World News and Trends: Major species in jeopardy

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Major species in jeopardy

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The creation epic in Genesis 1 mentions God making "great sea creatures" and "beast[s] of the earth." The epilogue tells us that "God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good" (verse 31). What must God think of mankind's stewardship of the earth (see verse 28) and that so many major animal species are now in danger of extinction?

Take the awesomely beautiful tiger as a case in point. Writes Stuart Wavell in The Sunday Times: "In the forests of the night, the tiger is facing extinction. Its last great stronghold in India is under siege by rich men who grind its bones to make their bread."

Scarcely 3,000 Bengal tigers remain in India (2,500), Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. The Indochinese tiger is down to but 1,000, the Siberian 160, the Sumatran 400 and the South China tiger fewer than 50. Already extinct are the Ball tiger (gone since the 1940s), Caspian (1970s) and Javan (1980s). Reports from India estimate that Bengal tigers are killed at the rate of one a day. The earth boasted 80,000 tigers of all species in 1900. Fewer than 5,000 may remain.

In addition to the tiger, elephants are under siege in Africa and Asia. The white rhino is near extinction, with only about 7,500 left in Southern Africa. And, says one source, of the 11 great whale species, seven are on the danger list.

As far back as 1961 The Daily Mirror headlined the problem: "Doomed to Disappear From the Face of the Earth Due to Man's Folly, Greed, Neglect." Today illegal-wildlife trade rages out of control. (Sources: The Sunday Times; The Independent; The Express.)