Environmental Effects Of Endangered Animals

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Register to read the introduction… If a species does not have the natural genetic protection against particular pathogens, an introduced disease can have severe effects on that specie. For example, rabies and canine distemper viruses are presently destroying carnivore populations in East Africa (Campbell). Domestic animals often transmit the diseases that affect wild populations; demonstrating again how human activities lie at the root of most causes of endangerment. Pollution has seriously affected multiple terrestrial and aquatic species, and limited distributions are frequently a consequence of other threats; populations confined to few small areas due to of habitat loss, for example, may be disastrously affected by random …show more content…
In fact about forty percent of all prescriptions written today are composed from the natural compounds of different species (Ehrlich p.121). These species not only save lives, but they contribute to a prospering pharmaceutical industry worth over $40 billion annually. Unfortunately, only 5% of known plant species have been screened for their medicinal values, although we continue to lose up to 100 species daily. The Pacific yew, a slow-growing tree found in the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest, was historically considered a "trash" tree. However, a substance in its bark taxol, was identified as one of the most promising treatments for ovarian and breast cancer (http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/NewCropsNews/94-4-1/taxol.html). Additionally, more than 3 million American heart disease sufferers would perish within 72 hours of a heart attack without digitalis; a drug derived from the purple foxglove. There are an estimated 80,000 edible plants in the world. Humans depend upon only 20 species of these plants, such as wheat and corn, to provide 90% of the world's food. Wild relatives of these common crops have been found to contain essential disease-resistant material (Ehrlich). These wild relatives also provide our species with the means to develop new crops that can grow in inadequate lands such as in poor soils or drought-stricken areas to help solve the world hunger

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