Not only have humans, like all other living creatures, had to make adaptations, changes and adjustments to survive and thrive, but people have also had a profound impact on the lives of other creatures on Earth. Sometimes this has been a beneficial impact, but in many cases, it has been a disaster for the other creatures.
Do some background reading about the extinction of the passenger pigeon:
http://www.si.edu/encyclopedia_Si/nmnh/passpig.htm. The extinction of the passenger pigeon is an event that can be very easily tied to the activities of humans. However, passenger pigeons are not the only creatures that have been driven to extinction by the actions of people. There are dozens of other examples, as well as some creatures whose existence is currently in serious peril, such as the golden lion tamarin and the thamin.
Read more about Endangered Species here:
Endangered Species Protection Program
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species Program
Do some research on your own about an endangered species of your choice. It can be either a plant or an animal. Consider the biological, ethical, and economic aspects that have led to the endangerment as well as their role in protecting the species. Then, during the week, be sure to address the following:
- In a short paragraph (5–7 sentences) describe the species that you chose to learn more about and describe the basic reasons for its endangerment.
- What characteristics make some species more vulnerable to extinction, while others seem to thrive despite changes in their surroundings?
- How do the extinctions of other creatures affect humans directly and indirectly?
- Why are decisions about recovery and preservation of these creatures so complicated?
- What, if any, ethical responsibilities do humans have to other creatures on the planet?
- What sorts of trade-offs would you be willing to make in order to help protect an endangered species? Would you make the same trade-offs for all types of species including plants, insects, amphibians, etc., in addition to those many people tend to be more fond of, like whales, tigers, and koalas?
- Later in the week, compare your chosen organism to some described by your classmates. Do they share any common features? For example: Are they endangered for the same reasons? Do they share similar habitats or behaviors?
Discussion must be 300-350 words