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Conservation of Plants and Animals | Chapter 22 | 8th Science - Endangered Species | 8th Science : Chapter 22 : Conservation of Plants and Animals

Chapter: 8th Science : Chapter 22 : Conservation of Plants and Animals

Endangered Species

1. Determination of Endangerment 2. Causes for Endangerment 3. Saving Endangered Species 4. Government Initiatives

Endangered Species

Our country is a home for variety of species with rich flora and fauna. Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular area. Fauna is the animal life occurring in a particular area. The Royal Bengal Tigers, the Asiatic Cheetah and several other birds are found in India. But due to various reasons like environmental pollution, deforestation, loss of habitat, human interference, poaching and hunting many animals in India are extinct and many are endangered. Species which no longer exist on earth are called extinct species. E.g. Dinosaurs, Dodo. An endangered species is an animal or a plant that is considered to be at the risk of extinction. It means that there are only few of them left on the earth and soon they might extinct.

Activity 4

Observe the following days in your school

World Forest Day - March 21

World Water Day - March 22

Environmental Day - June 5

World Nature Conservation Day -July 28

Ozone Day - September 16

It is reported that nearly 132 species of plants and animals are critically endangered in India. Snow leopard, Bengal tiger, Asiatic lion, Purple frog and Indian giant squirrel are some of the endangered animals in India.

Each year, 22nd May is celebrated as World Biodiversity Day. Biodiversity is a term used to describe the different plants, animals,marine life, microorganisms, insects, habitats, ecosystem etc. that make our planet so unique and so fascinating.

Many algae, fungi, bryophytes, ferns and gymnosperms are disappearing with the destruction of forests. And, each disappearing species may take away with it many species of animals and microbes which depend on them for food and shelter. Similarly, list of animals on the verge of being lost is endless. Prawns, oysters, lobsters, crabs, squid, octopus, cuttlefish, beetles, dragonfly, grasshoppers, fish and even frogs are dying by absorbing poisonous gases through their skin. Locust is one insect which has almost disappeared from India. Following animals are getting rare these days.

* Reptiles: Some lizards, turtles, crocodiles and gharials.

* Birds: Falcon, eagle, hawk, vulture, peacock-peahen, pigeon, duck.

* Mammals: Wild cats such as tigers, lions, deer such as chinkara and blackbuck, chiru (Tibetan goat), musk deer, rhino, elephants, blue whale, flying squirrel.

Activity 5

Collect as many pictures of wild plants and wild animals as possible. Prepare a poster showing the endangered species separately.


1. Determination of Endangerment

Whether a particular species is endangered or not is determined by the following ways.

* When the geographical range of the species is limited.

* The population of the species is limited i.e., less than 50 adult individuals.

* When the population has decreased or will decrease by more than 80% in 10 years.

* If the population is less than 250 individuals and is continuously declining at 25% for the past three years.

* There is a high possibility of extinction in the wild.

Yeoman Butterfly has been declared state butterflyof Tamil Nadu. This species is endemic to WesternGhats. It is among 32 butterfly species found in Western Ghats.


2. Causes for Endangerment

There are various reasons why a species may become endangered or extinct. Some of them are explained below.

a. Loss of habitat

Trees that provide food and shelter to so many species are destroyed due to human intervention.

b. Over hunting and poaching

Large number of animals are hunted for their horns, skin, teeth and many other valuable products.

c. Pollution

Number of animals are affected by pollutions like air pollution and water pollution. In the recent years more number of animals is affected by wastes in the form of plastic.

d. New habitat

Sometimes animals are taken by people to new habitat where they do not naturally live. Some of them may extinct and some may survive. The new ones may also get attacked by the species already living there and cause their extinction.

e. Chemicals

We use pesticides and other chemicals to get rid of damaging insects, pests or weeds. But they can also poison desired plants and animals if we do not use them correctly.

 At one time Dinosaur, ferns and some gymnosperms were wide spread on the earth. They disappeared from the earth, may be due to shortage of space and food or due to climatic change

f. Diseases

Diseases due to various unknown reasons may affect the animals and make them extinct.

g. Natural calamities

Animals may also be destroyed due to natural disasters like flood and fire.


3. Saving Endangered Species

Nature is beautiful and it is filled with different plants and animals. For maintaining healthy ecological balance on the earth, animal and plant species are important. They have medicinal, scientific, ecological and commercial value. Each organism on the earth has a unique place in food chain that contributes to the ecosystem. But they are endangered mainly due to human activity. We need to take certain measures to protect them and preserve them.

* Some of the animal species are endangered mainly because of hunting and poaching. If it is controlled there can be a significant change in the number of endangered animals.

* Controlling pollution can have a positive impact on animals, fish and birds all over the world.

* When we consume more, more pollutants are put into the environment. By consuming less, we can protect the ecosystems.

* Animals often mistake plastic for food and hence plastics harm and cause endangerment of many species. Limiting the amount of plastic and recycling it can save the endangered animals.

* Recycling things and buying eco friendly products will preserve the environment resources and hence the animals.

* Pesticides and chemicals which cause damage to the environment should be avoided.

* Planting native trees will provide food to the animals.

Planting the native trees like Neem tree, Umbrella tree and Banyan tree in our surrounding will be helpful for the animals. Many birds and animals find shelter in those trees.


4. Government Initiatives

In order to preserve the plants and animals, government has taken lot of initiatives and some acts have also been passed to protect them. For example, Project Tiger is a wildlife conservation project initiated in India in 1972 to protect the Bengal Tiger. It was launched on 1st April 1973 and has become one of the most successful wildlife conservation ventures. Corbett National Park was the first National Park in India to be covered under project Tiger. Due to ‘Project Tiger’ the population of Tiger has increased in India from 1400 in 2006 to 2967 in 2018. Apart from this, government has enacted the following Acts.

1. Madras Wildlife Act, 1873.

2. All India Elephant Preservation Act, 1879.

3. The Wild Bird and Animal Protection Act, 1912.

4. Bengal Rhinoceros Preservation Act, 1932.

5. All India Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

6. Environmental Protection Act, 1986.

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