More than half of the large sized herbivores living on Earth like elephants, camels, zebras,buffalos, rhinos are threatened with extinction, and are the animals with the highest chances of disappearance, new study says.
The study has been lead by William Ripple professor at the College of Forestry in collaboration with the Oregon State University.Ripple together with a team wildlife specialists have been observing 74 large plant eaters and have come to the conclusion that that 60% of them are at high risk of extinction, at a global level.
The study included herbivorous with the weight of over 100 kilograms and analysed their endangerment level, the main threats and the ecological effects if their population was to be seriously diminished. Researchers were expecting for habitat change to be the first cause threatening these animals with extinction.But to their surprise, the results showed that the main causes speeding the extinction of large herbivores were hunting followed by habitat change.
Almost all of the species involved in the research are living in regions where illegal hunting is decreasing their population. The analysis proved that the phenomenon is happening in most of the areas, starting from grasslands to landscapes, desserts and savannahs, explained researchers.
The disappearance of herbivorous can affect also other species belonging to the carnivorous group as their food source is diminishing. Rhinos are hunted and killed so poachers can get their horn,which is estimated to worth more than gold or diamonds on the illegal market. If things keep continue in this rhythm in maximum 20 years rhinos could become extinct.
Allowing human demands for horns and tusks to lead to the disappearance of these large animals is ridiculous, stated the co author of the study Taal Levi, assistant professor at the Oregon State Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. He added that it is an urge to reduce the market demand of this type of items.
If severe and immediate intervention will not be taken, big sized herbivores will keep on disappearing from various regions of the planet which will highly impact the planet ecologically, social and financially, explained the authors of the study.
According to the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature there are three rhino species that have been declared critically endangered.Areas like India, the south-eastern part of Asia and Africa have suffered severe losses. But when it comes to North America and Europe the situation is even more dramatic as these regions have lost the majority of their large herbivores.
Another factor that might cause many of the animal species to turn extinct is global warming and the heating of the planet.
Researchers involved in this study hope that this information will make people aware of how important herbivore species are in the ecosystem and that officials will take actions to help the conservation of all these species.
Image Source: world wild life