Conservation of Biodiversity

What are some of the benefits of saving endangered species?
Answered by Planet Green
  • Planet Green

    Planet Green

  1. One of the biggest benefits of saving an endangered species is that we usually help maintain biodiversity in doing so. Many medicines -- in fact, more than a quarter of the prescriptions doctors in the United States write each year -- are derived from chemicals that came from plants and animals. And yet so far, only a tiny portion of all the species in the world have been investigated by researchers for their medicinal potential. The complex substances we've found in the chemistry and genomes of these species have led to the creation of antibiotics, anti-cancer agents, pain killers, blood thinners and more. Decreasing an area's biodiversity only lessens the chance of finding more such breakthroughs.

    Also, species are often effective when used against each other. For example, bats and predator insects can help solve agricultural issues without the use of harmful pesticides. Certain species, frequently referred to as indicator species, are also helpful in alerting us to problems in the environment. When bird populations plummeted several decades ago, it was a big factor in the case against DDT.

    There are lots of other benefits to be had from saving endangered species. Consider the queen conch, for example. Conches thrive in tropical waters and have exquisitely colored spiral shells that are often used to make jewelry. The queen conch is special, because at times she can produce a hard substance called the conch pearl, which is elliptical in shape and pink in color. The conch pearl is considered a special gem and fetches a very high price. And she's not just pretty; she's also tasty. Specialty foods, such as conch chowder and conch fritters, can be made from the queen conch's meat. She is, like all classes of conches, registered on the endangered species list.

    In the plant kingdom, consider Johnson's seagrass. It's a food source for manatees and green sea turtles, and it's also a shelter and breeding habitat for other underwater species. Unfortunately, those benefits are under fire because the plant is currently on the Endangered Species Act's "threatened" list -- threatened by poor water quality, propellers, storm damage and dredging activities. Its critical habitat is in Florida [source: NOAA].

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