Our planet is comprised of a delicate and intricate ecosystem. Every part, no matter how small, plays an important role in the balance and success of this ecosystem. All organisms are vital members of their environments, but there are some we simply can’t afford to lose. Here are just a few of the animals that humans can’t live without.
You’ve probably heard that we need to save the bees, but do you know exactly why? Bees are natural pollinators, which means they’re a vital part of plants’ reproductive cycles. Without bees, many of the flowers, trees, and crops we know and love would disappear. Because of this, honeybees are extremely helpful to farmers—in fact, they’re one of the most valuable assets of the agricultural industry.
The term plankton refers to any plant, bacteria, or creature living in the water that’s too small to move through the current on its own. How can something so tiny be so important to our world? Well, plankton provide half of the world’s oxygen. Phytoplankton floating close to the water’s surface perform photosynthesis just like plants on land. Zooplankton are also a crucial part of the ocean’s food chain, feeding fish, seabirds, and even whales.
As extremely cute, playful, and intelligent animals, primates are far from underappreciated. However, they’re still one of the vital animals that humans can’t live without—and many of them are endangered. Primates help their forest homes flourish and reproduce. When they eat fruit, they spread the seeds and pollen throughout the forest, allowing new trees and plants to grow. With deforestation and changing global weather patterns, the continued growth and reproduction of our tropical and subtropical forests is essential.
Many people think of bats as more frightening than valuable, but they’re actually extremely helpful creatures. Contrary to vampire lore, a bat’s diet consists of fruit and—more importantly—bugs. As the only mammal that can fly, bats are experts in pest control. Their speed and echolocation allow them to consume thousands of insects a night. This is particularly useful when it comes to disease-ridden bugs such as mosquitoes. Bats consume millions of bugs around the world, making our nights safer and far more comfortable.