Sadly, many animals have gone extinct over the years due to human interference. These animals were important part of food webs and ecosystems in the environment and, in some cases, they were of use to us in providing us with food. However, overexploitation or habitat destruction led to their ultimate demise.
The moa was a large flightless bird from New Zealand. Since it was such a large bird, it was a useful source of meat. However, man hunted the bird to extinction. If the moa population had been kept at a healthy level, then today the moa could still have been used to provide some meat for the New Zealand population.
The Passenger Pigeon
The Passenger Pigeon of North America went extinct due to a combination of habitat destruction and hunting. These birds were hunted for food by Native Americans, but, once the Europeans arrived, the population was decimated. This means that now nobody can hunt these birds for food. Once again humans have exterminated a species of animals that was actually useful. If the bird population had been kept within reason, then they would still have been available today.
People can even overfish which also causes species extinction. One species of fish that has been fished to extinction is the Blackfin Cisco, which used to be abundant in the Great Lakes. However, between overfishing and introduced fish species, they were not able to survive and are now believed to be extinct. The Blue Walleye also went extinct. Like the Blackfin Cisco, it was common in the Lakes, but overfishing and new introduced fishes caused its demise and ultimate extinction. Humans introduce species that are not native to an area, which can have devastating consequences. The island of Guam now has very few bird species because of the introduction of the Brown Tree Snake which decimated many species of birds.
Other animals are useful to us in the sense that they provide beauty to the environment. The beautiful Saint Helena Hoopoe bird is one such example. Island species are particularly vulnerable to extinction, and many beautiful Hawaiian birds have gone extinct due to human impact. Both the Greater koa finch and Lesser koa finch went extinct. These birds were beautiful, with yellow and orange feathers. They both were, without doubt, important in dispersing seeds of plants that they fed on.
The majestic Ivorybilled woodpecker is another bird that is still on the official extinction list, although some believe that the bird is not extinct. This truly majestic bird was the largest woodpecker in North America but was unable to survive loss of its cypress swamp habitat.
Biodiversity is important to sustain life on earth, and when we cause species to go extinct, we are really having a negative impact on ecosystems and the environment. Whether the animals are species we use for food or simply species that have intrinsic value for their beauty, it is still a great tragedy to lose them forever. These animals all contributed to nature and occupied a special and very important part of this world.