An endangered species is at risk of becoming extinct. For example, the panda and gorilla are endangered and may become extinct. A species can become endangered for several reasons, including:
* The number of available habitats falls below a critical level
* The population of the species falls below a critical level.
t is important to conserve the variety of living things on Earth. Not only do we have moral and cultural reasons for conserving endangered species, but conservation:
* Maintains the future possibility that plant species might be identified for medicines
* Keeps damage to food chains and food webs to a minimum
* Protects our future food supply.
Some species in Britain are endangered, including the red kite, red squirrel and osprey. They could be helped by conservation measures such as:
* Education programmes
* Captive breeding programmes
* Legal protection and protection of their habitats
* Making artificial ecosystems for them to live in.
Hunting and trade
Hunting is the main threat to western lowland gorillas. Gorillas are sought after as food (bush meat) and pets, and their body parts are used in medicine and as magical charms.
The impact of hunting on gorilla population has proven to be dramatic. In North East Congo, it has been estimated that hunters kill approximately 5% of gorillas each year.
Despite national and international laws prohibit the hunting and capture of gorillas throughout their range, enforcement is weak and existing legislation inadequate.
Habitat loss and degradation
Timber is a major export in Central Africa. Vast areas of rainforest in the western lowland gorilla's habitat in the Congo Basin have been destroyed or leased out to European and Asian logging companies.
The increase in timber extraction and the opening of once remote forest areas, together with the easy transport provided by logging vehicles to distant markets, have also facilitated the...