Why do Plants and Animals Become Extinct?

            When Charles Darwin propounded his theory of Survival of the Fittest, it created a great deal of controversy during those days. But gradually it started receiving a wider acceptance as many species were found to be either extinct or facing extinction for reasons best explained by Darwin.

Polar Bear

            Since the evolution of plants and animals, quite a few of them have become completely extinct, while others are facing the danger of extinction. The conservation of certain species that are on the verge of extinction has drawn worldwide attention, and these species have been categorized as ‘endangered species’.


            Factors responsible for endangering the existence of these species are both natural and man-made. Firstly, the increasing human population is encroaching upon forest land, thus creating a scarcity of land for wildlife to survive. Forests and heaths have been removed to make space for farming. Large scale deforestation for wood and industrialization is another cause of the loss of forest and wildlife.


            Secondly, man has hunted many animals to extinction—the auk and dodo are two prime examples of this. Pollution is also affecting the lives of many animals. Every year, millions of sea birds die unpleasant deaths as their feathers get covered with sticky, black oil from oil spills. The natural causes like unsuitable conditions of temperature and pressure, lack of proper food material, natural calamites etc., also play a major role in the extinction process.

            Plants which need special measures for protection are red helleborine, cheddar pink, monkey orchid, tufted saxifrage, alpine catchfly and alpine gentian. The animals that require special care for preservation include tiger, lion, elephant, rhinoceros leopard, puma, ocelot, humpback, whale, panda, polar bear, the giant sable antelope etc.

            Effective measures are being taken to conserve wildlife, both at national and international levels. Wildlife sanctuaries have been created, laws have been made, and project works have been undertaken to preserve the endangered species.