Too cute to die: How human emotions influence wildlife conservation

The Abstract

by Louise Durand, Contributing Writer

Estimating the number of endangered species on earth is difficult, as we haven’t yet studied or identified every organism on our planet. But what we do know is that human activity, especially through global warming, has a tremendous effect on ecosystems. Of the 8 million identified species on Earth, it is estimated that 15,000 are at risk of extinction (1). This is far higher than the rate at which extinction occurs naturally, also known as the background extinction rate (2). Just to give you an idea, in invertebrates alone, average extinction rates over the past century are one hundred times greater than their predicted background extinction rate (3). Current scientific research indicates that we are at the dawn of a sixth mass extinction (3), just like the one that wiped out dinosaurs around 65 million years ago (4). Wildlife conservation is necessary to fix those…

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