Allica Derry

Desert species; animals and plants are rapidly starting to go extinct from things like hunting, land use change and depression of resources, according to Science Advances. Most of the threatened species reside in developing countries. A majority of these animals are also large herbivores while some, are generalists. Being that the large mammals are starting to go extinct it tips the balance of the ecosystems they reside in. This can harm the omnivores and detritivores as well as plant life and smaller animals.

There has been a higher demand of wild meat in recent years which leads to large herbivores being hunted and killed, causing their numbers to dwindle. Hunters also stalk elephants for their tusks, which also involves the animals being killed. Rhinoceros’ are also being hunted for their body parts. The larger species can die out faster due to their birth rates. Large mammals, such as the elephant take three to five years to give birth to their calves. Most large mammals also give birth to only one newborn at a time, which doesn’t allow their birth rates to climb.

Elephants are stalked for their ivory tusks while rhinoceros’ are killed for their horns. Both of the animals are poached and the parts go to buyers or to the black market to be sold. Poaching is the number one reason so many large mammals go extinct. “Poaching of rhinoceros for their horns has also soared in recent years because of its use in traditional Chinese medicine, according to Science Advances. Even though it’s the large animals now that are dying out, it will cause other animals to be affected. The omnivores and detritivores will have nothing to naturally hunt, and the smaller animals will begin to be hunted until they’re numbers start to go down.

“Numerous species of other large herbivores are also hunted for their body parts, including hippopotamus for their ivory teeth, bovids for horns and skulls, equids (type of horse) for hides, tapirs for feet and hides, cervids for antlers, giraffes for hides, and gorillas for heads, hands, and feet.” Again many large mammals are being hunted for their body parts, they can even be valued more than diamonds.

“Large herbivores are more vulnerable than smaller herbivores to over harvesting through a combination of the generally higher value of larger bodies or their parts, and the slow life history of the larger herbivores. Together, these increase the likelihood of large herbivores being harvested and reduce their ability to recover from such harvests, according to Science Advances.