What are extinct species?
According to National Geographic, extinct species are defined as “the complete disappearance of a species from earth due to environmental forces.”After certain species become extinct, what happens to the established food chain, a hierarchical series of organisms each dependent on the next as a source of food, and ecosystem?
The cycle can become unbalanced if its main predator goes extinct. The smaller species or prey in the chain will overpopulate and soon take over the natural resources of other animals. Furthermore, animals that rely on that extinct species have to either quickly find new food or starve. If these animals starve or do not evolve accordingly, they will become endangered, or even worse, extinct.
What are other ways species become endangered?
Endangered species are defined as “a type of organism that is threatened by extinction.” A species can become endangered by the following: habitat loss, habitat changes, exploitation, and harmful diseases.
Below is a list of endangered or extinct species, their impact on their food chain, and the species that were affected as a result:
- Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus)
Extinct due to bounty hunting and introduction of wild dogs and diseases.
2. Wooly Mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius)
Extinct due to climate/environmental changes.
- Saber-toothed Cats were impacted as mammoths were one of their main prey.
3. Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens)
Endangered due to habitat loss and poaching.
- Snow leopards are endangered by poaching,habitat destruction, and a decline in natural prey.
4. Atlantic Acropora Coral (A. cervicornis)
Endangered due to disease, temperature increases, and bleaching.
- Many types of Atlantic crabs are vulnerable or close to endangerment due to the environmental impact on coral reefs — their main source of habitat and food.
Although many species become endangered through a disruption in their food web, the main source of endangerment and extinction is human activity: hunting, climate change, urbanization, and spread of invasive species. To help decrease endangerment levels, check for ways you can help out at the National Wildlife Federation and make sure to research endangered species in your area.