Earth Day- 2019: Protect our species
How wonderful is the living world! The wide range of living types is amazing. The extraordinary habitats in which we find living organisms, be it cold mountains, deciduous forests, oceans, freshwater lakes, deserts or hot springs, leave us speechless. The beauty of a galloping horse, of the migratory birds, the valley of flowers or the attacking shark evokes awe and a deep sense of wonder. The ecological conflict and cooperation among member of population and among populations of a community or even the molecular traffic inside the species make us deeply reflect on – What’s the need to save species? If we have to visit a dense forest, we would probably see a much greater no. and kinds of living organisms in it. Each different kind of plant, animal or organism that we see, represent a species.
The term species was coined by John Ray and after great efforts and research Ernst Mayr, single handedly made the origin of species diversity, the central question of evolutionary biology that is today. He also pioneered the currently accepted definition of a biological species-A population of interbreeding individuals and reproductively isolated from other populations. The machine dominated and so called technical man and its ever devastating resources are decreasing the no. of species day by day. Around 5900 plant species and 4326 animal species were listed in the book Origin of species, by Charles Darwin which has left the maximum influence on the thinking of taxonomists, economists as well as environmentalists.
Due to modern era and over exploitation of resources, hundreds of species are being affected, they too cooperate with the environment by modifying their morphological, physiological and molecular/ cellular structure, but think of for how much time they do so, on their last day of judgment, they lose themselves and start getting endangered and at last due to no habitat and living conditions they get extinct with an everlasting impression on this industrial world of machine man. Although 15,000 new species are being discovered every year, but that 15000 doesn’t make adifference with those thousands of species getting extinct in 1 year without any consideration and knowledge of man.
Several international organizations like ICBN,ICZN,ICTV and many more are being established globallyfor the identification and nomenclature of species but no such organization are taken into consideration for conserving and saving the species. Why the great scientist could not see the dark room of ever decreasing species. What would they do if there will be no species one day? Diversity of organisms(communities) is influenced by the features of land, waterbodies, climate, pollution and human interference. It is estimated that there were about 10 million species on the earth, though presently known no. of species living is 1.7-1.8 million. From the data, it can be seen that how tremendously the no. of species are decreasing yearly.
Human beings have always been interested in knowing more and more about the various kinds of organisms, particularly with reference to their own use. Humans are only interested in knowing about species but what about their conservation and preservation. Along with this greed and selfishness some humanity is also shown by people whom we can consider a real man and hero, biologist have established certain procedures and techniques to preserve the species like as in botanical gardens, zoological parks etc. which are collectively referred to as “taxonomic aids”. A taxonomic aid cannot be considered as a home/habitat for species, although it is an Ex-situ conservation strategy but providing homely environment cannot be considered as their natural habitat, similarly as robots are not men.
At last, to conclude, I would like to say that: Today we are witnessing the extinction of a species that had survived for millions of years but could not survive the mankind……..
Dr. Archana Chaudhary
Department of Environmental Science