Humans are now responsible for causing changes in the environment that hurt animals and plant species. We take up more space on Earth for our homes and cities. We pollute habitats. We illegally hunt and kill animals. We bring exotic species into habitats. All of these activities take resources and habitats away from plants and animals. Check out this site to learn major problems caused by overpopulation.
Human activity often changes or destroys the habitats that plants and animals need to survive. Because human populations are growing so fast, animals and plants are disappearing 1000 times faster than they have in the past 65 million years. Scientists estimate that in the 21st century 100 species will become extinct every day.
Animals and plants have always had a hard time surviving. Scientists estimate that over two thirds of the animals and plants that once lived on Earth are now extinct.
Animals became extinct in the past for a wide variety of reasons. In some cases competition for resources among animals led to extinction, in other cases environmental changes caused extinction.
Scientists think dinosaurs became extinct because a meteorite struck the Earth and caused changes in the environment that the dinosaurs and other animals and plants couldn't adapt to.
Some animals are endangered because of a combination of natural and man-made causes.
Manatees need warm water to survive. In the winter they live in southern Florida and parts of Georgia. In the summer they can migrate as far north as Virginia and west to Louisiana. Sometimes manatees die because they don't migrate back to warm water soon enough.
Manatees can also die when they get caught in fishing nets. Manatees only give birth every two to five years and they only have one calf at a time. Because their reproduction rate is so low and mortality rates are high, manatee populations are endangered.
The human population’s impact on wildlife is much more than a failure of self-interested, logical stewardship. After all, we absolutely must protect the environmental conditions necessary for our own prosperity on our home planet.