Wildlife Conservation. Part 1.
By studying Wildlife, we can learn a great deal of interesting information.
Biomimetics, is the knowledge of animals and different species and how they are adapted to survive and the application of that knowledge to solving human engineering problems.
Here are some examples of Biomimetics:
Soaring birds, such as eagles use spread wingtip feathers to reduce the flow of air, which increases the lift of the wing. This has been applied to wings of aircraft to achieve the same effect.
When it comes to conservation, our enthusiasm for conservation isn't the same for all species. For example we are more likely to conserve fluffy, cute animals such as pandas than conserve potentially harmful animals such as mosquitos. This is an example of Flagship species, which in this case is the panda.
Wildlife Conservation. Part 2.
The reason why we conserve different species of animals and plants is that we can use plants for their healing and curing properties for medicines and cosmetics. We conserve animals for food as well as testing new chemicals on them which raises a lot of ethic problems.
The total number of different genes within all the individuals in a population is called a gene pool. Domesticated animals are often inbred as they have been produced from a very small number of original ancestors ( small gene pool )
The 19th-century, Russian zoologist Nikolai Vavilov, identified ceartain areas of the world, where they had plant species with a high genetic diversity or large gene pools. He called these areas Vavilov Centres.
Some examples of desirable characteristics that exist in large gene pools are;
- Disease resistant rice and potatoes.
- Cold- resistant pineapples.
- Draught-resistant maize.
Wildlife Conservation. Part 3.
Humans threaten Wildlife in three main ways:
- Unsustainable exploitation for human gain - the species are not necessarily threatened, just by being exploited, but if they are removed in large numbers then the population cannot sustain itself.
- Eradication, because they interfere with human activities.
- Particular species cannot survive the environmental changes that humans have caused, for example, climate change or increased acidity of soil and water.
An example of unsustainable exploitation is expoiting species for food, which include the dodo, tuna and many sharks.
Other species are over exploited for their skins or furs, to make coats, and other ornamental or fashionable items such as; elephants horns for ivory or leapords for their fur.