The Endangered Species Club

A new club to raise awareness


A photo of a Siberian Tiger and cub, which is on the endangered species list.

Jayden Butler, Author

In recent years, a focus on the environmental concerns that the Earth is currently facing has shifted closer to the forefront of the public eye. This includes many issues such as climate change and the deforestation of rainforests. One related problem is the endangerment and extinction of a large number of the planet’s species. Human activity can contribute to a loss of habitat through development of housing, industry, and agriculture. Development can eliminate habitats and native species in a number of different ways, both directly and indirectly. In the Amazon rainforest of South America, developers have cleared hundreds of thousands of acres for cattle ranches, logging, and urban use which contains species of fig trees that may provide a habitat for other organisms. As trees are destroyed, species that depend on that tree habitat may also become endangered.

Battlefield sophomore Caroline Petty-Kanehas decided to start the Endangered Species club. The club has a similar approach as the Environmental Club, which is already established at Battlefield, but with a more specific intention. Her goal is to spread awareness specifically about the endangerment and extinction of animals and what students could do in their own lives to help make a change. Petty-Kane is hoping to do many activities alongside the Environmental Club, such as discussing environmental issues that threaten the plants and animals on the planet. She also hopes to do projects that are unique to the Endangered Species club, possibly even creating spaces around Battlefield that support certain animals and help them to thrive.

When discussing her plans for the club, Caroline explained, “I really hope to make people realize deeply this could and will affect people’s everyday lives if something doesn’t change. My goal is just to make people realize, but to also spark a conversation about it and show people how changes can be made.” She later talked about how she has been planning on making a club like this for close to a year, and how happy she is to have it finally set into motion.

In an Interview with The Guardian, Scheffers, who is the lead author of a landmark Science study, tells them, “In many instances genetic diversity is being lost due to climate change, not just in nature but also in resources that humans depend on such as crops and timber,” Scheffers says. “It is important to not confuse species responses and adaptation as an indicator that everything will be okay.” The study by Scheffers from last year found that the current warming of the Earth has already left a discernible mark on 77 of 94 different ecological processes, including species’ genetics, seasonal responses, overall distribution, and even morphology – i.e. physical traits including body size and shape.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are now 41,415 species on the IUCN Red List, and 16,306 of them are endangered species threatened with extinction, which is up from 16,118 last year. This includes both endangered animals and endangered plants. The species that are endangered include one in four mammals, one in eight birds, and one third of all amphibians. Also, 70% of the world’s assessed plants on the 2007 IUCN Red List are in jeopardy of extinction. The total number of extinct species has reached 785, and a further 65 species have gone extinct in the wild and are only found in captivity or in cultivation.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a federal agency dedicated to conserving wildlife, plants, and habitats for the American people,. In a post on their website, they explained the current issues with wildlife on the Earth, “Normally, new species develop, through a process known as speciation, at about the same rate that other species become extinct. However, because of air and water pollution, forest clearing, loss of wetlands, and other man-induced environmental changes, extinctions are now occurring at a rate that far exceeds the speciation rate. Each extinction diminishes the diversity and complexity of life on earth.” They, the agency went into more detail as to how deep of a problem this could be for the Earth’s ecosystem in its entirety, and how catastrophic problems such as Earth’s ecosystem is beginning to collapse.