Nobody ever thought that they would even care if the parasites just became extinct. However, ecologists and researchers have come together to start a conservation movement for the parasites.
Chelsea Wood, who is known for her work on parasite ecology has taken the initiative to conserve the world’s uncharismatic minifauna. “People think of parasites as gross and slimy and flaccid and wiggling, and that’s true some of the time,” says Wood. “But if you look at them under the microscope, they are just staggeringly beautiful.” Wood further said that nearly half of all known animals on Earth are parasites. Which people are unaware of.
Parasites are those who live on a host and take something from that host. Therefore, they are an outcast in the animal kingdom. However, in reality not all parasites cause harm to their host. Only few are those which affect humans. They are an important part of biodiversity.
World without Parasites
Scientists fear that people are not aware of how these parasites play a critical role in the ecosystems. They also believe that in the next 50 years a tenth of the parasites would be extinct due to climate change, and loss of their hosts.
Ecologists are also cautious that the eradication of these parasites would probably cause planetary doom. They believe that the population of some animals would increase on a massive scale without parasites keeping them in check.
An ecologist, Skylar Hopkins along with other scientists presented research in 2018. The research was about their global plan to save parasites. In 2020, they got this published in the special issue of the journal Biological Conservation.
Despite these efforts by the scientists, currently 37,000 species are categorized as critically endangered according to the IUCN Red list. Which is an alarming situation for the ecosystem.
Kevin Lafferty’ s words might make people rethink about conserving the parasites. He said, “If you are a religious person, you’d say they’re all God’s creatures; we should care about them all the same. And that’s kind of the approach that conservation biology has been taking, with one major exception. And that’s parasites.”