Wildlife conservation

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**Group 1: Threats to Wildlife Conservation**

Habitat Destruction:
– Decreases available living spaces for wildlife.
– Leads to habitat fragmentation and smaller populations.
– Includes human-induced activities like deforestation and urbanization.
– Impact increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deforestation:
– Involves clearing forests for agriculture or logging.
– More than 80% of species live in forests.
– Tropical forests like the Amazon are biodiversity hotspots.
– Contributes to habitat destruction and climate change.

Overexploitation:
– Occurs when species are harvested faster than they can recover.
– Examples include overfishing and exploitation of various species.
– Sustainable practices are crucial to prevent overexploitation.

Poaching:
– Targets endangered species for economic gain.
– Commonly affects large mammals like elephants and tigers.
– Extends to plants and animals for souvenirs and pets.
– Exacerbates population declines in threatened species.

Ocean Acidification:
– Caused by carbon dioxide emissions increasing ocean acidity.
– Harms calcifying organisms like coral.
– Leads to mass bleaching events and correlates with past extinction events.

**Group 2: Pollution and Climate Change Impact**

Pollution:
– Pollutants negatively impact wildlife health.
– Exposure to pesticides and air pollutants is harmful.
– Heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury can cause organ damage.

Climate Change:
– Humans are responsible for present-day climate change.
– Impacts include rising temperatures, melting ice sheets, and more severe weather events.
– Leads to habitat destruction, affects species ranges, and increases stress on ecosystems.

Ocean Acidification:
– Carbon dioxide emissions increase ocean acidity.
– Acidification harms calcifying organisms like coral.
Research suggests ocean acidification has occurred in the past.

**Group 3: Conservation Efforts and Strategies**

Species Conservation:
– Current extinction rates are significantly higher due to human activities.
– Over 42,100 species are at risk of extinction according to the IUCN.
Conservation efforts prioritize species based on various factors.

Habitat Conservation:
– Aims to protect habitats to safeguard species within them.
– Achieved through protected areas like national parks.
– Monitoring and maintaining habitats are essential for conservation.

Conservation Genetics:
– Studies genetic phenomena impacting species conservation.
– Genetic diversity plays a crucial role in species survival.
– Helps identify populations at risk of extinction and develop conservation strategies.

**Group 4: Specific Species Conservation**

Leatherback Sea Turtle:
– Largest turtle globally, lacks a hard shell, and is endangered.
– Faces threats like bycatch, habitat loss, and marine pollution.
Conservation measures include reducing bycatch and protecting nesting habitats.

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker:
– Endangered bird in the southeastern US.
– Inhabits longleaf pine savannas.
Conservation efforts involve maintaining habitats and increasing woodpecker numbers.

Florida Panther:
– Subspecies of cougar known as Puma concolor coryi.
– Population faced genetic issues, interventions introduced to increase genetic diversity.

**Group 5: Conservation Strategies and Initiatives**

Government Involvement:
– Legislation like the Endangered Species Act and CITES protect species.
– Funding for wildlife conservation comes from federal appropriations and grants.

Non-Government Involvement:
– NGOs like The Nature Conservancy and WWF play significant roles in conservation.
– Public dissatisfaction with government efforts led to increased private sector and NGO support.

Wildlife conservation refers to the practice of protecting wild species and their habitats in order to maintain healthy wildlife species or populations and to restore, protect or enhance natural ecosystems. Major threats to wildlife include habitat destruction, degradation, fragmentation, overexploitation, poaching, pollution, climate change, and the illegal wildlife trade. The IUCN estimates that 42,100 species of the ones assessed are at risk for extinction. Expanding to all existing species, a 2019 UN report on biodiversity put this estimate even higher at a million species. It is also being acknowledged that an increasing number of ecosystems on Earth containing endangered species are disappearing. To address these issues, there have been both national and international governmental efforts to preserve Earth's wildlife. Prominent conservation agreements include the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). There are also numerous nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) dedicated to conservation such as the Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, the Wild Animal Health Fund and Conservation International.

Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
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