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Why do We Care About Endangered Species in North Carolina?
THE FEDERAL ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act) recognizes that many of our nation's
valuable plant and wildlife resources have been lost and that other species
are close to extinction. The Act provides a means to help preserve these
species and their habitat for future generations.
WHY SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE LOSS OF SPECIES?
Extinction is a natural process that has been occurring since long before
the existence of man. Normally, new species develop, through a process
known as speciation, at about the same rate that other species become extinct.
However, because of air and water pollution, forest clearing, loss of wetlands,
and other man-induced environmental changes, extinctions are now occurring
at a rate that far exceeds the speciation rate. Each extinction diminishes
the diversity and complexity of life on earth. The loss of a single species
may result in few environmental repercussions however, all life on earth
is interconnected. If enough "living connections" are broken,
whole ecosystems could fail the balance of nature could be forever altered,
and our own survival could be jeopardized. Furthermore, the diversity of
animal and plant life provide us with food and many of our life-saving
medicines. When a species is lost, the benefits it might have provided
are gone forever.