Wildlife includes all living non-domesticated animals, plants and other organisms that inhabit wild areas. Despite their importance to the ecosystem, wildlife continues to face numerous threats and challenges, largely due to human activities. National and international governments along with various non-govt. organizations are constantly putting efforts to protect and conserve wildlife. Some world-famous forests and sanctuaries such as Kaziranga, Jim Corbet, Gir National Park in Gujarat are reserved and earmarked for the safe habitat of wildlife.
While some humans think of wild animals only as potential threats, other people see wildlife as food, recreation, or a source of beauty. In some parts of the world, wild animals are a major food source, especially for those who live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Other wild animals are kept for the pleasure of viewing them, for example, in zoos and other parks. Some species of wildlife also have commercial value, such as fur and tiger bones.
The word “wild” in “wildlife” is important to understand because it indicates that these animals live without human interference. While prehistoric humans struggled with wildlife as both predators and prey, they quickly tipped the balance in their favor with superior intellect and weapons. They began hunting for sport and to sell or trade the animal’s meat, skins, and other products. They also used wild animals as beasts of burden and to entertain or educate. Dangerous or difficult to control animals were eliminated, and many wild species were driven into extinction by humans.
In modern times, the threats to wildlife are even greater. The demand for exotic animal meat, skins and other products continues to drive some of the world’s most endangered animals into extinction, while human activities have contributed to global warming and environmental pollution. In addition, the loss of natural habitats means that animals have fewer places to find food, shelter and water.
As a result, the survival of most species is at risk, and the number of wildlife in the world is declining. It is estimated that current extinction rates are about 1000 times faster than the background extinction rate, which occurs naturally and does not involve humans.
The National Wildlife Federation is working to change this, with programs on the ground in seven regions and 52 state and territory affiliates. Everyone can help wildlife thrive by ensuring that the plants and animals they buy, consume, or use are grown or harvested using sustainable methods. They can also avoid buying products that hurt animals, like gas-guzzling vehicles, disposable plastic microbeads, and paper products not made with recycled paper. And they can help wildlife by making their land and water more wildlife friendly, by providing food, water, shelter, space, and a safe place to raise young. This is what we mean by wildlife conservation. The National Wildlife Federation has great information on how you can do this. For example, this guide describes how to encourage the right types of wildlife into your yard. By doing so, you will also be helping other wildlife, including the birds and bees that pollinate our crops.