I would think that the answer to this question to be an obvious no. That is, if we are talking about simply, as if this could be a simple discussion, the existence of a species, period. If a species were to fade into extinction, it should only be at the hands of an evolutionary demise. I believe all humans have some basic type of understanding about the importance of each individual species’ role in its habitat or environment, our environment.
Should we knowingly disregard the extermination of any species at the hands of human society? NO
Should we continue to study the effects of human society on the global environment to prevent any species’ extinction, and work to aid the recovery of any endangered species? YES
However, the slant of this discussion where the line blurs and the black and white blends to gray is the debate that ensues when a species is no longer a welcome inhabitant of a geographical space, or is perceived to be an alien intruder in that space.
The reality is civilization’s encroachment on the unique habitats throughout the world causes the confrontation between humans and the most visible threatened species; the large mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and trees. It is a debate that began with the advent of the agricultural age, when human proliferation began to threaten the surrounding and coexisting species. Whether directly affected by the urbanization caused by the rampant, relatively recent, explosion in the human population, or disrupted by the blatant misuse or mistreatment of our natural resources by the increasing agricultural and economical demands imposed on our natural capital, the first and biggest losers will always most likely be the species that require the most space in comparison to our own demands. In competition with the human species, they don’t stand a chance.
But what about the invasive species of the world’s unique habitats? Are these species invasive because we deem them to be a threat to the invaded ecosystem and our way of life, or is it part of the evolutionary cycle? Certainly Eurasian watermilfoil, sea lamprey, zebra mussels, and Asian carp for example are negative influences to the delicate balance in the ecosystems of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. But I would argue that, while undesirable, these intruders still deserve the right to coexist with humans because of their intrinsic, and possibly yet to be discovered, value.
Also, there is this question, are we the invaders in every ecosystem on the planet?
Check out the following sites to learn more about invasive species: