The most important thing to do is to protect the habitat of an endangered specie. An animal's habitat is where it lives. This place usually provides food, water, and some sort of shelter. If the habitat disappears, the species goes extinct.
We have to study a species before we really know what habitat it requires. It might seem like you just have to know where the species is in order to know what area to protect, but it is not this simple.
Picture a target made up of concentric circles (circles that all have the same center) and pretend these are habitats. Imagine that the best possible habitat is the small circle in the middle. The next bigger circle has pretty good habitat. The next bigger circle will allow individuals of the species to live on it, but the conditions are not good, so they can't successfully raise young. The next bigger circle will only support individuals of this species temporarily; if they stay there too long, they die. The outermost ring will not support this species at all.
So you might see the species all over the "target" landscape, but you have to know which are the parts that need saving. If you don't save the parts where the species can successfully breed, you won't save the species. Unfortunately, in the real world, habitats are not found in simple, easy-to-recognize patterns like our target example. We have to spend time, money, and effort learning what the pattern of habitat quality is and how animals use the habitat.
Ecology is the study of relationships between living things and the environment. Once we know the behavior and ecology of a species, we can preserve the habitat that species needs. Preserving plants requires the same kind of study except that individual plants can't move. Their seeds can.
Thanks for asking.
That is argued widely among conservation biologists. It certainly depends upon the species in question, whether the answer is to prevent over hunting, protect its habitat, or do something more sophisticated.
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