"we do not know the true nature of the entity we are destroying." Arthur C Clarke said that back in 1962 about Blue Whales. The largest Mammal on Earth, Weighing in at around 190 tons and 30 metres long you wouldn’t think that they had many predators but these amazing creatures were nearly hunted to extinction to within only 0.15% of their initial numbers.
Today Blue whales can be found in varying numbers around the globe including the arctic regions Greenland and surprisingly the Indian Ocean and Madagasca.
Blue whales tend to be fairly solitary creatures travelling alone or in pairs they are not really that social however when it comes to feeding they do group together and some Blue Whales have developed very complex ways of catching food which shows that these huge creatures have an intelligence that could only have been wondered at and is probably one of the reasons that Arthur made his comment in the first place.
There are many species on our planet that have already become extinct Dinosaurs, Javan Tiger, Thylacine, Dodo, Passenger Pigeon, Caribbean Monk Seal, Steller's Sea Cow, Aurochs, Elephant Bird, Woolly Mammoth, Dusky Seaside Sparrow.
There are also many that are in serious danger of becoming extinct Mountain Gorilla, Bactrian Camel, Ethiopian Wolf, Saiga, Takhi, Iberian Lynx, Kakapo, Arakan Forest Turtle, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Javan Rhino, Brazilian Merganser, Axolotl, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Northern White Rhinoceros, Gharial, Vaquita, Philippine Eagle, Brown Spider Monkey, California Condor, Island Fox, Black Rhinoceros, Chinese Alligator, Sumatran Orangutan, Asiatic Cheetah, African Wild Ass, Hawaiian Monk Seal, Red Wolf.
Most if not all of these animals face the threat of extinction due to mankind. Thats right, you and me. Destroying the animals natural habitat or hunting them, sometimes not even for food but for body parts for medicines or for prized horns.
Some species are actually actively targeted by humans, we also set standards for which species we think should be saved and which species we find unimportant or undesirable.
For example, the coqui frog,
I personally have an enormous love of many underwater animals, having been swimming with Manta Rays and one nine metre whale shark (http://bagsta69.blogspot.com/2011/05/bagsta-and-manta-rays.html )