Ten Ways You Can Help
February 20, 2019
To celebrate National Wildlife Day (February 22) our education team put together a list of ways you can help conserve wildlife from your own home!
Currently, dozens of species go extinct every day due to human-related activities. The United States alone has 1,300 species of plants, birds, fish, invertebrates, and mammals listed as endangered or threatened. Fortunately, you can help conserve species from your home and throughout your neighborhood.
- Learn more about endangered species in your area – Conservation doesn’t only occur internationality but can happen in your own backyard. Biodiversity is a vital aspect of the world. Arkansas has 32 species currently listed as endangered. U.S Fish and Wildlife Services has the full list available for you to look at. There are also lists of endangered species for your state. Knowing what the animal or plant looks like can help you know if they are in your areas and ways you can help protect them.
- Make your home wildlife friendly – Wildlife is everywhere! Human-animal conflicts have risen due to the increasing amount of houses being built in the wildlife habitat. Finding ways to coexist with wildlife can help lower those conflicts.
- Secure your garbage in cans or bins with locking lids.
- If you are able, feed pets indoors and lock pet doors at night to avoid unwanted guests.
- Use window stickers to help avoid bird collisions.
- Consider fencing your garden to deter animals from eating.
- Plant and Promote Native Species – Non-native plants are becoming more and more prevalent because they may be prettier or easier to grow but they are severely impacting native populations. Without native plants, animals are without proper food and shelter. Starting your own native garden you help promote native species and their survival. Not only are plants invasive but animals can be too. People will purchase a pet from a pet store and once they are no longer “fun” or new they will release the animal. Common examples of the animals that fall victim to this are: turtles, snakes, lizards, and birds. Invasive species are outcompeting native and may take over an entire area.
- Visit a national wildlife refuge, park, or other space – While habitats are being lost every day to accommodate more people, there are places that are protected to help animals not lose their homes. Protected areas keep native species in their native land without disturbing them. Volunteering at your local nature center or wildlife refuge can give you the ability to help first-hand with conservation efforts. Visit www.fws.gov/refuges/,www.nps.gov , www.aza.org, and http://www.sanctuaryfederation.org for places to visit.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Believe it or not, the coca cola bottle and the water bottle sitting in your trash, can end up in the stomach of an ocean animal. It’s not just a couple of animals but 60% of seabirds and 100% of sea turtles have been found to have plastic in their system as they often mistake it as food. According to USA Today, “If everyone in America recycled one plastic bottle those materials could make more than 54 million t-shirts.” In the next 25 years, it has been estimated that there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, by weight. You can help change that! By recycling, your used items can become a multitude of things. If you are unsure how to start recycling, contact your local recycling center for information on what they can accept. You can also try to use less plastic in your household.
- Tips for reducing plastic use:
- purchase reusable stainless steel or glass straws
- use reusable bags when shopping
- use reusable bottle and mugs
- pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags
- opt to not use plasticware at home and when getting take out
- Tips for reducing plastic use:
- Never purchase products made from threatened or endangered species – Souvenir shopping can be a fun experience, but sometimes souvenirs are made from animal products without your knowledge. Many of the animals on the endangered species list are at risk because of poaching. Animals lose their life to become an item for people to buy. You can help lower the need for poaching by saying no to items using endangered animal parts. If you are not able to tell if the product has been sourced ethically it is best to avoid them.
- Common items to avoid while shopping:
- Dried sea creatures
- Art made from ivory, teeth and bones
- Do not buy exotic “pets” – Exotic animals are wild and are adapted to living in the wild without human intervention. These animals may have been taken from their natural habitat, away from others like them, and smuggled into the country. Once bought and sold as a pet they lose the fear of people and rely on them for food and shelter. The desire to own any exotic animal is often short-lived. Many times these animals are purchased as a baby but as they age they become aggressive and unmanageable and become no longer cute in the owner’s’ eyes. Exotic animals require specialized diets and without it they will become malnourished and may develop illnesses and disease.If you are looking for a new pet, consider adopting a house cat or dog from a shelter.
- Protect wildlife habitat – Scientists say the best way to protect endangered species is to protect the places where they live. Without their habitat, they will have no home! Just like people, wildlife must have food, water, shelter, and space to survive. Even without one of their needs the animal has a smaller chance of survival. Unfortunately, because of the need for more space for the growing population, people are affecting the rate of habitats being lost. Human developments such as logging, oil and gas drilling, and agriculture growth have all contributed to habitat loss. Protecting habitats can come in many different forms. From preserving your own backyard to donating to conservation projects you can help out!
- Become an Eco-Tourist – Ecotourism is a rapidly growing industry that is not only working towards keeping the ecosystem intact but helps produce economic benefits for local communities. Becoming a conscious traveler can help save thousands of species from extinction. Which life do you think animals enjoy: being trained to do trick for the entertainment of people or roaming around their natural environment. Animals would not naturally walk on a ball (bear) or stand on their back legs (elephants). Ecotourism takes people to see animals living their every day and you get to witness them peaceful and without worry. Because people are paying the see the animal from a distance in their natural world, these animals are more likely to be protected. If you are thinking of taking a vacation soon, Green Global Travel has ways to plan to become more responsible when traveling.
- Education – Education is the key to promoting conservation. The great thing about education is that you do not have to be in the education field. You can educate through social media and by talking to people. By talking to others, you can raise awareness for conserving species. When talking to others about ways to help, you can send them to this page or talk about these ten ways to help right from your house!
For more information, visit:
“Habitat Loss.” National Wildlife Federation. https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Threats-to-Wildlife/Habitat-Loss
“Impact of habitat loss on species.” World Wildlife Fund. http://wwf.panda.org/our_work/wildlife/problems/habitat_loss_degradation/
“Plastics in the Ocean.” Ocean conservancy. https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/plastics-in-the-ocean/
“Palm Oil Crisis.” Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. http://www.cmzoo.org/index.php/conservation-matters/palm-oil-crisis/
“Smart souvenir shopping.” The Wildlife Trusts. https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/smart-souvenir-shopping
“Invasive plants have a much bigger impact than we imagine.” The Conservation. https://theconversation.com/invasive-plants-have-a-much-bigger-impact-than-we-imagine-82181
Post Written By Education Intern Abby Hickam