Endangered animals are those with populations so small, they’re at risk of going the way of the wooly mammoth. According to experts, the earth is on the brink of a crisis, with more than 1 million species on track for extinction in the coming decades.
Each time a species disappears, the consequences are profound, leading to losses in crop pollination, water purification and more. Unfortunately, humans are to blame. This crisis is a result of more than a century of habitat destruction, over-harvesting, population growth, and other harmful practices.
If you want to make a change, discover what you can do to better protect endangered animals.
1. Encourage Volunteerism
If you want to take an active approach to save endangered animals, find a place where you can volunteer. Look for a wildlife conservation project where you can help species threatened by habitat loss and human influences, such as poaching.
Most roles take place at a rescue center where you can care for injured and abandoned animals. Unfortunately, many of these creatures cannot be released back into the wild. You may also get to work in the field, observing and collecting data on exotic species. The information you gather can inform research and anti-poaching efforts.
2. Patronize Sanctuaries
With the growing human population, the need for dedicated wildlife spaces is increasingly essential. Sanctuaries help conserve natural areas and the animals in them. These operations also take care of exotic creatures that have been injured in the wild or bought by consumers and subsequently abandoned.
When you visit a sanctuary, you fund the organizations that keep endangered species safe. While thousands exist across the U.S. and abroad, be sure only to patronize ones that treat animals with respect, not as props for entertainment. Sanctuaries should be a place for wildlife to retire, and visitors should not be able to walk around freely.
3. Adopt New Technology
With advances in technology, it’s easier than ever to support animals at risk of extinction. Donation software, for instance, gives donors the ability to pledge monetary support through text. Protecting endangered species can be as easy as making an online purchase.
Drones, in conjunction with cameras, sensors and GPS, are also being used to monitor animals and track changes to habitats. This technology reduces the time and effort needed for scientists to study endangered species, bringing humans closer to solutions that could stop extinction.
4. Live Sustainably
Many animals become endangered due to loss of habitat. To ensure you don’t contribute to this issue, it’s crucial to live and shop sustainably. Use recycled paper. Avoid buying furniture made from wood that originated from rainforests. As an alternative, look for bamboo or timber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Minimize your use of palm oil and always recycle your electronics. Never purchase products made from threatened or endangered species, such as tortoise-shell, ivory, coral, crocodile skin or tiger fur. You should also avoid using herbicides and pesticides on your lawn and garden, as they’re hazardous to many native creatures.
5. Promote Activism
When you become an activist, you give a voice to the endangered animals who cannot speak for themselves. You have the power to spread the word about diminishing wildlife — to friends, families, schools, communities and anyone else who will listen.
Many activists orchestrate events in their hometown or school. For instance, you can ask others to sign a pledge to protect a specific species, such as amphibians, which have a higher rate of endangerment than any other group of animals. You can also plant milkweed and pollinator gardens that encourage local insect colonies.
6. Pressure Governmental Change
As a civilian, it can be hard to enact long-lasting change. However, you can pressure civil servants to be the voice of reason. Vote for representatives who hold similar values to your own, and donate to their campaigns. You can also write letters to current leaders in power.
If you see an issue that needs resolving, consider starting a petition. First, determine your mission, something a decision-maker can change. Write a compelling story about the problem and the solution you’re trying to achieve. Then, set a reasonable goal, such as 15,000 signatures. After, deliver the petition in person and invite the media to participate.
How to Better Protect Endangered Animals
In the coming decades, hundreds of species could go extinct. If we want to prevent this crisis, the time to take action is now. To do your part, follow the tips above. From volunteering to adopting new technology, we can take a stand and help endangered animals.