Fauna: importance and protection

Animals in dangerAs the usage of the land is getting more and more intensive in all Europe there is a threat for natural habitat to vanish, also many populations of different spieces has declined. It has started more then 100 years ago and still continues. Some of the animal populations that has been abundant earlier now are vanishing or are almost dissapeared (sturgeon, turtles and many more). There are hundreds of species of animals throughout the world fast disappearing because of hunting or man’s interference in their natural habitat. The Spanish lynx, the North American buffalo, the Californian condor, the sea otter, the American alligator – these are just a few names of animals hunted nearly to extinction.15.000.000 skins of big cats are traded every year, and all 36 major species are endangered. The tiger, cheetah, snow leopard, jaguar are now facing extinction. Trade of the skins of these species is illegal, but not in the smaller species such as lynx and bobcat. The skins are used to make fur coats and jackets which sell at enormous prices: a quality lynx coat, for example, costs at least 10.000 pounds. The main exporter of cat skins is South America, and they are imported by the European Community, the United States and Japan.Monkeys, rhinos, elephants, whales, kangaroos, crocodiles are annually killed in great amounts for different purposes. Some of them are used for medical research, others are hunted for meat or adornment.

Many plants and animals are killed by man’s chemical industry, factories. Also a big harm is made by the fertilisation. The fertilisation is used very frequently and it destroys our ecosystem wildly.


Fauna is a significant part of the ecosystem. All the animals are connected in one way or another, mainly through food chains. An example of a food chain is as follows: There are small insects living in the streambanks. The small fish in the creek eat these insects, and some species of large fish eat the smaller fish. The fish are in turn caught by birds such as the great blue heron and eaten. Food chains are a very vital aspect to ecosystem. The ecosystem is very stable on its own. Independent of outsiders, it is sustained in a natural balance. Humans are outsiders who pose a danger to the ecosystem if they don_t treat it properly. Tiny differences in what we do in our back yards can effect the ecosystem. When we use insecticides on our lawns the chemicals are absorbed by the ground. Water that flows in the ground pulls the chemicals out of the dirt and washes the chemicals into the stream. These chemicals can be dangerous to the insects that live in the streambanks. If the population of the insects decreases, there will be less food for the smaller fish. That means the smaller fish die, and there will be less food for the larger fish, and in turn the birds like the blue heron. And the food chain continues until it reaches us, humans. We, being human, need to become conscious of these things that can endanger our environment. We couldn’t survive without having fauna. Despite the food and other goods like fur that we get by killing them, they intensivly cooperate in all the ecosystem causing us good soil for agriculture, fresh air, clean water and etc.

ProtectionBiodiversity is the variety of all life forms…. the different plants and animals and micro-organisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystems of which they form part. Why are our fauna species in need of protection? The facts speak for themselves.There are lots of factors that impact extinction of world’s fauna and flora. Here is just a little part:1. Institutional, technical and capacity-related factors:a. Inadequate capacity to act, caused by institutional weaknesses b. Lack of human resources c. Lack of transfer of technology and expertise d. Loss of traditional knowledge 2. Lack of accessible knowledge/information a. Existing scientific and traditional knowledge not fully utilized. b. Dissemination of information on international and national level not efficient c. Lack of public education and awareness at all levels. 3. Economic policy and financial resources a. Lack of financial and human resources 4. Collaboration/cooperation a. Lack of effective partnerships b. Lack of engagement of scientific community. 5. Juridical impediments a. Lack of appropriate policies and laws 6. Socio-economic factors a. Poverty b. Population pressure 7. Natural phenomena and environmental change a. Climate changeb. Natural disastersGovernments recognise the paramount importance of our diverse range of fauna species and is actively involved in their protection. Progressive governments ban killing of endangered species and establish nature reserves and national parks for their protection. 95 countries have signed the Convention on International Trade in endangered Species of Wild flora and Fauna (CITES) which aims to forbid or regulate trade in any endangered species.

There are of course much more conventions or other legal documents signed. One of the well known is the Convention on Biological Diversity. This one is a great legal background for different non profit organisations, projects or foundations related with preservation of fauna to establish.Many of those foundations or other projects assemble a database of the scientific names and distribution of all living multicellular European, American or other continental land and fresh-water animals. Once the database is finished it will provide a unique reference for many groups such as scientists, governments, industries, conservation communities and educational programs.They also contributes to the European Community Biodiversity Strategy by supporting one of the main themes of the Strategy: to identify and catalogue the components of European biodiversity into a database to serve as a basic tool for science and conservation policies. In Europe such a taxonomic index does not exist as yet. Partial overviews are scattered around Europe in different scientific institutes, while only some countries are working on national information systems. In regard to biodiversity in Europe, science and policies depend on knowledge of its components. The assessment of biodiversity, monitoring changes, sustainable exploitation of biodiversity, and much legislative work depends upon a validated overview of taxonomic biodiversity. This is considered to be one of the steps or ways to protect our fauna and other components of our ecosystem.

There is also a huge group of other kind of organizations. They are ascribable to antifur movement or the Greens. They also have legal backgrounds but are better known with their social movements, campaigns and and other actions.The antifur movement has become a part of some nature lovers’lives in western countries. Protesters lecture individuals caught with furs on their backs, hold “funerals” for fur coats in department stores or make repulsive advertisements. Their motto is: “Let’s make wearing a fur coat a miserable experience.”Another way to preserve fauna is the establishment of nature reserves, sanctuaries, regional and national parks and other protected areas. In order to protect our fauna we have to create as prosperous existant conditions for fauna and flora as possible, try to avoid declination of forests (use them more rationally, form and keep their optimal structure) and also conserve geoecological balance of national landscape.

What are the circumstances in Lithuania?Condition of Lithuanian forests has visibly disimproved in last ten years. As it was returned to their owners, deforestation has increased and the supervision does not go well.The supply of fish hasn’t changed a lot, meanwhile proportion between hunted fauna has noticeably switched: there are more raptorials hunted than small hunting fauna. The population of ungulates are resurgent.The hardest influence to Lithuania’s biological diversity was done by draining melioration, deforestation, violation of forests’ ecological system caused by natural disasters and pollution and other processes. Nevertheless we still have rich Lithuanian biological diversty which is very important to global biodiversity. Here you can find some species that are rare or extincted in Western countries.At the moment we have 11003 protected areas (including sanctuaries, national and regional parks and etc.) that takes more than 734033ha ( app. 11.2% of all area of Lithuania). All endangered species are written into the Red Book. Nowadays there is 501 species of endangered animals, plants or mushrooms.


Human evolution is inherently connected with more active influence to natural environment. Common tendency is that people overleap and often are not able to oversee the subsequences of their effects on nature that often are unexpected and undesirable. That is one of the reasons why our ecosystem is in great danger. Especially important is the problem of polution which is proceeding from the local meaning to regional or even global disaster.It seems natural in our generation. It is obvious that without having any objective and well unified information about nature’s condition and its main components anthropogenical change tendencies, we will not be able to use natural resources rationaly and effectively rule the quality of environment.

We must be in charge of the nature and environment around us. We must save our home and the place we live in. all the people must know that nature is our home and we take a big part of it to survive.


1. the Convention on Biological Diversity 2. 14 English topics, D.Guščiuvienė, Kaišiadorys, 2001