Environmentalists, conservationists and scientists have been working hand in hand in the race to preserve plants and animals in the wild. Even with ample funding and resources, some of these animals and plants defy explanation in the sense that artificial propagation or aided-reproduction proves to have little headway. Nature is still a wondrous and secretive world that not all the factors have been explained. Scientists and explorers have been forced to go to extremes to gain better understanding of how and why animals in captivity fail to reproduce regularly.
They have found that the environment (plant, animal and other variables) plays part in the health of a whole species sometimes interacting in a mysterious way that it produces the right atmosphere for certain species to reproduce. Plants have proven to be a bit easier to manage for they can be manipulated genetically, allowing the creation of several new plants from minimal samples. This means that there is no need to gather from the wild, samples that have to be experimented on in the lab further threatening their presence in the wild. Some plant species have simply died off naturally which tends to make scientists and botanists believe that the process is natural. Some are wiped out due to man’s greed such as the case in the Amazon and the jungles of Sumatra, where huge tracts of virgin forests are set fire to for charcoal, cultivation and land. Charcoal making is a short term solution for economic needs for it takes a couple of hundred years for forests to generate good trees. Agriculture is also short-term for the soil is poor and cultivation would only be possible with the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides in order to boost yields, further polluting areas far from the cleared areas. Development projects also fail due to threats from another type of natural biochemical warfare that causes sickness leaving many a developed areas abandoned due to malaria, dengue and other animal/insect borne diseases that when transferred to humans become deadly.
Some animal species that have gone extinct in the past years have gone out without a fight, being eradicated well before enough knowledge has been gathered to study them and the role they play in the ecosystem such as the Australian Thylacine when the last known specimen died in 1933. The late Steve Irvin better known as the ‘Crocodile Hunter’, who is considered to be one of the most known and outspoken Australian conservationists has lived a life dedicated to the preservation of wildlife even when he was accidentaly stung by a ray as he was filming. His daughter, Bindi Irwin, inspired by his father and mother’s work in helping animals, continues to promote conservation along with her mother and the other members of the Australia Zoo continue Steve’s fight for the preservation of Australia’s natural beauty and unique animal species. The Kiwi of New Zealand would have also shared the same fate if people hadn’t pushed for a huge effort in understanding them better. Captive breeding programs are now providing re-stocking of the flightless Kiwi bird, the last of the ancient bird order the moas to areas of New Zealand that have not yet been overrun by feral species.
Originally posted on February 19, 2008 @ 7:07 am