Effects of Wildlife Crime on African and Asian Elephant Popluations

Facing extinction; a study into the effects of Wildlife Crime on both African and Asian Elephant (Loxodonta africana, Elephas maximus) populations.


Both African and Asian Elephants are listed on the IUCN red list with ratings of vulnerable and endangered respectively. Despite conservation efforts aiding the increase in African Elephant populations, Asian Elephant populations are still decreasing. Both African and Asian Elephants are protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix I except populations of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe where African Elephants are protected under Appendix II (Blanc, 2008; Choudhury et al., 2008). Appendix I protects all organisms that are at risk of extinction by disallowing any international trade in these species except when it is not for commercial purposes. Appendix II organisms are not considered to be in immediate danger of extinction but consist of species whose populations are showing a concerning decline. Strict regulations to prevent over-exploitation is in place regarding trading of these organisms but trading is still permitted (Stiles, 2004).

As older Elephants have bigger tusks, they are more desirable to poachers however the removal of older generations of Elephants with larger tusks is having disastrous effects on Elephant populations and their reproduction and is ultimately driving them towards extinction (Gobush et al. 2008; Ishengoma et al. 2008). Despite the rapid decrease of Elephant populations during the 1970’s and 1980’s and the consequent banning of Ivory trade, poaching is still prevalent today (Wasser et al., 2010). Wild elephants are also facing new threats from human-wildlife conflict. Due to an increase in urbanisation, elephant populations are being forced to live in smaller areas with growing contact with humans and livestock (Chen et al., 2013; Gillson and Lindsay, 2003). In China alone, urbanisation has more than doubled between 1960 and 2010 (Figure 3) and this has caused a decrease in Elephant populations within China with most Asian Elephants now residing in India. (Figure 1) Most African Elephants are found in the south away from growing populations in the north (Figure 2).

Figure 2. The population density of African Elephants. (Association of Zoos and Aquariums, 2009)

Figure 1. The population density of Asian Elephants. (Association of Zoos and Aquariums, 2009)


Figure 3: The status of Chinas urbanisation between 1960 and 2010. (Chen et al., 2013)

The Ivory trade

Ivory is the main component of mammalian teeth (Espinoza et al., 1992) and has primarily been associated with Elephants due to their protruding tusks. The tusks of Elephants grow throughout their life (Weissengruber et al, 2005). When removing an Elephants tusk the Elephant would have to be killed as some of the tusk protrudes into the elephant’s head and would need to be carved out of the skull (Figure 1). Tusks are sexually dimorphic in Asian Elephants with males having longer, and thicker tusks whereas both male and female African Elephants have long tusks (Chelliah and Sukumar, 2013). Some African Elephants have been found to have no tusks which is believed to be genetic and is also thought to be the result of poaching as Elephants are evolving to have shorter or no tusks (Whitehouse, 2002). This however puts Elephants at a disadvantage as they have been observed using their tusks in fighting for dominance and digging for minerals (Chelliah and Sukumar, 2013). Wildlife crime is not only potentially causing extinction in the long term but in the short term is forcing Elephants to evolve as a means of survival by reducing their desirability to poachers.

Figure 2. Longitudinal section through the right tusk of an African elephant. N, Nasal Cavity; C, Cavity containing the nerves; D, Dentine (Ivory). (Weissengruber et al, 2005).



When discussing Elephants and their conservation there is an automatic association to the ivory trade and poaching. Ivory has often been traded for the idea that it shows wealth status especially within Chinese middle-class communities, this can be seen in figure 5 with most legal ivory retailers being in richer parts of China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Fuzhou. As the population in China is continually increasing there has become an even greater demand for ivory (Gao and Clark, 2014). Poaching has disastrous effects on Elephant populations firstly because of the immediate effect of the death of an Elephant and secondly, the long-term effects such as impact on reproduction within elephant populations. As female Elephants reach sexual maturity at 10-12 years of age and prefer to mate with older male elephants (Hollister-Smith et al., 2007) it is important to ensure they are well protected in the wild to allow for them time to reproduce. The average Elephant pregnancy lasts 22 months with age between offspring ranging between 4-8 years (Foley et al., 2001). The impact poaching has on the genetic structure of Elephants can be seen in figure 8. For females, losing matriarchal and older members of the herd may negatively influence the reproductive success and consequently population growth of the herd (Gobush et al., 2008). For males, poaching can lead to reproductive distortion thus decreasing the genetic diversity in the group.







Figure 8. The effect of poaching on evolutionary social relationships in core Elephant groups. (Elizabeth and Archie, 2011)


Gobush et al., 2008 studied adult female elephants over 25 months to assess the long‐term impacts of poaching and found that 15 years on from poaching, female herds that lost older members or matriarchs had a lower reproductive success than those who’s older members remained intact. Their results also show that disrupted family bonds caused an increase in glucocorticoids which relates to stress within the herd, those in the herd that still had mother-daughter relatedness were able to maintain low stress levels. Similarly, Ruggiero, 1990 found that poaching of matriarchal members of herds resulted in long term impacts of lower reproductive success due to young bulls not yet reaching maturity and that the herds were now being led by young, inexperienced cows. However, a study by Ishengoma et.al., 2008 found that although poaching resulted in short term effects of reproductive success in male bulls the long-term effects were insignificant and male bulls were able to breed successfully with female cows.

By 1970 prosperity grew increasing the demand for Ivory and thus causing a decrease in Elephant populations as Ivory trading grew in popularity (Figure 6; Figure 7; Hilborn et al., 2006). This caused the number of wild African Elephants to rapidly decrease during the 1970’s and 80’s with populations reducing to 600,000 from 1.3 million (Douglas-Hamilton, 2009). Because of this CITES introduced controls including the use of permits and monitoring of legal Ivory trading however this is believed to have only increased the appeal of Ivory and criminal organisations involved in the illegal trade to take over the legal trade making Ivory more expensive with set prices (Bennett, 2015; Heltberg, 2001). Finally, as of 1990, Elephants were moved to appendix I of CITES which consists of organisms that are the most at risk of becoming extinct. All international trade is forbidden unless a permit allowing trade for non-commercial purposes has been granted (Stiles, 2004).

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Despite the effects of poaching and the ivory trade resulting in a rapid decline of Elephant populations, there was opposition to the ban, mainly from South African countries who claim the money they received from Ivory sales helped with conserving their Elephants (Kelso, 1995). CITES voted in 1997 to allow the populations of African elephants in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to be moved to Appendix II allowing ivory stockpiles to be auctioned to Japanese traders (Underwood et al., 2013). The auction took place in 1999 and was on an experimental basis, the aim was to reduce the number of Elephants that were illegally poached by auctioning Ivory in this way. However, it is believed that this only resulted in an increase in Ivory demand giving poachers and illegal traders more incentive (Barbier et al., 2013).

In 2008 China was granted trading permission to disperse its Ivory stockpile and was supported by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network) with the aim that the legal trade of Ivory in this way would decrease the price of Ivory set by criminals and thus cause illegal traders and poachers to lose incentive (Vandergrift, 2013). However, due to the publicity surrounding the killing of Elephants and the Ivory trade the demand and popularity for Ivory had diminished (Stiles and Martin, 2001). This encouraged China to ban all ivory sales and trading in 2018 (Aryal et al., 2018).

Figure 5. The distribution of legal ivory market in China in 2013. (Gao and Clark, 2014)

Figure 6. Elephant population changes since 1950 showing the decrease due to poaching in the 1970’s and 1980’s followed by an increase after 1990 when the ivory trade ban was implemented.

Figure 7. The number of ivory items traded in the auction market 2002–2013 and the estimated proportion of illegally killed elephants (Gao and Clark, 2014)

As some populations of Elephants are increasing such as those in Kenya (Figure 8) some of those in favour of the ivory trade suggest that as Elephant populations are increasing, they aren’t as endangered as they are made out to be. However, the increase in population of the elephants only occurred after the ban had been imposed suggesting that had the ban not been in place the abundance of Elephants would still be declining (Hilborn et al., 2006).

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) argue that there should be a trade in legitimate Ivory which is gathered from an Elephant that died a natural death in order to maintain the income they receive from Ivory sales. They claim that the profit from the Ivory trade is used to help with Elephant conservation (Wu et al., 2016). However, this is impractical as the amount earned from legal ivory trade is much lower than the amount earned by tourism (Van-Kooten, 2008). Live elephants are often used as a tourist attraction and the killing of the elephant populations will cause countries to lose significant amounts of money.

Figure 8. Elephant population trends in Africa based on the past ten years, 2006-2016 (Chase et al. 2016).


Human-Elephant conflict

Humans and animals have always struggled to co-exist, be it competition for resources such as land or the threat animals pose to humans (Hoare, R., 2000; Sitati and Walpole, 2006). As urbanisation increases the chances of contact between Elephants and villages also increases resulting in conflict due to the threat the Elephants pose to villages Fernando et al., 2005). Due to Elephants destroying crops many villages have introduced fencing but this has caused a skew in migration patterns for elephants (Hayward and Kerley, 2009) this has raised the question on how can the conflict be resolved between humans and elephants.

Elephant habitat consists of_____for Asian elephants and ________for African elepahant and with urbanisation in _____ growing, many of the Elephants habitats are now closer to towns and/or villages (figure, ref). Elehants habitats consist of _______ (ref, image) and their distribution can be seen in figure 2 for Asian and 3 for African. E can see from both figures that those closes to towns number are dwindling as can be seen from someone et al. who found the abundance of af elephants to be ______ compred to years ago at ____ showing a decline of_______. Elephant populations in Africa alone are showing a greater decrease in numbers than increase (figure 1). range from Africa to asia with x amount in Africa and x amount in asia, figurre blah shows the distribution of elephants in both Africa and asia and when comparing this with figure blah we can see how their distribution has dwindled. Elephants live in forests or blah (figure blah) and figure blah shows how much forest has been left in Africa due to urbanization etc.

Having live elephants also benefits other wildlife. Elephants help convert forests into grasslands providing new habitats for a range of wildlife (reference). Therefore, if the elephant population is reduced due to wildlife crime, it indirectly has an adverse effect on the habitats of other animals. In the 1970’s, the Tsavo National Park in Kenya found that a decrease in elephant population led to a decrease in the population of other animals such as zebras (reference).

However, Elepahnts have been known to kill livestock. A study by (reference) found that in villages that were closer to elepahtns more livestock died yearly resulting in money loss etc.

Hard to regulate

Illegal trade is difficult to tell apart from legal trade because testing each batch of Ivory with DNA testing will be costly and difficult (reference). Many conservationists argue that the legal trade in ivory is also used as a cover for illegal trade (reference). Although there is a ban on the international trade in elephant ivory, the sale of antique ivory such as that obtained from mammoths (reference) is still permitted in many countries (reference). In 2016, CITES Parties agreed that all ivory trading should be illegal and the USA, France and China has agreed to this (reference).


If we consider that Elephants are facing extinction and human populations are growing a suitable solution which protects both umans and elephants could be the relocation of elephants. By relocating elephants to one area would encouarage mating within herds as more herds are available for fission and fusin (reference). In 2001, Kruger National Park in south Africa moved some of it’s elephants to Mozambique and found this increased the population of elephants density (reference.) It is evident from numerous research that ivory trade should remain illegal as the ivory ban is at the forefront of preotecting elephants from extinction.

Looking at the pre and post ban figures since the Ivory trade (figure blah Table 1. Elephant population estimates for selected countries, pre- and post-ban) it is clear that a lot of work will need to be taken in bringing the elephant population numbers back up including not only permitting all trading of ivory but also minimisign human elephant conflict. Comparing the changes in African Elpehant populations since the ivory trade ban and the increase in funding and their populations increasing there is a high probability that with fast action the same can be said for Asian elephants.


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Effect of Country Border Walls on Wildlife

Effects of Border Fences on Wild Animals
Due to increase of threats such as
terrorism, immigration and refugee crisis over the world, many countries have constructed
an emergency border security fence to regulate the flow of people entering the
country.  This report touches on the
trend of border fence construction in 2015 Europe and 2017 USA which highlights
the effects that border fences has on the wildlife.  The fences are a major threat to wildlife as
they cause mortality, restrict movement and access to food and water, and
decrease population size.  However, using
ecological knowledge and skillful politics; solutions such a transboundary
cooperation and research into virtual fencing can be applied to  maintain a healthy wildlife that inhabits
alongside borderlines.
Keywords: Donald Trump, USA, Mexico,
Transboundary cooperation, border effects, wildlife, virtual fencing,
The use of fences is a popular technique to establish borders, stake ownerships and control livestock. The need to create ownership and establish territory, restricts the movement of animals (Sutherland , et al., 2017). Fencing of international boundaries is a constant issue for migrating animals; prevention of migration can interfere gaining access to resources, deplete vegetation, cause mortality and reduce effective population size. 

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Conserving the biodiversity on a constant developing planet involves applying ecological knowledge and skillful politics; which helps with aligning the best available knowledge with the appropriate management actions (Linnell, et al., 2016). Therefore, conservationist need to adjust their strategies to the prevailing opportunities and constraints in a continually changing environment (Linnell, et al., 2016). Politics is one of the main factors of the appearance of fencing; especially with the new elected president of the United States of America, Donald Trump. Trump promises to build a wall between the USA and Mexico to prevent any person entering the United States of America illegally; this will aim to prevent terrorist, drug smugglers and other criminals. Immigration, terror attacks and refugee crisis is also ongoing in Europe with many countries rushing to construct border security fencing to regulate the flow of people; this has resulted in the development of transboundary cooperation (Linnell, et al., 2016). Consequently, the increase of border fences present threats to the viability of the wild animal’s populations due to limiting genetic diversity and access to seasonal resources (Sutherland , et al., 2017).
Immigration will always be a popular topic within politics and everyday life. Currently world events such as elections in the United States of America and United Kingdom raises security border issues for wildlife. UK’s elections resulted in leaving the EU, also known and Brexit. One of the main campaigns to persuade people to vote was to development of stricter immigration policies. Fortunately, UK is an island which restricts the amount of border line techniques that can be implemented which do not harm wildlife on a mass scale. Similarly, to the UK, Donald Trump promised to provide stricter security border lines, which included building a wall along the borderline of Mexico and USA. Within just 76 days of being president, Donald Trump received 200 wall construction plans by firms who are listed as interested in the construction contract. Requirements for the border wall included: the wall being able to withstand sledgehammers and pickaxes of at least an hour and to be visually pleasing from the north side, to be 2,000 miles in length and 12 meters (40 feet) high, below ground sensors, coated in climb proof paint and watch towers (Michael, 2017). 
Planning requirements of Trump’s wall brings a lot of publicity and concern to human welfare but only a small population are considering the effects that this will have on the wildlife. The US-Mexico border is a dedicated ecosystem that is located between two biomes; with regular animal and bird migrations moving between north and south of the continent (Sullivan, 2016). It is home to a diverse population of wildlife such as: Saguaro cactus Jaguar (Panthera onca), Desert bighorn sheep, Greater roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), lesser roadrunner (Geococcyx velox), Arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus) and the Black-spotted newt (Notophthalmus meridionalis) that according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are listed as endangered (Geggel, 2017). Nevertheless, with lack of movement and migration, these species will restric mating pools resulting in decrease of genetic diversity which can affect the population persistence, evolutionary potential and individual fitness (Garner, et al., 2005). Although, the wall is currently in the production stage the fence which was built in 1994 has already caused harm to animals. Bison have been seen climbing over the barbed-wire fencing to gain access to food and water (Root, 2016). The fence has already reduced species range by 75% (Lasky, et al., 2011), this will be expected to increase once the reconstruction of the fence takes place.
A similar issue occurred in the summer of 2015. Europe experienced large-scale influx of refugees fleeing conflicts from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa (Linnell, et al., 2016). This caused mass construction of 178 km of border security fences, externally and internally of the EU, as an emergency measure. The fences were built without any environmental impact assessments on their placement and design; unfortunately, this increased the morality rates of red deer (Cervus elaphus) that were found entangled in the coils of barb-wire (Linnell, et al., 2016). Similarly, Razor-wire was used in Slovenia as a security fence to prevent refugees from entering the country after Hungary closed its border. This wired fencing, which runs alongside the country’s 670km border with Croatia, has extremely harsh and negative consequences on nature; such fencing has invaded preserved natural areas, which protects many rare and endangered species including: brown bear (Ursus arctos), the gray wolf (Canis lupus), and the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx). (Linnell, et al., 2016). Although, the fence remains conservation status of large carnivore populations within the Dinaric Mountains should be readdressed and management modified (Linnell, et al., 2016) to prevent these species will experience isolation which will lead to rapid inbreeding (resulting in a genetic bottleneck), vulnerability to demographic stochasticity, hunting/culling and a mortality. If the fence remains then this will reverse decades of conservation efforts; this can be applied to US – Mexico wall. 

Transboundary cooperation
Throughout the 1980s to the beginning of the 21st century environmental awareness was high across the general population; with the end of the cold war and the start of a range of international legal instruments such as Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). International legal instruments resulted in the appearance of an increase of global efforts to conserve biodiversity, including the promoting sustainability (Linnell, et al., 2016). 
Global efforts to reduce pollutants and control climate change occurred once the realization to increase awareness on a larger scale with ecological processes, would require international cooperation (Linnell, et al., 2016). However, on a local scale there was an increase within international cooperation to conserve wildlife populations allowing, these populations to cross international borders. This resulted in the increase of transboundary protected areas which benefited from the removal of fences that had restricted wildlife from movement. This harmonization of legislations reestablished connectivity; resulting in recovery of large carnivore and herbivore populations in Europe (Linnell, et al., 2016). Western Europe saw expansion of wolves (Canis iupus) which have been previously absent for over half a century; thus, making them a flagship species for transboundary cooperation.  Large carnivores have benefitted from access across the increasing invisible borders; this success highlights the advantages for transboundary cooperation. This success has allowed for opportunities for transboundary cooperation to be applied outside of Europe (Linnell, et al., 2016). Although, transboundary cooperation has been successful for Europe it is impossible that it can be applied to USA-Mexico border wall, as this defeats the main objective of preventing people crossing the border. 
Monitoring devices
Monitoring devices may be an alternative to the wall. Advanced technology will be able to provide security while minimizing the impact on wildlife, for example virtual fencing. Virtual fencing is a method of controlling animals without ground-based fencing; these controls occur by altering animal’s behavior through cues (Anderson, 2007). The boundary can be formed by any geometrical shape, can be detected by an electronic system worn by the animal, but cannot been seen by the human eye (Anderson, 2007).
Virtual fencing was first patented in 1973 for controlling domestic dogs, which then developed into the use of controlling livestock in 1987. Bishop-Hurley, et al conducted a virtual fencing study with cattle were neck-collar and head-halter that carry elections, batteries and equipment providing stimuli, including audio vibration, light and electrical stimulation (Bishop-Hurley, et al., 2007). A radio and global positioning system (GPS) antennae were wired and attached collar to record the animal’s movements in reactions cues and to generate boundaries. The conclusion of the study showed success in eliciting a behavioural response from cattle with cues almost immediately. The experiment confirmed that sensory cues used in context of virtual fencing have potential for controlling cattle (Bishop-Hurley, et al., 2007). However, larger sample size need to be tested to acquire further understanding of behavioural variance (Bishop-Hurley, et al., 2007). 
Although, the study concludes with recommendation that further controlled experimental work is need to quantify interactions between cures, consequences and cattle learning (Bishop-Hurley, et al., 2007). Development of this study could be implemented within the wild to replace wire fence use as it prevents injuries that may occur from fences or walls and can be a positive insight to population levels and help towards providing location coordinates that can be later analysed by geographic information system (GIS). 
Translocation is a common method of relocating animals from one area to another. Although, this is process is typically performed between zoos, game reserves and farms; this may be a beneficial way to ensure the success of population levels. As isolation to Mexico’s wildlife will be the result of Trump’s wall, this will provide opportunities for research both behavioural and biological. Researches may reveal after time that center areas of the isolated country will be beneficial as a rehabilitation sanctuary to increase population numbers of critically endangered species.
Although these solutions are validated and successful to many case studies. Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that no human will cross the border line, therefore subsequently making wildlife’s chance of ever crossing over the line near impossible.
Geopolitical change has occurred at such a fast rate that conservationist have been portrayed to have been left behind with creating solutions to the standard border technique of fencing. Although, transboundary cooperation has been advocated, it has been classed as less practical in areas of the world were the large-scale influx of people fleeing unstable countries due to conflict. There is a large population of animals that roam across border of Western and Central Europe. 
With further education and promotion of how fences effect wildlife, will hopefully change enforcers mindset of context-specific view of the motivations to build fences as well as the solutions to their side effects (Linnell, et al., 2016). Nevertheless, it seems that the reason to why fences continue to be constructed as a form a physical and psychological defense to threat. Through this report, it is clear to see that Europe and USA have issues with immigration and halting the access to their land means preventing the movement of terrorist, drug smugglers and refugees; thus, protecting the country. However, building fences that are created from wire will result in catastrophic decline in population numbers and genetic diversity with the increase of mortality. 
Solutions such as transboundary cooperation is fundamentally the easiest way to converse wildlife as evidence shows with the expansion of wolves in Western Europe. Although this cannot be applied to USA-Mexico border wall it is a positive solution that can increase populate numbers without any major interference. Other solutions such and virtual fencing needs further experimental research but could possibly be applied to future as a prevention to the classic wire fences.
On reflection, these issues highlight just how important it is to establish a clear communication between border security and wildlife conservationist from around the world. This communication is key to amend and improve solutions and to promote and increase the wildlife that surrounds borderlines.
Anderson, D. M., 2007. Virtual Fencing – past, present and future. The rangeland journal , 29(1), pp. 65-78.Bishop-Hurley, G. J. et al., 2007. Virtual fencing applications: Implementing and testing an automated cattle control system. Computers and Electronics in Argriculture , 56(1), pp. 14-22.Garner, A., Rachlow, J. L. & Hicks, J. F., 2005. Patterns of genetic diversity and its loss in mammalian populations. Conservation biology, 19(4), pp. 1215-1221.Geggel, L., 2017. Trump’s Wall could have unexpected victims: wildlife. Live Science , 27 1. Lasky, J. R., Jetz, W. & Keitt, T. H., 2011. Conservation biogeography of the US-Mexico border: A transcontinental risk assessment of barries to animal disperal. Diversity and Distributions, 17(4), pp. 673-687.Linnell, J. D. C. et al., 2016. Border Securitiy Fencing and Widllife: The end of the Transboundary paradigm in Euraise?. PlOS Biology, 14(6).Michael, T., 2017. Grand Designs Donald Trump’s Mexico border wall designs finally revealed – complete with bombproof concrete, tunnelling alarms and storage for nuclear waste. The Sun, 5 5. Root, T., 2016. Border walls are bad for wildlife. The washington post, 1 11. Sullivan, J., 2016. What would trumps wall mean for wildlife. BBC News , 1 9. Sutherland , W. J. et al., 2017. a 2017 Horizon scan of emerging issues for global conservation and biological diversity. Trend in ecology & evolution, 31(1), pp. 31-40.

Global Warming’s Effect on Wildlife

Global warming has been a blossoming topic throughout our nation for some time now. It has developed into a major issue due to the various ways it affects the many species that inhabit our planet. Each day more wildlife is added to the already long list of endangered species as a result of unstable living conditions from global warming.

   A lot of people speak about global warming but not many actually understand what it means. For Earth to sustain life it relies on the “greenhouse effect”. The Earth’s atmosphere contains natural “greenhouse gases” that capture warmth and keep the planet able to support life. When industry began to take off excessive greenhouse gases were being emitted due to the burning of fossils fuels from cars, factories, planes, etc. The surplus of these gases can remain in the atmosphere for many years and build up a thick layer of heat around the earth. “The result is that the globe has heated up by about one degree Fahrenheit over the past century—and it has heated up more intensely over the past two decades”. (Environmental Defense Fund)

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   For some people this may not be much of a bother but to wildlife throughout the earth, it’s a matter of life or death. The basics an animal needs to survive are simply food, freshwater, shelter and the right temperatures. Global warming has an effect on each of these necessities of life. Change in climate affects food sources for species that migrate, such as a bird that’s food (flowering plant, insects, and seeds) have either not hatched or bloomed or have too early. “Milder winters cause seasonal food caches to spoil, so wildlife species like the Gray Jay depending on food stores to survive the winter are left without sustenance. ” (National Wildlife Federation) Climate change also causes ice to melt in arctic areas resulting in loss of hunting grounds for polar bears. The warmer water temperatures harm many species that need cold water to survive such as trout, salmon, etc. “Rising ocean temperatures have already caused massive coral bleaching, leading to the collapse of these ecosystems which sustain huge numbers of fish.”(National Wildlife Federation) Flooding leads to more erosion, which results in the reduction of the quality of water therefore harming aquatic life and other wildlife who consume the water.

On the other hand droughts can also be a result of global warming. Rising temperatures result in more evaporation, which causes faster creation of clouds and rain fall which means some areas will greater concentrations of rain which of course leads to flooding and some will receive less which brings us drought. This led to the depravation of animals from water and kill plants that are needed by wildlife for shelter and sources of food. They can also dry up wet lands used by migrating species for breeding such as geese, ducks, etc. 

Arctic areas are the most commonly thought of affected areas from global warming. Such as when most people picture animals affected by global warming they automatically think of the polar bear. Although the polar bear and other arctic wildlife are highly affected, there are many other species affected all throughout the planet. The Beluga Whale just like many other species are on the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) list of the most affected animals of Global Warming. Others include Ringed Seals who have been influenced by the melting of ice resulting in them having to relocate to other areas to raise their offspring or the Arctic Fox who now face hunting competition from Red Foxes. Some have been affected by acidification such as the Staghorn Coral whose skeletons dissolve due to the change, and Clownfish whose sense of smell is affected which hinders their ability to protect themselves from predators.  On the WCS (Wilderness Conservation Society) list, Koala bears feed off the Eucalyptus tree which’s leaves nutritional value is declining because of the escalating levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. Flamingos are suffering from the decreasing size of their habitats in tropical and semi tropical areas. And the Hawksbill Turtle whose reproduction is being affected by the rising temperatures of the beach sand in which it lays its eggs. Warmer temperatures cause dramatic imbalances in the sex ratios of turtle hatchlings. (All About Wildlife)

   While many people assume they cannot make much of a difference, there are many ways you can help the continuation of global warming each day. Simply changing a light bulb in your home can make a huge difference. If every household in the United States replaced one regular light bulb with an energy-saving model, we could reduce global warming pollution by more than 90 billion pounds over the life of the bulbs; the same as taking 6.3 million cars off the road. Replacing your incandescent bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescents, doesn’t only good for the environment, it  can also save money on eclectic bills and light bulbs.(Union of Concerned Scientists) Another way to help prevent the expansion of global warming is merely unplugging a rarely used freezer or refrigerator. Just this quick and easy action can reduce the average family’s carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 10 percent. An additional quick and easy way to help the environment is planting a tree. “In addition to storing carbon, trees planted in and around urban areas and residences can provide much-needed shade in the summer, reducing energy bills and fossil fuel use.”(Union of Concerned Scientists)

   In conclusion, while were driving down the road burning more fossil fuels, global warming is expanding day by day increasing the “blanket of heat” surrounding Earth’s atmosphere. It brings various negative effects on all types wildlife and their environments all over the planet. While we cannot manage to completely reverse what damage has already been done, if we  all made a few simple changes in our own everyday lives to prevent the extension of global warming we could save species from all over the world from extinction.

Works Cited

“Basics of Global warming| Environmental Defense Fund.” Home | Environmental Defense Fund. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. http://www.edf.org/climate/basics-global-warming?gclid=CKzo9tDlsasCFUkCQAodpTMQgg >.

“Effects on Wildlife and Habitat – National Wildlife Federation.” Home – National Wildlife Federation. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. http://www.nwf.org/Global-Warming/Effects-on-Wildlife-and-Habitat.aspx >.

“Global warmingand SOUTH CAROLINA.” National Wildlife Federation. 30 Jan. 2009. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. http://www.nwf.org/~/media/PDFs/Global%20Warming/Global%20Warming%20State%20Fact%20Sheets/SouthCarolina.ashx >.

Warming, Global. “Species Most Endangered By Global Warming.” Top 10 Endangered Species & Wild Animal Facts — All About Wildlife. 17 Dec. 2009. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. http://www.allaboutwildlife.com/endangered-species/species-most-endangered-by-global-warming/4256 >.

“Ten Personal Solutions to Global Warming.” Union of Concerned Scientists. 17 May 2006. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/what_you_can_do/ten-personal-solutions-to.html >.


   Honestly, I chose this topic because of all the commercials I see on television of the endangered polar bears. I believed that global warming was just an issue in arctic areas such as Alaska. Little did I know even here in South Carolina our wildlife suffers from global warming on a daily basis. I also assumed global warming was caused from just factories, cars, etc. I had no clue even I could change a little aspect in my life and make a difference, such as with the light bulb. I personally believe if everyone was aware that they could make such an impact, as a nation, we could all make a difference in the continuation of global warming.

Human Causes of Endangered Wildlife

A species is described as endangered when the entire population faces a serious risk of extinction. In the early twenty-first century, as human population growth, large-scale agriculture, and increasing economic development impact the planet in ways never before seen, extinctions are occurring at an unprecedented rate. The World Conservation Union has estimated that as many as 40 percent of all organisms are under some degree of threat due to habitat destruction, disease, pollution, overhunting, and overfishing, or other reasons. (Sexton et al. 1)

Unfortunately, humans now are responsible for causing permanent changes in the wildlife and habitat degradation due to deforestation for agricultural use of what used to be the home of the endangered wildlife.  Because of this, humans have destroyed the plants and habitats that animals need in order to survive.

“Forests originally covered 40% of Earth’s terrestrial surface [1], but extensive deforestation over the past 300 years has reduced this area substantially” (Prevedello et al.).

Besides deforestation another enormous factor is pollution caused by humans, according to Connolly article every year, 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the world’s oceans.

Just to put that into perspective just imagine the equivalent to five grocery bags of plastic trash sitting on every foot of coastline around the world (Connolly et al. 22).

Having a high quantity of plastic in their natural habitat is an immediate risk to endangered species.

Other reasons why wildlife has been in decline are hunting and poaching. Both can be very dangerous to wildlife and undoubtedly affects all countries all over the world. Hunting is done by humans and it is the act of killing or trapping an animal for the purpose of providing food resources or simply for “fun” as hunting in a lot of countries can be considered as a sport. Thankfully, in a lot of developed countries, legal hunting is controlled through laws and regulations, where you need a special permit in order to hunt and it is only practiced on the species that are not endangered. Legal hunting is generally practiced on specific seasons so it doesn’t threaten the longevity of an animal species.  On the other hand, illegal hunting has reached its peak. Illegal hunting is threatening many endangered or non-endangered animal species. 

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Poaching is undeniably the most harmful and unfair form of hunting. Poachers kill for profit and only for profit. Commercial poaching is a remarkably growing industry, where different parts or organs of animals are being sold and traded such as rhinos horn, elephant’s tusks, big and small wild cats fur, and the list extends to almost every animal species. Because of excessive poaching, the Vietnams Javan Rhino was declared extinct in 2011. Vietnam is one of the world’s largest consumers of rhino horn, contributing to the continued poaching of rhinos in the wild (“We Asked People in Vietnam why they use Rhino horn. Here’s what they said.”).

Vietnamese people mainly poach the rhino’s horn for traditional medicine use, which doesn’t have any scientific evidence of helping to cure any disease and as a status symbol.

Aside from being used for traditional medicine, rhino horn is considered a status symbol. Consumers said that they shared it within social and professional networks to demonstrate their wealth and strengthen business relationships. Gifting whole rhino horns was also used as a way to get favors from those in power. (“We Asked People in Vietnam why they use Rhino horn. Here’s what they said.”)

In a lot of other cases endangered species, mostly small mammals, are captured and held in captivity in pet trades due to peoples’ obsession of domesticating tropical animals such as monkeys, apes and small felines that are roughly the size of a regular domestic cat but with the appearance of a big wild cat.

Another harmful practice of hunting is the “Trophy Hunting”, where the animals are being killed for no particular reasons. Not because they are being used as food resources nor because it is endangering the “Human” species, but only and solemnly for our pleasure of showing a successful hunt.  Adding fuel to the fire, lots of public figures and celebrities share their successful trophies on their social media platforms, where they pose smiling next to the dead body of the animal. Whether we like or not, a lot of young folks look up to public figures and celebrities as a role model. Consciously or not, by following this social trend they (celebrities and public figures) help normalizing and destigmatizing trophy hunting.

The majority of the hunters don’t necessarily know which species of animals are endangered or not, because of this lack of knowledge, everyday numerous amount of endangered animals gets killed. With the right exposure from the media and a lot of effort from the government, things can be changed. A positive example of this is the state of New York, where is mandatory to take a class before purchasing a hunting license.

All hunter education courses require students to complete homework prior to attending the classroom and field session. Proof of the completed homework is required to attend the course. Students should register for the course well in advance of the course date to allow time to complete the homework requirement, which takes approximately three hours. All courses require successful completion of an in-person field day to earn certification for the course. (“DEC Announces state Hunter Education Courses Available Before Start of Spring Turkey Season.”)

Regrettably, this law is only applying to the species of Meleagris gallopavo, more commonly known as turkeys. If this law would apply to more species and if it was universally accepted from all the countries all over the word it would drastically help to preserve the wildlife.


Although humans are the main reason why the list of the endangered species gets bigger and bigger every year, we are not the only reason why species extinct. A loss of habitat can happen naturally. Dinosaurs, for instance, lost their habitat about 65 million years ago (“Endangered Species.”).  Another factor that has a lot to do with species extinction is the genetic variation, the inability to adapt to environmental changes.

Genetic variation allows species to adapt to changes in the environment. Usually, the greater the population of a species, the greater its genetic variation and therefore the greater the chances to survive (“Endangered Species.”).

What makes a species endangered and what are the main categories?

A species is classified as endangered when its population has declined between 50 and 70 percent. This decline is measured over 10 years or three generations of the species, whichever is longer and a species is classified as endangered when there are fewer than 2,500 mature individuals left in the wildlife (“Endangered Species.”).

After endangered species, we have the critically endangered species which the main difference is that A critically endangered species’ population has declined between 80 and 90 percent. This decline is measured over 10 years or three generations of the species, whichever is longer, also a species is classified as critically endangered when there are fewer than 250 mature individuals left in the wildlife (“Endangered Species.”).

The remaining two categories are the extinct in the wild and completely extinct.

The only differences are that the extinct in the wild species are only found in captivity and completely extinct species are nowhere to be found.

With the extinct in the wild species, there is still hope that one day these species might be re-introduced to the wild and hopefully continue to reproduce.  Something similar happened with the Wyoming toads in Michigan according to this article

At the National Amphibian Conservation Center at the AZA-accredited Detroit Zoo, forty juvenile Wyoming toads, Bufo hemiophrys baxteri, one of the most endangered amphibians in the U.S., are being raised by zoo staff. Due to disease and loss of their wetland habitat, the numbers of these toads declined dramatically over the past 30 years, and the species is now considered functionally extinct in the wild.  (“Detroit Zoo Breeds 40 Wyoming Toadlets for Recovery Program.” 88)

What roles does pollution play in habitat degradation?

Degradation is the act or process of reducing something in value or worth. Environmental degradation, therefore, is the de-valuing of and damage to the environment by natural or anthropogenic (human-induced) causes. The loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, depletion of energy or mineral sources, and exhaustion of groundwater aquifers are all examples of environmental degradation. (Environmental degradation, 1)

Habitat degradation is undoubtedly the biggest threat to wildlife’s world. 

Our impact on the planet wildlife has never been bigger, we are inflicting unprecedented changes on the natural habitats on which wildlife depends, through deforestation and land-use changes for agricultural expansion.

One clear example that how deforestation is critical to wildlife looseness is the rain forest.

The vanishing rainforest is also of major global concern. The degradation of the rain forest–with its extensive logging, deforestation, and massive destruction of habitat–has threatened the survival of many species of plants and animals as well as disrupting climate and weather patterns locally and globally. Although tropical rainforests cover only about 5 to 7 percent of the world’s land surface, they are areas rich in biodiversity, containing about one-half of all species of plants and animals. Many pharmaceutical products have been developed from species in rainforests, but these forests hold many more potential sources that have not been discovered and studied for their medicinal or food properties. Poor forest management, lax or non-existent logging regulations, and illegal logging result in the loss of large tracts of forests each year. A 2012 report by the World Bank revealed that illegal logging alone results in the loss of an area the size of a football field every second. Political corruption facilitates the illegal timber trade, according to a 2013 investigation by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), which found that half of all timber harvested in Mozambique alone and exported to China is illegal. (Environmental degradation, 1)

Another habitat area where the human hand has help destructing is the sea and ocean life. A clear example of this is the great coral barrier.

Great Barrier Reef, largest complex of coral reef in the world, c.1,250 mi (2,000 km) long, in the Coral Sea, forming a natural breakwater for the coast of Queensland, NE Australia. Composed of more than 2,800 individual reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is separated from the mainland by a shallow lagoon from 10 to 100 mi (16–161 km) wide. In some places, it is more than 400 ft. (122 m) thick. (“Great Barrier Reef.” 1)

Being one of the most gorgeous gifts from mother nature you would think that us, as humans would do anything in our power to help to preserve the barrier but sadly that’s not the case.

 The coral in the reef is threatened, however, by predation by the crown-of-thorns starfish, by damage caused by cyclones (hurricanes), by sedimentation caused by human activities, and by increasing and recurring coral bleaching due to climate change. Although the Australian government declared the reef a marine sanctuary in 1975, a 2012 study estimated that half of the coral had disappeared since 1985, with losses much greater in some areas than others. High water temperatures in the late 2010s damaged large areas, killing about a third of the reef’s corals. (“Great Barrier Reef.” 1)

Sadly, the marine biodiversity is as much in risk if not more as the inland biodiversity. Is estimated that 14 billion pounds of garbage is thrown into the ocean every year.

Next time you throw away a cigarette butt, consider this: Many of the 4.5 trillion cigarette butts thrown away each year are found in the stomachs of dead fish (Denis 5).

Because of so much garbage that gets thrown every day into the ocean, garbage patches exist. Garbage patches are a huge amount of accumulated waste in the ocean.  Scientists believe that the world’s largest ocean garbage dump is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that lies midway between Hawaii and San Francisco. Roughly the size of Texas, it contains some 2.7 million tonnes of trash (Denis 5).

How does the loss of biodiversity affect human life?

In poor words More species means fewer diseases, in other words:  Biodiversity protects ecosystems against infectious diseases, researchers have concluded. The finding suggests that loss of species from an environment could have dangerous consequences for the spread and incidence of infections, including those that affect humans (Gilbert 1).

The review analyses studies of 12 diseases, including West Nile fever and Lyme disease, in ecosystems around the world. In every study, the diseases became more prevalent as biodiversity was lost. For example, three studies showed that a decreased diversity of small mammals in an area causes the prevalence of hantaviruses — which induce fatal lung infections in humans — in host animals to rise, thereby increasing the risk to humans (Gilbert 1).

Because of this we have solicit as many individuals as we can to help to protect wildlife, natural habitats, and biodiversity, simply because of by saving the biodiversity we help protecting not only the endangered species but ourselves as well from numerous diseases.

How exactly can we help to protect wildlife and stop endangered species from extinction?

Well, there is a lot of what we can do. We could start with:

Plant trees

Planting trees help to recycle oxygen, returning it to the atmosphere for us and all animals to breath. Trees also help to absorb potentially harmful gases as well.  By planting a tree, you also help in creating a habitat either permanent or temporary it helps creating home for lots of animal species.

Pick up trash

Picking up trash is essential to protect the environment and the animal’s species that live within.

A lot of animals die every day because of plastic waste, a prime example are sea turtles. Because

Plastic straws that we use every day.  We can potentially help this cause by using fewer plastic straws. A good alternative for plastic straws is reusable straws and compostable straws.

Recycle waste

Recycling is everyone’s responsibility. There are many reasons why we need to recycle more. Primarily when we recycle we throw less landfill, by reducing landfill we lower the chances of habitat and wildlife degradation.


Help wildlife by donating to the right organization that helps to preserve wildlife and animals’ habitat. Nature preserves and wildlife areas are well-known to be short of funds because the government doesn’t pay the attention that it needs, so donate money to these non-profit organizations that help preserve the wildlife and endangered species.

In conclusion, the damage that we have done to the planet and the wildlife is irrecoverable, unfortunately. That doesn’t mean that we should stop preserving what we have left. There is still hope for wildlife.  One simple positive act cannot change the fact that wildlife diversity is declining but just like you can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples, a positive act towards saving mothers nature creatures will cause more to come.

Works Cited

Connolly, et al. “Plastics and Impacts on Endangered Species: What Role Might Congress Play Going Forward?” Animal Law, 2019, p. 22+. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A583998538/AONE?u=lom_oakcc&sid=AONE&xid=10735876. Accessed 17 July 2019. 

“Endangered Species.” National Geographic Society, 9 Oct. 2012, www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/endangered-species/. 

Prevedello, Jayme A., et al. “Impacts of forestation and deforestation on local temperature across the globe.” PLoS ONE, vol. 14, no. 3, 2019, Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A579457448/AONE?u=lom_oakcc&sid=AONE&xid=d50d9d92. Accessed 17 July 2019. 

Sexton, et al. “Endangered Species: An Overview.” Points of View: Endangered Species, Dec. 2017, p. 1. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pwh&AN=28675227&site=pov-live. 

“Environmental degradation.” Environmental Encyclopedia, edited by Deirdre S. Blanchfield, Gale, 2011. Science In Context, https://link-galegroup-com.portal.oaklandcc.edu/apps/doc/CV2644150476/SCIC?u=lom_oakcc&sid=SCIC&xid=248d10a1. Accessed 22 July 2019. 

Gilbert, Natasha. “More Species Means Less Disease.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 1 Dec. 2010, www.nature.com/news/2010/101201/full/news.2010.644.html. 

“DEC Announces state Hunter Education Courses Available Before Start of Spring Turkey Season.” States News Service, 2 Apr. 2019. General OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com.portal.oaklandcc.edu/apps/doc/A580955517/ITOF?u=lom_oakcc&sid=ITOF&xid=f2f7f3e1. Accessed 24 July 2019. 

“We Asked People in Vietnam why they use Rhino horn. Here’s what they said.” Down To Earth, 1 May 2019. General OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com.portal.oaklandcc.edu/apps/doc/A584126391/ITOF?u=lom_oakcc&sid=ITOF&xid=5e3289ad. Accessed 24 July 2019. 

“Great Barrier Reef.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, May 2019, p. 1. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,cookie,url,uid&db=a9h&AN=134517218&site=ehost-live&scope=site. 

Denis, Brian St. “Trash diving.” Alternatives Journal, vol. 35, no. 6, 2009, p. 5. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com.portal.oaklandcc.edu/apps/doc/A211620664/AONE?u=lom_oakcc&sid=AONE&xid=89a50745. Accessed 24 July 2019. 

“Detroit Zoo breeds 40 Wyoming Toadlets for Recovery Program.” Endangered Species Update, vol. 24, no. 3, 2007, p. 88. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com.portal.oaklandcc.edu/apps/doc/A201609200/AONE?u=lom_oakcc&sid=AONE&xid=8b4d9aa8. Accessed 24 July 2019. 


Wildlife Conservation of the Water Vole

Wildwood Conservation consists of a vast variety of species that they try and preserve certain animals from going extinct due to the harsh reality of life.
Many animals such as Woodland Bison, Wild Boar, Wild Horses, Pine martin, Red Squirrel, Little Egret, Otters and finally Water Vole are conserved and studied in Wildwood and taken great care of. 
Global warming is just an excuse or makeshift for humans to let the world deteriorate and let many precious animals go extinct. The world once had a woolly mammoth that was portrayed in the movie Ice Age, now however the current nor the future generation can ever see it unless for cloning; due to the fact that it has been extinct because of careless measures taken.

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Conservation is a huge topic that many people tend to be uninterested in mainly because they think it is unnecessary to care about and that it will not directly affect them. Habitats are being destroyed because of deforestation and mining therefore allowing animals to escape into the wild and be endangered. The Earth is a place that should be kept sacred and pure; however we humans tend to take it for granted and destroy the wellbeing of the given serenity.
In Wildwood at Canterbury we had seen many animals; from tiny Red Squirrels to an enormous Bison, they had a huge species richness of animals present:

Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris): It is a natural squirrel and is very similar to the grey squirrel. The main cause behind their decline is the introduction of grey squirrels from America. Grey squirrels carry a disease, a Parapoxvirus, which does not appear to affect their health but often kills red squirrels (Woodlandtrust.org.uk, 2019).
Pine martens(Martes martes): Is mostly found in the north of the UK, particularly Scotland. It prefers woodland habitats, climbing very well and living in tree holes. It feeds on small rodents, birds, eggs, insects and fruits (Wildlifetrusts.org, 2019). Similar to weasels and are carnivores.
Little egret( Ardea alba):  A white heron that feeds on small fish and crustaceans (Wildlifetrusts.org, 2019). They live in fresh water and, wetlands as well as coastal. Little egrets are mostly silent but make various croaking and bubbling calls at their breeding partners or colonies and produce a harsh alarm call when disturbed that is unrecognizable by humans as the frequency is too low (Kids.kiddle.co, 2019).
Otters(Lutra lutra): Top predators, feeding mainly on fish, water birds, amphibians and crustaceans (Scottish Wildlife Trust, 2019). Almost got extinct because of an introduction of a new pesticide; dieldrin that were used for agricultural seed dressings, and sheep dips.
Wild horses(Equus ferus): They are used as a natural pest control to aid conservation for the wetland and environment. They have hard hooves so they may tolerate many different types of ground conditions (Canadian Geographic, 2019). Because wild horses spend their time roaming the terrain, they can look dirty and mangy (Canadian Geographic, 2019).

Wild Boar(Sus scrofa): People hunt them for the meat, they themselves eat anything. Went extinct as most of them escaped captivity and didn’t know how to survive and got poached/ killed. There are not that many wild boars around as they are to be known as an accidental reintroduction.
Woodland Bison(Bison bonasus): Simply known as a big cow and they mostly eat plants. Have almost gone extinct, lost their habitat and only left with a hundred or so in Eastern Europe. During the mating season, which reaches is usually in August, the bison engage in head-butting contests to determine their social dominance (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019).

In Depth:
My specific animal is the Water vole (Arvicola terrestris) as they have a very interesting life and backstory to how they were formed. The exact number of water voles left are 875,000; this is due to many preventable reasons that shouldn’t have necessarily occurred (People’s Trust for Endangered Species, 2019).
The water vole is Britain’s fastest declining mammal, disappearing from 70% of known sites in only seven years between national surveys in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1998, there were estimated to be only 875,000 individuals (Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, 2019). In simple terms a water vole is bigger than a rat; physically speaking, they live in the river specifically places with slow flowing water. Water voles are the dominant herbivorous rodents in non-arid areas (Nhc.ed.ac.uk, 2019) they have high crowned teeth used to chew across tough vegetation such as grass.
At Wildwood Canterbury the water voles were kept under quarantine to preserve their existence; as foreign objects we carry billions of germs therefore we had to undergo a health and safety protocol. Which was to dip our shoes into a bucket of sanitized water then walk across a tube of soap before entering and repeating it once we left. This was done to ensure that no outside germs can infiltrate the water voles immune system as there are so few of them left.
Water voles leave behind 45 degree chopped vegetation because of their teeth markings and to mark their territories. They live in about 4-10 cm burrows that are wider than height, make a “plopping” sound as they jump in the water (Sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk, 2019). Mink and rats are primary threats for water voles and especially minks as they can follow water voles into their burrows. Floods can also cause an overflow of water let the animal drown in its burrow. On the contrary droughts can also cause water voles to die as they are wetland animals and water is essential for survival.
In summary water voles are bigger version of mice and rats that live in the wetland and once were overpopulated in the United Kingdom until a disease had nearly been displaced; due to pollution and habitat loss. Further explaining due to overgrazing and also hunting and poaching near the river banks that make it unsuitable for the animals to survive (People’s Trust for Endangered Species, 2019). Weather is also a huge factor on water voles’ habitats being lost as prolonged periods of flooding make the water voles vulnerable to predators and force them from burrows and feeding places out on to the open (Sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk, 2019). They are tiny ,vulnerable and important animals that we should preserve under any circumstances. 
Bibliography/ references

Canadian Geographic. (2019). Animal Facts: Wild horse. [online] Available at: https://www.canadiangeographic.ca/article/animal-facts-wild-horse [Accessed 7 Jun. 2019].
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