Why are top-level predators at higher risk for extinction than other animals?



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    Higher-level predators suffer most because the effects of pollution and habitat destruction get focused as you move up the food chain. First of all, such predators depend on a smaller pool of food. Think of how many options a deer has as far as what to eat compared to a lion. If a species of grass goes extinct the deer will not go hungry, the same may not be true for the carnivore.  Second pollutants in the environment get concentrated in the animals they consume. Imagine a river polluted with mercury. A minnow in that river may only take in a small amount of mercury, but the salmon that eats that minnow will take the mercury into its body as well as the mercury it already got from the water. When the bear comes along and eats the salmon it is ingesting all the mercury from the all the minnows the salmon ate as well as from the salmon itself.

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