ENDANGERED ANIMAL WORLD

                             

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                            What's an endangered animal?
               A species is called endangered when there are so few of its
           kind left that it could disappear from the planet altogether and
                   
                  become 'extinct.'
          Extinct means an animal hasn't been seen in the wild for 50 years.
          In total 762 plant and animal species are now recorded as extinct.

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                                        Which animals are in danger?
                 
12,259* species are threatened to some extent,
                   including mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and fish.

                   Our closest relatives, the great apes of Africa and
                       Asia could be close to extinction in the wild.

                   This number is from the 2003 Red List, an annual
                          report by the World Conservation Union.

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                                            How big is the problem?
                  
The Mekong giant catfish is one of the world's  largest
                freshwater fish. It's up to three meters long. Numbers
                have dropped by 80 percent in just 13 years because
                of humans. If that carries on it will soon disappear.
     
                There are now less than 1,000 pandas left in the wild.

                A hundred years ago there were 100,000 tigers in the
                wild, now there are less than 7,000.  Three  types  of
                tiger, the Bali, Caspian and Javan tiger,  have  already
                become extinct. The South China tiger is struggling to
                survive.

                     There used to be millions of koalas in Australia.
                              Now there are less than 100,000.

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                                                What can you do?
               
Support conservation organisations like the World
                   Wildlife Fund, UNEP, and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
                        
                         Or you could adopt an animal at your
                        local zoo which would pay for its keep.

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                                                Is it all our fault?
              
Animals have always died out naturally, the Dinosaurs were
                        around for millions of years before they became extinct.

                  BUT conservationists reckon animals are now becoming extinct
         up to 10,000 times faster than they would do if there were no humans around.

                          But the our growing population and interference with our
                       environment mean the process of extinction's getting faster.

                       Our world is changing faster than some species can adapt.

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                                               What's being done?
                
In 1985 many countries joined together to ban
                    whaling because some types were on the verge
                    of extinction, but Japan and Norway still catch
                    them for food. Iceland has now started whaling
                    again after 14 years.

                     Organisations like the World Wildlife Fund and
                    Born Free, campaign to save animals which are
                                           under threat.

                       Some governments have passed laws to
                        stop certain animals from being hunted.

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                            Why are they dying out?
              Pollution, chopping down rainforests and building all
               affect animal habitats which means they have nowhere
                                  to live and nothing to eat.

                 Another big problem is humans introducing new plants
                and animals on to small islands. This can result in older
                                   species being wiped out.

                   Buying and selling some exotic animals for their skins
               like crocodiles is illegal in many places but people still do it.

                     Elephants are killed for their ivory tusks which are
                     used for jewellery and medicine in some countries.

                 Another big problem is humans introducing new plants
                 and animals on to small islands. This can result in older
                                    species being wiped out.

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