5 Species Affected By A Loss Of Habitat

Today is World Animal Day, a special day that focuses on raising the status of animals to improve welfare standards around the world. In recognition, we have decided to put a spotlight on one of the greatest threats to a variety of important species around the globe—a loss of habitat. Below we have highlighted 5 animals that have suffered from losing their habitats to raise awareness about the importance of conservation efforts that can have a huge impact on the survival of some of the planet’s most amazing species.

“Habitat loss is probably the greatest threat to the variety of life on this planet today.” – wwf.panda.org

As the world’s population grows and more of the planet’s forests, plains, lakes and other important habits are taken over for agriculture, housing, and other human development, many of the world’s important species are displaced and greatly affected. Loss of habitat is identified as the main threat to 85% of the species officially classified as “Threatened” and “Endangered”.

(Sources: wwf.panda.org and iucnredlist.org)

While many animals are affected, here are 5 cases to be aware of:


Polar Bears

polar bear walking on ice

The rapid increase of the world’s population has inevitably led to a massive increase in polluting fossil fuels which has changed the planet’s atmosphere. As a result, the planet is warming and greatly affecting species like polar bears that are accustomed to Arctic conditions. Polar bears rely on sea ice to hunt, and with the ice now melting earlier in the spring and forming later in the year, the bears have to endure long periods of time when food is scarce, and this greatly affects their health. WWF states that “For every week earlier the ice breaks up in Hudson Bay, bears come ashore roughly 10 kg (22 lbs) lighter and in poorer condition.”

(Source: wwf.panda.org)


The Florida Panthers

florida panther

Beautiful and majestic, this large feline was once found throughout the southeast United States. Due to the expansion of the human population and all the development required to accommodate it, the diminished population now occupies just 5% of its former range. Without the room to roam, the species has been suffering and continues to be threatened as recent development has moved inland where they had retreated.

(Source: biologicaldiversity.org)


Mountain Gorillas

mountain gorilla

Discovered just over a century ago, the mountain gorilla has since been greatly affected by a variety of factors including the destruction of its forest habitat. With more and more humans moving into areas near mountain gorillas, their habitats were lost to agriculture and livestock needs. And as a species that is vulnerable to human disease, contact with them can have devastating effects. For example, mountain gorillas can die from the common cold! However, thanks to conservation efforts, WWF states that the population of mountain gorillas has increased over the past 30 years or so. A clear example of just how important conservation efforts are.

(Sources: inhabitat.com and wwf.panda.org)


Koalas

a koala on a branch

Like so many species, the main threat to the koala is a loss of habitat to human development. As agriculture, housing, roadways and more take over the lands where they thrive, the koala population suffers from various threats. For example, over 4000 Koalas are killed each year by cars and dogs alone! Bushfires, pesticides getting into waterways, disease and increased competition due to overcrowding are also contributors to their decline.

(Source: savethekoala.com)


Orangutans

an orangutan eating leaves

In the past decade, orangutan populations are estimated to have decreased by approximately 50%. Primarily caused by human activity such as illegal logging, massive expansion of palm oil plantations, settlement development and roadway construction, the species are now threatened with extinction.

(Source: orangutan.org)

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