By Vinzenz Ziswiler (auth.)
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Additional info for Extinct and Vanishing Animals: A biology of extinction and survival
If we assume that even in the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs 1,000 forms disappeared during a million years this results in an average of only one extinct form for every 1,000 years. Man has done much better than undisturbed nature. Over the last 300 years his efforts have destroyed more than 200 forms of birds and mammals most of which were far from being so ill adapted that their natural evolutionary death was imminent. Today, several hundred more forms are directly threatened with extermination, and by the year 2000 man's Hchievements will be far more unpleasant to view.
There are probably about 40,000 members of this subspecies alive today. To obtain the valuable ivory tusks, Eskimos equipped with modem weapons have been destroying about 10,000 walruses annually. The walrus population, however, produces only about 5,000 young per year which means that the population has been suffering a yearly deficit of at least 5,000 animals. If the pursuit of the tusks remains uncontrolled the Pacific walrus will be extinct within a very few years, and it is highly possible that this remarkable creature will be shot to the very last individual.
Although it is hard to believe, the harsh rugged slopes that now lay stark and barren in parts of Spain, southern France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey once supported a flourishing forest. The foundations for the agricultural poverty of these regions were laid in antiquity as large portions of the forest were utilized in shipbuilding and the insidious nibbling erosion by livestock was well underway. Wherever man has thoughtlessly devastated the natural forest cover he has ultimately paid the debt himself, but in so doing has also inflicted his carelessness on specific forest animals whose living space he destroyed and who cannot so easily meet the payments (Fig.