Writing About Wildlife

A wild animal is a creature that lives in the natural environment and has not been domesticated by humans. Wildlife includes animals like bears, deer, fish, antelopes and other game species, as well as birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. Wild animals are protected by law and are often subjected to threats from humans, including poaching, habitat destruction, human development, pollution, and hunting. Wildlife conservationists work to protect wild animals and their habitats through education, research and other efforts.

The world’s population has grown to more than seven billion people and is growing rapidly, endangering the survival of many wild species. The most important threat to wildlife is habitat loss caused by land development and other human activities. Other factors include climate change, air and water pollution, hunting and poaching, and invasive species.

People hunt and fish for sport and to provide food. Some wild animals are hunted for their fur, which is used to make coats, hats and other clothing. Others are killed for their meat, which provides a nutritious alternative to beef and pork. Some species are hunted to the point of extinction, such as the passenger pigeon and the heath hen. Other species are pushed to the edge of extinction by overhunting or by becoming targets for illegal poaching.

Some communities in developing countries depend on local wildlife for their livelihoods. They use wild animals for food and products like hides, timber and medicinal ingredients. Overexploitation of species harms the whole living planet, just as overfishing causes imbalances in entire marine ecosystems.

Wildlife conservationists work to prevent extinction and restore populations of threatened or endangered species. In addition, they advocate for laws to protect native animals and their habitats. They also help to establish national parks and wildlife refuges, educate the public about the need for conservation, and work with law enforcement to prosecute wildlife crimes. Organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International support global animal conservation efforts.

Writing about wildlife requires careful thought and a good knowledge of biology and ecology. Wildlife biologists must be able to summarize and synthesize other scientists’ findings without losing their own interpretations and insights. Wildlife biologists must also be able to write clearly and concisely. They must be able to communicate effectively with other wildlife scientists, politicians and the general public.

The tone of a wildlife article should be friendly and educational, but not condescending. This type of writing reaches an audience that spans many types of people, from wildlife enthusiasts and hunters to armchair travelers and environmental-justice advocates. Writers for this audience should be aware of the unique format and citation requirements of each journal in which they plan to publish their articles. For example, some journals require parenthetical citations, while others use footnotes. Using reference management software can reduce the time spent preparing references and ensuring that all necessary information is included in an article.

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