The world’s wild plants and animals contribute to our health and well-being by providing us with food, materials, recreation and inspiration. But the global wildlife crisis threatens these benefits.
Whether it’s the songbird in your backyard or whales in the open sea, many people have some kind of relationship with wildlife. It’s common for humans to interact with wildlife in nature, but it is less usual to see wild animals in urban areas where housing, roads, parks and businesses compete with habitat for space. This often leads to conflict between people and wildlife.
A growing population, the need for more food, and the need to clear land for agriculture all put increasing pressure on wildlife. In addition, climate change is having a serious impact on many species. Many countries have protected wildlife species in national and international parks, sanctuaries and other facilities.
Billions of people, in developed and developing nations, depend on wild animals and plants for food, medicines, material goods and other products. But the global biodiversity crisis, with a million or more species of plants and animals facing extinction, threatens these contributions to human well-being.
There are many things people can do to help conserve wildlife. For example, people can avoid feeding wild animals. They can also keep their pet dogs on a leash and provide them with a bell to prevent them from harassing or killing songbirds. They can also buy food grown without herbicides and pesticides to support farmers who manage their land in the most wildlife-friendly way.
People can also support efforts to protect and reconnect wildlife corridors, the pathways that allow wildlife to move between places where they are safe and where there is enough food, water and shelter. And they can reduce their waste, especially plastic trash. Animals have been known to die after swallowing or getting tangled in plastic six-pack holders and other debris.
Lastly, everyone can volunteer with wildlife conservation organizations. It’s a great way to learn more about your local environment and the wild animals that live there. Whether you are interested in restoring wetlands, cleaning beaches or working to stop wildlife trafficking, there is an organization for you. The key is to find an organization whose mission and activities speak to your own interests. The more people who join with a specific organization to conserve wildlife, the greater their impact will be. In addition to donating money, you can also donate your time. This is a great way to get the whole family involved in helping wildlife. You can find wildlife organizations that have volunteer opportunities on the Volunteer With Wildlife website.