Wildlife is the natural world, including animals, plants and their habitats. Wild animals can be found in all ecosystems, including deserts, grasslands, forests and urban areas.
Species and ecosystems of wildlife are at risk from habitat destruction, degradation, overexploitation, poaching, pollution and climate change. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that 42,100 species of the world’s fauna and flora are at risk from extinction.
There are many ways that people can help protect and conserve the world’s wild places, species and ecosystems. Some of the things we can do are:
Think before you buy
It is important that we don’t buy products that harm or destroy our planet and wildlife. When purchasing anything, look for eco-friendly products that are energy efficient and durable. Choose products that are made from renewable resources, such as biodegradable plastics and paper, or recycled materials.
Use natural pest control, as much as possible: Using pesticides can deplete the habitats of wildlife and weaken their immune systems. Spiders, frogs, snakes, bats, birds and other animals can help reduce the number of insects that damage crops or eat away at our food supply.
Don’t litter or pick up trash in the wild: Animals can be easily confused by garbage and can become sick if they are exposed to a large quantity of it. It is better to pick up your own waste or recycle it instead of letting it get into the environment.
Support genuine efforts to keep wildlife in the wild, such as ecotourism or photo safaris.
Reduce light pollution: Artificial lighting is harmful to wildlife. To help, avoid turning on outdoor lights at night, properly shield all outdoor lighting and keep your blinds closed during the day.
Reduce fall yard cleanup: leaves, dead flower heads and ornamental grasses provide critical food and shelter for birds, butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects during the winter months.
Be a wildlife ambassador: If you can, volunteer at a refuge, sanctuary or zoo to help educate and engage people on the importance of conservation.
Stop the illegal wildlife trade
The illegal wildlife trade threatens our planet’s most iconic species, as well as our ability to sustain healthy ecosystems. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an important tool for stopping this trade. However, it is still difficult to enforce, and countries often lack the training and financial resources to do so effectively.
Wildlife is an essential part of our world, and we must do everything in our power to save it. The human population is expanding rapidly, and if we lose more of our wildlife to unsustainable hunting, we could screw up our entire ecosystem and make it harder for us to survive.
The accelerating global biodiversity crisis, with a million species of plants and animals facing extinction, threatens the benefits that we gain from the wild. That includes food, water, medicine, energy, recreation, inspiration and other vital contributions to our survival.