Industrial agriculture, poaching, and illegal trade are the main factors behind the extinction of most animals and plants, and are responsible for endangering many more.
For decades, scientists have been warning us about the dangers of abusing Earth's natural resources, and every year, these same scientists give stern warnings about how many species we're losing across the planet.
Poaching and illegal trade, as well as rapidly disappearing habitats, are some of the main factors that contribute to the extinction of several populations. The following species went extinct just last year (2018), and they are a stark reminder of how powerfully destructive humans can be.
This bright blue macaw became well known after the release of the animated movie Rio (2011). Now, it has completely disappeared from the wild. The only hope for this species lays in the approximately 80 individuals who still live in captivity, as Brazil's government plans to eventually reintroduce them to their native habitat.
Alagoas foliage-gleaner, cryptic tree-hunter, and poo-uli
These three birds went extinct in 2018. The first two were originally from Brazil, while the third one was from Hawaii.
Eastern cougar or eastern puma
Native to North America's northeast region, the eastern puma was officially declared extinct in 2018, though rumors of its disappearance date back as far as 2015 (after almost a century without any sightings).
Now, on the first weeks of 2019, dozens of species more are about to share the same fate. For example, in 2018, the last north white rhinoceros male—a subespecies of white rhinoceros—died, leaving only two surviving females behind. There is, however a glimmer of hope: conservationists expect to perform an in vitro fertilization with semen samples taken from the deceased male individual. The "vaquita marina" porpoise is yet another example of a species on the edge of extinction, with barely a dozen individuals left.
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