Protecting the frequent, let go of the rare

by Dr. Erich Ritter
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We lose between 30 to 40 plant and animal species every day. An unbelievable number, but still, I could not even name one single species that was eliminated this year. It is a sad reality how much vanishes without us even been aware of their existence. Is this a lack of awareness, failed research, ignorance... ? What would come the closest to explain such a loss. I guess there is no clear answer, except it is part of our planet's mechanisms. 

When it comes to sharks, there are quite a few species that are brought to the brink of extinction, and won't likely see the next century anymore. So we actually know this, we are aware of the problem but still are unable to do what is necessary. How much money and effort would it take to save them? There are ways to bring animals back from near extinction. But, this raises a very important question: is it worth it to bring them back and secure their future? And here is my biggest dilemma, In today's world where we face many bottlenecks from having enough freshwater for today's world populations to the acidification of the oceans and global warming, can we justify all the resources needed to prolong a species' life before the inevitable happens - its extinction? In a perfect world, we can justify it, since we have the money, the resources, the manpower, but our world is far from perfect thus we likely must let species go. We have to face the fact that even if we can bring back some animal from the brink of extinction, the question is not can we save the species for good but for how long. And while we are securing a former endangered species, most often using years to make it happen, we lose thousands of other species in the process. Saving a species might be a noble gesture and what I like to call "psycho hygiene" but not worth it in the big scheme of animal and plant species. We don't have the luxury to focus on a single species while others, less known ones, are threatened as well. But even those will have to take a backseat for the prosper of those species that are still common and plentiful.

I understand that my viewpoint is very heretical but let's think about it for a few minutes. The main question to be asked is, what keeps our planet going? Which species are still able to buffer all the hardships we cause on our planet? Those species are the plenty ones. A single specimen of a biologically extinct species does not have an impact anymore on the bigger scheme of things, only the frequent ones do. Of course, I wish we could protect all of them, and live happily ever after, but such a state may have been eons ago when humans were still a part of nature and had to get along to make it. Of course, even then did we lose species on a daily basis but we did not accelerate their date of expiration.

That early position of mankind turned into the pole position of a race that has the sole survivorship of humans on its mind. But in order to “win,” we need the animals, so even if we believe we are the very race that can control it all, we will still not make it alone. We need the forces that make our planet habitable. And this can only happen if we have enough animals and plants left that take care of the daily necessities. It is the abundant species that can still do that, thus it is these very species that we must protect. As sad as this situation is, it is the only way to make the world keep spinning. It is a sad reality that we are not able to save all the threatened species, it clearly shows that mankind is not fit to understand balance, nor be able to run its pole position.

The rare species close to extinction have to vanish so the plenty can thrive, it’s sad but unfortunately the only forecast.

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