Today, some of the Earth’s biggest animals are facing a combination of threats that endanger their survival.
And we are not talking about climate change — but rather, people.
In a new study, it was found that most elephant murders are going towards human meat cravings.
And across the six categories of animals in the animal kingdom i.e. mammals, amphibians, birds, reptiles, ray-finned fish as well as cartilaginous fish, the large members of the kingdom, or “megafauna,” sits at the top of the operation.
In this category, we have 362 animals — including white sharks, African elephants, leather back turtles, the Chinese salamander, the Somali ostrich and rhinos.
Aside from reptiles, each one of these animals was being killed for their meat. But reptiles were being killed by people for their eggs.
It is reported that there is a range of reasons people kill the aforementioned animals: organs with medicinal value, for pleasure as well as accidental killings.
But the main finding in the study was disturbing: that we are “in the process of eating megafauna to extinction.”
Of the many different megafauna species, the study said that 70 percent of them will see their populations decline in number and 59 percent of them could potentially be driven to extinction,
The desire to kill big animals is explained by the “optimal foraging theory,” a scientific concept.
The theory is that predators will attempt to get the most benefit at the least cost –explaining the sue of modern technology and why megafauna has gotten easier since the days of our early ancestors.
Scientists also believe that this instinct is something that has survived in us despite there being no rational use for it in the modern world.
“The reasons for continuing such a practice are unclear, because the vast majority of human food is produced by agriculture and aquaculture, and most ‘wild’ meat likely comes from smaller bodied species, which are more plentiful,” the study says.
Published in Conservation Letters, in a perfect world, the report shares how policymakers as well as conservation groups would work to garner more attention to the irrational killings of the wild and endangered animal species.
So what can you do to help?
Consider going vegetarian.
It may seem like a no-brainner that both vegetarians as well as vegans help spare the lives of animals around the globe.
But it can be hard to know how much of an impact not eating meat really makes — but thanks to Counting Animals, the math turns out and its results are surprising!
Counting Animals looked into the total number of animals killed for food in the U.S. in a given year and used a very interesting formula — using semi-vegetarians as well as Meatless Mondays to estimate the total number of animals saved.
The results of their analysis?
It was revealed that a vegetarian saves:
- 34 land animals each year, over 32 of them being chickens.
- 219 fish each year.
- 151 shellfish each year, the vast majority of them being shrimp.
Which means that each year, vegetarian’s save at least 404 animals per year!
To learn more on how you can become a vegetarian, click here.
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