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HomeVideoEndangered Species: Worth Saving from Extinction?

Endangered Species: Worth Saving from Extinction?

Species are going extinct at crazy high rates. Does it matter?

TEACHERS: Get your students in the discussion on KQED Learn, a safe place for middle and high school students to investigate controversial topics and share their voices.

Species are going extinct at crazy high rates. Does it matter? Find out in this video.

ABOVE THE NOISE is a show that cuts through the hype and investigates the research behind controversial and trending topics in the news. Hosted by Myles Bess.


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What does it mean when a species goes extinct?
A species goes extinct when there are no longer any more of that species left on earth. That species is gone forever aka extinct.

What is the 6th mass extinction?
Throughout earth’s history there have been five major mass extinction events– where a large percentage of species died out. Scientists estimate that we are in the middle of the 6th mass extinction event right now, where species are dying out at 1,000 to 10,000 times baseline extinction rates.

Why should we care if a species goes extinct?
Moral and ethical arguments to try to prevent species extinction include reasons like all life has a right to be here, or that we owe it to our grandchildren to protect species so they can see them in the wild. Species also impact the ecosystems they are a part of; plants and animals depend on each other in an ecosystem for things like food and shelter, so if one species dies out, then that could affect other species in an ecosystem. For example sea otters live in kelp forests and eat sea urchins, and when they were hunted almost to extinction the sea urchin population increased and ate all the kelp– destroying the kelp forest habitat.

What are ecosystem services?
Ecosystem services are the collective benefits we get from ecosystems. Ecosystems provide us with a lot of great things like natural resources and water, and are home to living things we depend on– like insects that pollinate our crops and decomposers that get rid of our waste. Ecosystems are healthiest when they are the most biodiverse.


Future threats to biodiversity and pathways to their prevention (Nature)
The Biodiversity of species and their rates of extinction, distribution, and protection (Science)

List of Recently Extinct Species:

The Extinction Crisis (Center for Biological Diversity):

What is the point of saving endangered species? (BBC)

Sea Turtles Might Be Threatened, But So Are Their Hunters (National Geographic)

Threats and Knowledge Gaps of for ecosystem services provided by kelp forests: a northeast Atlantic perspective (Ecology and Evolution)

How Sea Otters Help Save the Planet:

Cattle Ranching in the Amazon (Yale School of Forestry)

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KQED, an NPR and PBS affiliate in San Francisco, CA, serves Northern California and beyond with a public-supported alternative to commercial TV, Radio, and web media. Funding for Above the Noise is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Silver Giving Foundation, Stuart Foundation, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.