Through a combination of changing climates, lost habitats, increased poaching, and increased food scarcity, there has been a lot of worrying news about lately concerning the fate of wildlife around the world. The gloom-and-doom reports can often make the situation seem entirely hopeless; however, there is much that can be done in order to protect and conserve wildlife on a big and a small scale.
Below are 40 ways that anybody can help preserve wildlife, making the world a better place for flora, fauna, and mankind alike.
1. Working with other people is almost always more effective than working alone. Joining a conservation organization is a great way to pool your efforts together with the work of others to help protect against animal cruelty, hunting, or the destruction of habitat. There are lots of different organizations with different goals, so you are sure to find like-minded people.
2. Planting native plants in your garden or on any land you own is a great way of preserving the natural habitat of local creatures. This is not only good for the population of these animals but also helps guard against invasive species, which causes problems for the native fauna.
3. Habitat destruction is the main threat to 85 percent of all threatened and endangered species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. You can help reduce this threat by planting native trees, restoring wetlands or cleaning up beaches in your area.
4. One of the most common pieces of rhetoric you will hear from environmental conservationists is that you should recycle, and this is oft-repeated for a good reason. Recycling is a great way to minimize our use of non-renewable resources and make the most out of our materials. Easy on the environment as well as the economy, there is really no good reason not to recycle.
5. Find new ways to use things you already own. If you can’t reuse, recycle. The Minnesota Zoo encourages patrons to recycle mobile phones to reduce demand for the mineral coltan, which is mined from lowland gorillas’ habitats.
6. If you do any work with plants – be it farming or gardening – you should try to avoid the use of pesticides and other such chemicals. While these chemicals can protect your plants from pests, they also do a huge amount of damage to the ecosystem.
Beyond simply deterring and starving pests that would feed other creatures, the chemicals can damage and pollute the soil in which your plants are situated. Pesticides do not flush away quickly or easily.
7. Driving is a reality of everyday life, and most will find themselves driving to and from work. Driving is not particularly good for the environment; however, emissions from car exhausts contribute heavily to CO2 pollution in the air. By driving more economically – slowing down and braking less – you can minimize the amount of exhaust fumes your car pumps out.
8. Slower driving is also important in avoiding collisions with any creatures that happen to haphazardly cross the road. Keeping a wary eye out for creatures whose habitat has been divided by roads could help avoid an accident.
9. A better solution than careful driving is, of course, not driving at all. Depending on where you live and your individual travel needs, you can easily substitute a car for a bicycle or mass transit for certain journeys.
10. Donate to wildlife charities. While this may seem somewhat obvious, the fact of the matter is that the more money these charities receive, the more they can do to help conservation efforts around the world.
Whether you set up a standing order or make a one-off payment, donate a large amount or just put your spare change in a bucket, every little bit of money helps.
11. Donating to charities on your own behalf is a great step, but donating for someone else is even better. By buying plush toys, postcards, and even stamps sold by environmental charities, you are not only giving to the charity directly but also spreading the word to those you know.
12. Be volunteer. Donate your time if you don’t have money to give. Many organizations and zoos have volunteer programs. You can help clean beaches, rescue wild animals or teach visitors.
13. Indiscriminate killing of wild birds and animals, whether they are in abundance, should not be allowed anywhere. National Parks and Sanctuaries should be established in more numbers for preserving the natural habitats of wild animals and birds throughout the country.
14. Visit national parks and other nature reserves. Whether you live nearby or you seek one out when vacationing, making use of nature reserves helps to keep them running and offer animals safe habitats to live.
15. Learn more about our planet’s species from wildlife experts in zoos, aquariums, national parks and wildlife refuges. See Earth’s most amazing creatures up close. Visiting local zoos and parks can double the effect to know about the wildlife.
16. When vacationing abroad, be careful what souvenirs you bring back. Cheap exotic plants and animals offered in shops abroad may be tempting, but they can often be protected. By buying into this peddling of protected wildlife, you help fund an industry that does immense damage to the environment. Always check before you buy it.
17. Buy Responsibly. Try not to purchase products made from endangered animals or their parts; you can stop wildlife trafficking from being a profitable enterprise.
18. For some, the temptation to purchase exotic items such as ivory can be great. However, ivory and similar items are almost always obtained by poaching, which is an extremely harmful industry which involves the maiming or even killing of animals. Items such as ivory should not – under any circumstances – be purchased.
19. The best type of vacation is one that requires little traveling. Planes and other methods of transportation contribute to the release of fossil fuels into the atmosphere, and so minimizing the amount of travel you undertake is the best option.
20. Glass windows can be a particular hazard to birds. Clear glass is often difficult for birds to spot when flying at speed, and so collisions are common. Simply adding decoration to your windows can prevent a bird from accidentally crashing, thereby saving its life.
21. If you own a cat, it may be a good idea to keep it indoors. Cats are natural predators for a lot of the creatures found in the common garden and participate in huge numbers of wildlife deaths every year. When living in the wild, this is normal. However, household cats receive food, and so the animals that are killed are simply wasted.
22. Be careful what you use for bathing. Soaps, including exfoliating microbeads, are incredibly damaging to the environment as these beads are not broken down by washing and so can present a number of hazards to aquatic wildlife. Many environmentally friendly alternatives exist.
23. Keep yourself informed about the status of different animals normally farmed as foodstuffs. Many species are over-farmed or farmed in improperly curated conditions, in particular fish. Knowing what kinds of animals are endangered by this process and not eating them can help tremendously with sustaining their populations.
24. Make use of renewable energy sources where available. While power production is becoming safer and cleaner by the day, fossil fuels remain one of the most popular modes of energy production. By making use of renewable sources such as solar where available, you can help reduce the use of pollutive fuels.
25. Actively try to clean up space around you. Litter dropped is not just an eyesore, but can be detrimental to the well-being of wildlife in various ways. Clean up whenever you find discarded litter.
26. Trash is harmful to animals. From choking hazards to ecosystem pollution, plastics and chemicals from our waste can be very dangerous to wildlife. Birds and other animals can trap their heads in plastic rings. Fish can get stuck in nets. Plus, trash pollutes everyone’s natural resources. Always dispose of trash properly.
27. Adopting animals is a great way to put your money where your mouth is with regard to wildlife conservation. Adopting animals such as endangered cats and other mammals makes sure that your money goes directly to help care for the creatures that need it most.
28. Get together with friends to adopt an animal from a wildlife conservation organization such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Symbolic adoptions help fund organizations.
29. Plant trees. It may sound somewhat cliché, but planting trees really is one of the most effective things you can do to help with preserving natural habitats.
30. Try to keep your home and land wildlife-friendly by ensuring that it is kept clean and waste is kept secure.
31. Support bans on cruel sport and activities such as trapping and harassing. The stress caused by such activities – as well as the activities themselves quite often – can be lethal to animals in need of support.
32. Similarly, try to avoid giving business to companies that have a bad track record of animal abuse and habitat destruction, as this will help curb this poor behavior.
33. Composting solves a number of issues. In addition to being a safe way of disposing of waste and a healthy alternative to pesticides, compost heaps attract many creatures that help an ecosystem thrive.
34. Always be careful when undertaking yard work, as creatures such as hedgehogs can often take refuge in piles of loose leaves or even your compost heap. If you are not careful, they can easily find themselves on the business end of your spade.
35. Save the bees. Bees are an essential part of all ecosystems and are being wiped out. Planting bee-friendly plants is a good way to keep the important drones around. Similarly, bees which are found on the floor are not always dead, but rather exhausted. Mixing sugar and water in a teaspoon and offering it to the downed insect can help perk it up and get it flying again.
36. Spiders are another important part of the natural order, so even if you find yourself scared by them, resist the urge to kill them. Spiders help to control the population of flies, mosquitoes, and other such pests, and so they are a real boon to most households. Either leave them be or take them outside.
37. Turn off your lights at night. This can help keep animals in their proper sleeping patterns, which helps them to sustain the natural order of things.
38. Make use of social media to spread awareness of environmental issues. By making use of the reach afforded you by networks such as Facebook and Twitter, you can help to rally others to the cause of saving the environment.
39. The Department of Government requires to conduct a periodic survey in all the forests regarding the conservation of wildlife. They should have knowledge about the population of all the species of wild animals and birds so that they can be helped during the time of floods and famines.
40. Love nature and love its creation. It will automatically drive you to contribute to their conservation.