Why is saving wildlife and preserving natural habitats important in the context of the book Hoot by Carl Hiassen?
Carl Hiaasen, author of Hoot, began his career as a journalist dedicated to writing about environmental issues in Florida and many of his novels revolve around social and political issues, especially conflicts between land developers and wildlife preservation and other environmental concerns. His first motivating factor for the preservation of wildlife and ecosystems is simply appreciation for natural beauty. The book itself revolves around saving a group of burrowing owls, such as the beautiful baby owlet pictured in the third reference below. Also, as discussed above, preserving wildlife maintains the integrity of ecosystems which are delicately balanced. Another issue is ethical. Is it moral to destroy the homes of owl families with bulldozers, killing the baby owlets and leaving the parents homeless? While some people do not see this as problematic, others feel that inflicting pain and suffering on other living creatures is inherently unethical. In the book, Officer Delinko's empathy with the owls is a key motivation in his change of heart:
Now he understood what was going to happen to the little owls if he did his job properly, and it weighted him with an aching and unshakeable sorrow.(p. 234)
The saving of wildlife is important to maintain the biodiversity of a species of organisms, as well as the biodiversity of that species' natural habitat. Diversity of wildlife in their natural habitats ensures the continued stability of their ecosystem. This is because greater wildlife results in a larger gene pool, so inbreeding does not occur and the evolution of a species of animals is possible.
An ecosystem consists of the biological community that occurs in some locale, and the physical and chemical factors that make up its non-living or abiotic environment.
The saving of wildlife is also important because different organisms play varying roles in their habitat such as decomposers, producers (photosynthesizers), predators, etc., which contribute to the preservation of a healthy ecosystem. If the population of any of these organisms was to decrease the health of the entire habitat would be negatively affected because feeding relationships would change.
The preservation of a natural habitat is important because animals are adapted to the conditions of the climatic area where they live. So if they lose their habitat to human activities they may not be able to survive in other areas when relocated or this area may not adequately support their population. Additionally the cost and necessary space required to house endangered animals in zoos is not easily acquired in the large amounts needed.