How do we save the animal world

Species protectionWith one threatened Animal species the whole Ecosystem rescue

Save it or let it die out? When it comes to endangered species, the answer is not always easy. In the case of the northern white rhinoceros, the researchers opted for the rescue because the animal plays a crucial role in the ecosystem.

68 percent of the world's animal species have been extinct since 1970, reports the WWF in its Living Planet Report 2020. These include birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles. Many other animal species on our planet are threatened with extinction soon.

The northern white rhinoceros as a key

The northern white rhinoceros has a key position among these animal species. Researchers have been working to prevent their extinction for almost twenty years. Because: The northern white rhinoceros is crucial for the ecosystem, explains Thomas Hildebrandt, Head of the Reproduction Management Department at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

If the rhinoceros stay alive, it could also save insects, birds, reptiles, small antelopes, plants and thousands of other species from extinction and thus save them.

The influence of man

One reason why whole animal species become extinct is humans. For example, there are currently only two females left of the northern white rhinoceros: Najin and Fatu. Because of their horns, their conspecifics fell victim to poaching.

A frog species that settled in Romania until it was attacked by a skin fungus was similarly threatened by humans, reports Thomas Hildebrandt. The amphibians were said to have suffocated by the fungus. According to the reproductive medicine specialist, researchers have so far assumed that humans carried the fungus into the natural world of amphibians. The result: they disappeared within ten years.

Save it or let it die out

When it comes to saving endangered animal species from extinction, it is above all a matter of weighing up. "Unfortunately, I cannot understand the question that we play god and let species become extinct," says Thomas Hildebrandt. Rather, it is a decision on how resources are allocated. The saving of the northern white rhinoceros, for example, is supported by the fact that many other animal species can be preserved with it.

"In the case of the northern white rhinoceros, we are focusing on one species that so many other species depend on."
Thomas Hildebrandt, Head of the Reproduction Management Department at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research

Thomas Hildebrandt calls for a more responsible use of the earth so that it does not have to come to that in the future. A United Nations (UN) summit will also take place today (September 30, 2020). In the run-up, 60 countries have committed to implement measures to save biological diversity.