Wait! Before you squish, stomp on, or squeal at that insect near you, it’s vital you have a read over these wonderful, eye-opening facts about some of our environment’s most un-applauded heroes. A plead for awareness regarding conservation of some of the most endangered species in the world continues to echo around countries far and wide.
In an attempt to convey just how important each and every mammal, amphibian, fish, bird, plant and primate is to the Earth’s eco-system and biodiversity, we’ve shortlisted three living creatures that us humans couldn’t possibly live without
‘Bloomin’ pests’ is how some of us would probably describe them. However, bees are actually the opposite: they’re one of the ecosystems greatest contributors to the economy. Bees pollinate a third of everything we eat; approximately 84% of the crops grown for human consumption need bees to pollinate them to increase their mass and quality.
A single honey beehive contains roughly 40,000 bees, which in turn, produces an average of 14kg of honey according to a BBC infographic. The poet, Kahlil Gibran, once beautifully put, “To the bee, a flower is the fountain of life, and to the flowers, the bee is a messenger of love.” Without bees, there’d be no pretty floral landscapes, and the world would be, well rather dull, no? Thinking twice before reaching for that fly-swatter? Thought so!
Bats have a bad reputation for being a little frightening. Bats are actually crucial and central to our diverse ecosystem as they are, first and foremost, a major agent of pollination and seed dispersal. In fact, over 500 hundred species of plants are pollinated by bats, including species of cocoa and mango, so without them we’d be pretty much doomed! Bats also play an essential role in the medicinal field – an anticoagulant (Google it) compound found in bat saliva can be used to treat humans suffering, or having suffered from, a stroke. Clever lil’ bats, hey!
‘Primates’ are the tree-swinging, mischievous little (or large) characters; ranging from lemurs, gibbons and great apes – 394 different species of them to be precise, and did you know that primates are essential for allowing humans to carry on roaming the Earth? Their diet consists of a high proportion of fruits which promotes seed dispersal in forests and thus, prevents deforestation. Without forests, we’d have no fruit, paper or wood.
Less obviously, a lack of forests mean that we’d struggle to manufacture many important everyday items such as medicines, cosmetics and detergents. Primates are also an integral part of allowing humans to research and unlock our evolutionary past. They’re also vital to some countries’ economy; for example in Rwanda and Uganda, the Mountain gorillas are now the number one source of foreign currency income through tourism.
So next time you purchase a bouquet of flowers for your mum, take antibiotics, or slather a layer of honey on your morning toast, remember that it’s thanks to these amazing creatures that we have such amenities!
What’s your favourite animal fact? Or, what was the last thing you learned about your favourite animal? Make sure you leave your thoughts on the wonderful ways that animals contribute to our lives in a comment below!