I have always found the heroic attempts to conserve endangered species to be a puzzling practice. The purported reasoning behind the practice is that we want to maintain genetic diversity in the species that inhabit our planet. I’m inclined to think that there is a substantial emotional component associated with a fear of loss. Fear of loss is particularly irrational in light of the fact that most every species that has ever existed on Earth is extinct. The ecological system can handle extreme temperature changes and killer asteroid strikes. It is the mass extinction events like these that have forced new species to emerge. The only way for a significant change to occur is to wipe out most everything and find out what makes it through the adversity. The status quo doesn’t produce new behavior.
There is no question that we are causing a major extinction event. We are consuming more of the world’s resources. We are changing the environment by digging up minerals and fuel, which leads to higher levels of these compounds in the surface environment. We transport species from one ecosystem to another because they are useful or because we are careless. All of this causes disruption, which most animal species can’t deal with. They are behaviorally hardwired to a much greater degree than we are. When they can’t find a niche, they are marginalized and face extinction.
This isn’t entirely bad. New niches open up in the ecosystem and allow new species to develop and thrive. Fortunately, there are biologists that agree with me, at least to some extent.
Instead of wasting effort trying to save failed species, we should be concentrating on studying the evolution associated with the extinctions that are occurring. We need to understand how to maintain an ecological equilibrium that is not hostile to us. We need to maintain populations of species we use as food, advantage microbes that protect us against those that are hostile and find ways to keep the populations of nuisance species down, or find a use for them.