray Wolf and the Grizzly Bear have increased in population and been removed from the list.

The United Nations also work towards the conservation of the natural environment and rare animals. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora is a UN's initiative. It represents an agreement between governments to ensure that international trade doesn't threaten the survival of wild animals. Since it's formation in 1975, when 80 countries agreed to adopt it, it has grown to now include 175 countries.