More often than not, it pays to be a dolphin, a whale, a polar bear, an elephant or a panda to stand a chance of making people protect them and their habitats. On the other hand, amphibians and reptiles are generally being ignored and more likely being left aside when conservation plans are being sketched out.
According to veteran research scientist Ernie Small, at Agriculture Canada in Ottawa, a majority of people choose to only protect species that are deemed important and or beautiful. Some call this conservation discrimination. Some of the species which receive this added special attention include Bluefin tuna and Salmon as they are an important source of food for many thousands around the world. Extensive efforts have been made to safeguard Bluefin and Salmon from the follies of over-fishing and actions have been taken to restore and protect the delicate habitats to which they rely on for survival. In this quest to protect certain species, others are often overlooked.
Amphibians, which are currently experiencing massive population declines around the world, are one example of a species which would benefit greatly from serious conservation efforts. While it is very good to see a company like Coca-cola raising nearly $2 million for the World Wildlife Fund to safeguard polar bears, who will come to the aid of toads and other amphibians which are fated for extinction?
The extinction of species has been elevated by famous Hollywood actors as well as well minded environmental activists alike. Activism on all levels is what we need to help save the critters that may be doomed to extinction.
“I really care that so many species have been wiped out, like genocide of entire races. I believe in the divine right of all species to survive on this planet. So I decided I want to be active as an environmentalist. I learned. I asked experts. I got active.” – Leonardo DiCaprio
But back to toad and amphibian species -> they equally play vital roles in maintaining the delicate balance and biodiversity of our world and need protecting just as much as the polar bears do. None of this is to scold or diminish the current conservation efforts of other species, but it is important for us to remember that even the species which are not as popularly admired are vitally important in the larger scheme of things.
Mr. Small further detailed the qualities of species that are generally more attractive to humans and conservation efforts. If a species provides us with clothing, food, or medicine, chances are people will selectively help in preserving or conserving them. Animals with expressive eyes, a vertebrate or a mammal are also safe when it comes to aesthetic conservation. On the other hand, humans also have a penchant for wild or dangerous animals and this explains why tigers are also included in the priority list of animal conservation. Is this not blatant conservation discrimination?“The cuddlies” or animals in a family setting like kittens or cubs are also of high importance when it comes to global conservation efforts. Small also stated that animals that don’t smell bad or warm-blooded are also compelling factors in making them ideal candidates for conservation efforts.
While birds aren’t tagged as mammals, they are also part of the high-priority list for conservation mainly because most of them are bright colored. On the flip-side, however, animals with scales or slimy skins are being ignored because they are more petrifying than charming.
A majority of humans also ignore animals that are considered to be unhealthy for them. Animals with bow legs, irregular teeth, warts, wrinkles, or animals with drooling habits are most likely being ignored than being cared for.
Animals aren’t the only species that fall prey into conservation discrimination when it comes to safeguarding. Plants have characteristics that attract humans as well. Most plants that are capable of bearing fruit, huge in size, with decorative foliage, have big flowers and can draw butterflies, squirrels, bees or birds are also included in selective safeguarding.
Food for thought, isn’t it?
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