The concern for most contemporary conservationists is increasingly becoming the preservation of a variety of endangered species. A number of environmentalists are also becoming concerned for the welfare of the numerous species threatened with extinction, mainly due to human activities as well as climate change. In one of the lectures in class, we learnt about the causes in the decline of biodiversity, key amongst them being habitat destruction, climate change and overhunting. The Loneliest Animals follows the story of a number of endangered species on the planet, while at the same time highlighting a number of concepts learnt in class. At the same time, the documentary also follows the concept of captive breeding, effectively highlighting the importance of reproduction when it comes to the continuity of any species.
Particularly, the story of lonesome George serves to highlight the very real and immediate problem of extinction. Further, it also serves to highlight the importance of reproduction, as well as habitats. The Pinta Island tortoise is apparently the only remaining one of its kind, and with its death, will come the extinction of a whole species. The story of George the tortoise also brings the question of overhunting into sharp focus, as the narrator indicates that the species from which George originates essentially kept pirates as well as other sea users well fed, until they disappeared. At the same time, the lack of proliferation and continuity can also be linked with the increased habitat destruction that has characterized increased human dispersion. As such, one of the key tenets of biodiversity: ecosystem variety has invariably come under threat.
The case of George also highlights the importance of reproduction. Being the sole survivor of the species, reproduction is not possible, and as a result the fate of the species is sealed. Indeed through this single case, the importance of food and reproduction as learnt in class is highlighted. Similarly, the conserved species, such as the black footed ferrets, the lemurs as well as rhinos among others, are driven to reproduction within artificial settings, temporarily postponing their fate. The challenges experienced in the pursuit of conservation within the artificial settings, however, serve to reaffirm concepts learnt in class.
For example, the difficulties experienced when attempting to reintroduce the black footed ferret back into its natural habitat: the American plains, essentially highlights the importance of the natural habitat, hence an explanation for why habitat destruction puts species specific to the given habitat at risk. The habitat seemingly provides the optimum environment for reproduction as well as for feeding. However, the fact that artificial settings are being used, while natural habitats continue to be destroyed, highlights human beings as being the dominant species in charge of setting conditions to which other species must adapt in order to survive.
All in all, the documentary’s focus on threatened species, depicts the urgent need for action not just to conserve the species, but also their habitats. In fact, based on the various animals it focuses on, it is plausible to argue that the most urgent and prudent course of action, needs to be taking steps towards conserving the ecosystems, as failure to do so, interferes with the two most important processes in the continuity of species: reproduction as well as feeding.