One issue that has been a controversy is the preservation of endangered species.
Ever since the 1960’s, scientists have been fighting for laws and acts toprotect animals and plants in keeping them in good health and their populationshigh in numbers. The problem is animals and plants are having trouble survivingin today’s world which leads them to be classified as endangered or threatened.Endangered, meaning animals or plants with little population that the speciescould soon become extinct and threatened is less severe and basically just meansthat they are close to becoming endangered. By species becoming endangered, thisaffects our habitat’s biodiversity.
Today, however, human beings are dependentfor their food, health, well-being and enjoyment of life on fundamentalbiological systems and processes. Humans derive all of its food and manymedicines and industrial products from the wild and without biological diversitythese actions could not take place. Overall, major concern is stressed over thistopic not only for species well-being, but for our strength and our environment.The law has a major impact on life sciences. Many acts and laws have been passedand through the years even revised to help benefit the species. The first act isa major act in dealing with this subject .
The Endangered Species PreservationAct of 1966 and the Endangered Species Conservation act of 1969 was todemonstrate the stress on trying to protect endangered species. Although theyweren’t that effective. So on December 28, 1973, Richard M. Nixon signs theEndangered Species Act, which leads to the rise of environmental protectionlegislation.
This law makes it illegal for Americans to import or trade in anyproduct made from an endangered or threatened species unless it is used for anapproved scientific purpose or to enhance the survival of the species. Also theendangered species on this list cannot be hunted , killed, collected, or injuredin the United States. This law is said to be the toughest environmental law. Ofcourse that isn’t the only law that affected or aided conservation.
Theconvention of International Trade in Endangered Species, also known as CITES wasamended in 1975. As of 1993, it was signed by 120 countries and lists 675species that cannot be commercially traded as live specimens or wildlifeproducts because they are endangered or threatened. Another recent act is theRhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994. The US congress passed this toprovide resources to conservations programs focused on saving these endangeredspecies. This year Congress should be making a revisable copy and figure out thespending on these animals. There are many other acts like the African ElephantConservation Act of 1988 which is to assist the conservation and protection ofAfrican elephants.
The Lacey Act of 1990, which prohibits import, export,transportation, sale, or purchase of fish, wildlife, or plants that are taken inviolation of any Federal, State, tribal or foreign law. And lastly there is theEagle Protection Act which began in 1940. This act makes it unlawful to import,export, take, sell, purchase, or barter any bald eagle or golden eagle, even ifits just their parts. All of these acts are dealing with this issue directly,which is not the case all the time.
Many laws are put into effect for anotherissue but indirectly help the preservations of animals and plants. One examplewould be the Clean Air Act of 1990. It was amended in 1970. This act was toplace limits on industrial pollutants that cause acid rain, called forreductions in toxic and carcinogenic chemicals released by U.S.
factories andreduction in automobile emissions; included reductions of 50 percent inindustrial emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, 70 percent in carbonmonoxide from automobiles, and 20 percent in other emissions; 250 toxicchemicals were to be monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency; andindustries would be required to use the best technology to prevent such wastes.The reason for this act was pollution but it does help out endangered species.It helps their health which helps their population grow. Although it’s not asubject you hear about all the time in the media or just in everydayconversation, but the percentages of endangered animals and endangered speciesare high.
One-fourth of the world’s species of mammals are threatened withextinction. Half of that number may be gone in a decade. .
There is 77 speciesof Cetacea, 4 species of Sirenia, 113 species of primates and 99 species orCarnivora are included. From 1970 to 1993 the number for United States onlyspecies on the Endangered and Threatened list grew about eight times bigger from92 to 775. Up to 100 species become extinct every day.
Scientists estimate thatthe total number of species lost each year may climb to 40,000 by the year 2000,a rate far exceeding any in the last 65 million years. Most of these facts arejust focusing on the endangerment of animals. But there is an alarming number of19,000 plant species that are endangered too. Plants are just as important topreserve for they are part of our biodiversity also. There are many reasons forthe cause of endangerment. One main reason is mankind destruction.
Theenvironment is always changing but when it is a natural change, individualsadapt. When the pace of change of the habitat is greatly accelerated, there maybe no time for the species to react to the new circumstances. Such humanactivities as pollution, drainage of wetlands, conversion of shrub lands tograzing lands, cutting and clearing of forests, urbanization, coral-reefdestruction, and road and dam construction have destroyed or seriously damagedand fragmented available habitats. This is the reason that rapid habitat loss isregarded as the main cause of endangerment. Another cause could be anintroduction of an exotic species.
When a foreign species intentionally oraccidentally is introduced in a new setting it will cause problems to the nativespecies. Such problems may be preying or competition. A third reason isoverexploitation. This refers to the utilization of the species at a rate thatwould make them endangered. Other factors are involved in the cause for this butthese are the main reasons.
Knowing what causes endangerment is a major key tohelping the situation. This not only helps environmentalists but Congress andlegislators in making decisions and actions that could contribute in making lawsto stop endangerment. Many acts were passed to help the preservation of species,but everyday issues are discussed and new laws are underway. This is essentialin helping species and our environment in being beneficial. If law was notconveyed, then every animal and plant would be extinct, which would lead to theextinction of humans.
Many current issues are always being discussed in UnitedStates legislation and in other countries. Japan is again at war withconservationists over proposals to resume trading in whales, elephant ivory andmarine turtles. Canada unveiled its first-ever bill designed to protectendangered species from extinction on April 11, a measure that would imposestiff fines and prison sentences on those guilty of harming rare flora andfauna.
In the United States, a current issue was when President Clinton’s $1.84trillion budget for fiscal year 2001, includes a record $250 million increasefor the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These are just a couple of issues thathave been discussed and that have been in the environmental law spotlight.
Everyday there are current event issues that have new legislation pending. Themost current one is the National Marine Fisheries Service is scheduled tocomplete its study of ways to save endangered salmon and trout population in theColumbia river system, including a controversial proposal to breach fourhydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River. An important issue is always waysto help. There are many things that people can do to help wildlife. To peoplethis might not seem like its worth their time but even helping out locally, inthe neighborhood, really ends up helping nationally. Finding groups that areworking to conserve or rehabilitate our habitat to join, recycle and reuse,write to local politicians, consider a career in wildlife, or volunteer toassists groups in endangered species projects. A simple but effective way tohelp endangered species to survive is by joining clubs that aim to protect andconserve nature and wildlife.
By giving them a small amount on a frequent basisyou support them and make it possible for them to set up campaigns, reservationsetc. Many organizations having been fighting and been very successful in gettinglaws passed. Some of these organizations are Green peace, WWF (World Wide FundFor Nature), Conservation International, and The Nature Conversancy. Some ofthese are non-political but they do have one thing in common, which is to helpendangered species. Life Science and the law is a topic that shouldn’t be takenso lightly. It effects not only animals and plants but the earths biodiversitywhich affects humans. It is also known as environmental law.
By having theselaws and acts, it helps preservation. Plants and animals hold medicinal,agricultural, ecological, commercial, and recreational value. By protecting thenfuture generations can experience presence and value. I leave with this quotewhich helps sum up the importance of the of conservation.
“We are all one.Birds, plants, animals, minerals – we are all different manifestations of thesame essential energy. Our way ahead, our searches and dreams are the molecularexpression of the life experience of everything that makes up our planet. Bycaring for it, we will help each other to grow.” – Alejandro Lerner,Alejandro Lerner is an Argentinean writer and composer.
Bibliography1) Dubay, Denis. Environmental Science. ed.
3 vols. GeoSystems GlobalCorporation, 1999. 2) Gwinn, Robert.
The New Encyclopedia Britannica. ed. 15vols., 1992. 3) Bryant, Peter. “Endangered Species Conservation”Online, April 12, 2000. 4) Tuerek, Karen.
“Protecting Endangered Species: ACitizens’s Alert for Legislative Action” Online, April 2000 5)Environmental News Network. Online. http://www.enn.
com. Accessed April 14, 2000