Are zoos threatening or protecting our endangered species?

By: Ashley Harris

There are over forty thousand endangered species around the globe; some of which hold crucial necessities to not only keep the food chain alive but also life as we know it alive.

According to the ‘IUCN Red List’ which is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species; 41% of all amphibians are at an extreme risk of going extinct. Amphibians play essential roles, both as predators and prey, in their ecosystems. Amphibians tend to eat pest insects such as flies, mealworms, crickets, and all sorts of beetles; all of which are known to cause problems such as carrying disease, damaging crops, and much more.

With all the risks included in losing some of earth’s critical species, scientists around the world have been trying to come up with a solution for centuries. Finally, after years of debate, The Phoenix Zoo in Arizona sparked a chain of what is now known as captive breeding. Captive breeding is the process in which a zoo takes in at least two endangered animals from the same species and drives them to reproduce until finally reintroducing them into the wild.

Sounds like the perfect solution right? Well, although this might seem like a great idea there have been many speculations in the past few years; as well as accusations towards certain risk factors that the zoos were covering up. Some of these risk factors include minor things such as the animals refusing to reproduce, but mostly include major factors such as the spread of disease, loss of genetic diversity, depression and/or anxiety in the animals, and unsustainable conditions for the animals to live in due to insufficient funds.

Although this list seems vast these are only the risk factors that take place in the zoo itself; many more risks come with the reintroduction of animals back into the wild. Animals are crucial to life on earth, but should we turn to zoos as the answer?

Current animals at risk for extinction

By: Liv Miller

Image taken from: Current animals at risk for extinction
https://environmentmaine.org/blogs/environment-america-blog/ame/ten-coolcritters-celebrate-en dangered-species-day

The earth is filled with millions of different beautiful species of animals. No matter where you are in the world, you are exposed to many different unique and amazing animals. There is one huge problem facing these animals today, extinction.

First let’s talk about extinction itself, what it is and how it happens. Extinction is the dying out, or extermination of a single species of animal. There can be many reasons or causes of this happening. Extinction can occur when species are negatively affected due to environmental forces. Some examples of these environmental forces are natural disasters, global change, or overexploitation of species for human use.

Another cause of extinction can be due to evolutionary changes, this includes poor reproduction, genetic inbreeding, or decline in population numbers.

No matter how or where it happens, extinction is a growing issue putting many different beloved species at risk.

The first species I found that was at risk of extinction was the loggerhead sea turtle. The reason why many species who mainly live near, or in water, like the loggerhead turtles are in danger, is because according to Biologicaldiversity.org a huge percentage of the world’s population live within at least 150 miles of the coast. This puts a lot of pressure on species trying to find space to live and reproduce among all of the people and crowds. This causes more problems that are contributing to the extinction of this animal. For example; destruction of their nesting habitat, harassment while nesting, over harvesting of its eggs, ect.

Another species I want to talk about is the Florida panther. A great population of this animal used to live across all of the southeastern parts of the United States, but now is confined to just a small area in Florida. The reason this animal is facing extinction is because of the destruction of their habitat. Urban expansion is a huge threat to wildlife, and is causing not just the Florida panther, but many other species to become extinct. According to Biologicaldiversity.org, large numbers of panthers died due to the growing network of roads connecting Florida’s growing human population spread throughout the state. As of 2011, there were only 100-120 panthers left.

These are just two of the close to a million species in which their population is declining and facing extinction. Many causes of this issue are unavoidable, but I do believe that there can be something done to save at least some of these beautiful animals.

Spies in World War ll

By: Ella Sutherland & Lauren Kottke

WWII was a brutal war that lasted 6 years, between the years 1939-1945. It was the largest and deadliest war. It was a global war with over 60 million people killed, and this includes many civilians.

Adolf Hitler was the man who started World War II. He was elected as Chancellor of Germany. It started when Germany invaded Poland. Britain and France then ended up declaring war on Germany. Germany didn’t like that, so Germany attacked Denmark and Norway, and soon after attacked Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. Germany won pretty fast.

The countries that were fighting alongside Hitler, were Japan and Italy, and on the other side of that was Great Britain and France as well as many others.

On May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered, ending the war in Europe, and on August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered, and World War II ended.

Obviously, many people were involved in the war. Have you ever wondered what spies did in World War II? We did, and we learned that spies influenced World War II in so many different ways. Some went undercover, some worked for both sides, and some even helped protect secret documents. These are three spies from World War ll that helped influence the war.

Spy #1 Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was born and raised in St Louis. She left America when she was 19 in search of a greater life. In America she suffered the effects of the Jim Crow laws, which is a big reason why she left. At the time, Paris was a city full of people with big dreams, and Josephine was one of them.

After she landed a few small acting jobs in Paris, her career took off. People immediately fell in love with her charms and she was a hit.

What brought her into the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) was her fame. They recruited her because her fame was the perfect cover to be a spy. She could go to parties with important people and not be questioned. She specifically attended Italian and Japanese diplomatic parties in order to gather information on others joining the war.

Something she was known for was when she smuggled documents to general Charles de Gaulle and the French government with information about German troop movements. Over the years she made many impacts and helped the cause of the war.

Image taken from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/28/
obituaries/noor-inayat-khan-overlooked.html Spy #3 Virginia hall

Spy #2 Noon Inayat Khan

Noor Inayat Khan was born into royalty in India, but when the first war hit, she left Moscow for London and later on landed in Britain. From a young age she was passionate about doing courageous acts for other people’s good.

She joined the women’s auxiliary Air Force and immediately had a talent for operating the radios. She was later recruited by SOE (Special Operations Executive) and did training. After her training she went on to help maintain communications between London and France.

Spy #3 Virginia Hall

Virginia Hall was born into a wealthy family in Baltimore. But although she was rich, her life wasn’t easy. When she was younger she got into a hunting accident which resulted in her leg being amputated.

\As she grew up and the war became more apparent, Virginia’s ambitions to be a spy grew. She tried numerous times to become a spy, but was denied, until she had an encounter with an SOE agent. He ended up recruiting her and she was put as an undercover reporter.

She quickly began making connections and helped recruit more women spies into the field. Hall’s work is remembered as she helped bring liberation to parts of France.

As you can see, spies had a big impact on the war and had important roles. Many people overlooked women in the war before they learned that women made very good spies. We only named a few of the amazing spies that changed the course of the war. If you take anything away from this article, take away that spies saved so many lives and had such an important role in the war.

For more information, please visit: