What is a Life Worth?
Who owns this blue marble? Is it us, or is it the millions of other plants and animals that call this place home, too?
Many species are on the precipice between vulnerability and extinction - many to be gone in our lifetime.. Loss of habitat; humanity's insatiable need to conquer; destruction of this shared world. It's not animals killing each other, it's an apex animal known as "HUMAN" killing them.
What is a life worth? What are our own lives worth?
As we seem to be showing our children with our arrogance, a life, even our own, is worth nothing.
The Caribbean Reef Shark is listed as a "near-threatened" species due to overfishing as well as degradation of habitat - dying coral reefs. Cara-A-Cara, Roatán, Honduras
A young polar bear seeks out dinner along a trash laden shoreline. Even at the far end of the planet, here in Svalbard, the signs of humans are everywhere.
An injured black rhino slow walks across the plain in Maasai Mara. Estimates range between 3 ,000 to 5,500 left in Africa.
Vulnerable, but on the rise. Once prized for their magnificent skins, the Cheetah population still faces danger through predation and loss of habitat.
Conservative estimates show a grim future for the African Elephant. At current mortality rates, they could be extinct by 2020. Stop the ivory flow, save the animal from extinction. Maasai Mara, Kenya
Even a mother can't save this calf once it develops tusks. Poachers are known to hack faces off leaving the animal to die a horrendous, slow death. Maasai Mara, Kenya
The body has little value; the fin can sell for thousands. More than 100 million sharks are killed annually. At that rate, along with habitat destruction, the species is unsustainable.
A lone black rhino surveys the world. So rare due to poachers, most now have armed guards protecting them. Maasai Mara, Kenya
A family of white rhinos enjoys the morning grass at Maasai Mara. Like the black rhino, their numbers are declining drastically due to the illegal trade of their horns.
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Extinction is part of life. The ebb and flow of our world means many will survive while others will die. But while extinction is a natural occurrence, many animals face the sad designation of "EXTINCTION" due to their interactions with the human species.
For some species, time is running out. In 2013, the Western Black Rhino was declared officially extinct. Other species that may not make it another 10 to 20 years in the wild include the Tigers, Orangutans and Rhinoceros of Sumatra, Black Footed Ferret, Western Gray Whale and the Red Wolf (to name just a few of the many). The IUCN (International Union for Conservation), as of 2012, lists 4618 animals of vulnerable, 3079 animals as endangered and 2129 animals as critically endangered. For critically endangered animals, an increase of over 248% since 1998.
Overexploitation of species, habitat encroachment and destruction, pollution -- our species gift to the planet.
This planet is ours to share, not ours to own.
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