Ten animal species are vanishing from the face of the planet every day. According to the World Animal Foundation, one-third to one-half of all animal species could become extinct by 2050. Today, there are more than 138,300 plant and animal species on the IUCN Red List — with an astronomical 38,500 threatened with extinction — including 41% of amphibians, 37% of sharks and rays, 26% of mammals, and 14% of birds.
Extinction takes place when environmental or evolutionary factors cause a species to die out. Historically, 99% of all species have gone extinct over the course of five mass extinctions — which were a result of natural causes such as asteroid impacts and volcano eruptions.
Scientists believe we are in the midst of a sixth extinction — largely due to human activity. Wildlife trade, climate-related habitat loss, pollution, and the use of toxic substances are primarily to blame for the crisis. Rates of extinction are occurring 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than they would from natural causes, significantly impacting our ecosystem.
As species go extinct, they are removed from the food chain. When an animal’s prey vanishes, it is forced to find alternate food sources — or it may starve. Conversely, if a predator goes extinct, its prey’s population can multiply, throwing ecosystems off balance. This can impact other biodiversity, giving rise to invasive species.
Humans share an ecosystem with endangered species — meaning diminishing species populations will impact us, too. For instance, when the American bison began to disappear, people who relied on them for food had to find alternative sources of nourishment.
For the past 60 years, one organization has been working tirelessly to protect the biodiversity on our planet. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) — the world’s leading conservation organization — operates in nearly 100 countries, collaborating to develop and deliver innovative solutions that protect wildlife and their habitats.
WWF has been behind a plethora of heartwarming wildlife recovery stories, from restoring black rhinos in South Africa to saving blackbucks in the Himalayas. In doing so, the organization is helping to protect lush ecosystems while ensuring people continue to benefit from nature. WWF also has incredible plans in the works: it intends to double the world’s wild tiger population by 2022 and endeavors to shut down the illegal ivory markets in Thailand.
The extraordinary initiatives WWF is putting into motion have inspired Gerent to get on board. Our CSR department, Gerent Gives, has launched an Animal Adoption Program — in which we gift team members an animal adoption for their birthdays. The program continues to be a staff favorite; with over 140 animals to choose from, our team is having a blast learning about animals while helping them prosper.
Dayron Gallardo, a senior developer at Gerent, recently celebrated his birthday and chose to adopt a polar bear.
“I want to help protect these beautiful animals from the detrimental effects climate change has had on their habitats,” Gallardo explained. “I also learned they can swim constantly for days at a time — at six miles per hour, which is pretty cool.”
At Gerent, we believe all animals deserve to thrive. We are thrilled to support incredible organizations working overtime to defend the biodiversity on our planet. If you would like to adopt an animal of your own, check out WWF’s adoption page here!