Causes of Endangerment

According to the National Geographic Society, there are 2 main causes for extinction. One is the loss of a species' habitat, and the other is the loss of genetic variation. In regards to habitat loss, there are many ways that this can happen. As we all know, dinosaurs went extinct because of a natural disaster of epic proportions. But another type of habitat loss can be caused by human interference: the development of housing and other industrial real estate can cut back on a species' habitat.

The other mentioned cause of loss of genetic variation can also happen naturally or by human cause. Genetic diversity is lost as a result of inbreeding, which is unavoidable when a population is low. Cheetahs, for example, were forced to breed within a small population because of the last ice age. However, when humans reduce populations by hunting or fishing to an extensive degree, the gene pool for a species gets smaller and they are less able to adapt to changes in their environment.