Wildlife needs our protection every day. As some say, every day should be wildlife day.
The challenges that wildlife is facing is large and complex—it’s normal for individuals to feel powerless. However, our individual conservation actions all add up and they can be the difference between a species surviving or disappearing forever. Ideas for actions can be countless, but here are 10.
1. Set a goal. You can set a basic goal in your day-to-day life for having the smallest negative impact or “footprint” on wildlife and their habitat.
2. Mobilize. Encourage your school, club and friends to have talks and debates on the values of wildlife conservation, and what you can do to help.
3. Consume responsibly. By not purchasing products made from illegally-sourced protected wildlife or their parts and products, you can stop wildlife trafficking from being a profitable enterprise. Buying illegal wildlife products will not only be harming a species, you may get slapped with a fine or even risk jail terms. Find more information from your national or local wildlife authorities or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
4. Speak up. Give your voice to the voiceless. Share your passion for wildlife conservation with your family and friends. Ask everyone you know to pledge to do what they can and to say “no” to illegal wildlife and their products in order to help stop wildlife trafficking. Make sure everyone understands that wildlife conservation includes protecting natural areas in perpetuity, and therefore development that does occur should be well planned and should not be at the cost of the loss, fragmentation and degrading of wildlife habitat. Development should be as people and wildlife-friendly as possible.
5. Visit. Aquariums, botanic gardens, national parks, nature reserves, wildlife refuges and zoos are all home to wild animals. See Earth’s most amazing creatures up close. As you book your summer vacation, plan to visit a national park in your country or abroad. If traveling internationally, look into how hard the country you will visit is working to protect its wildlife and wild places. Vacations with a heart!
6. Open your mind. When most people hear the term endangered species, they think of elephants, rhinos, tigers and other charismatic species. It’s easy to sympathize with these animals, but it can feel like the crimes facing these species are a world away from your own life. If these animals don’t live in your area, you might think there is nothing you can do to help. But most likely you can get advice from your government or a conservation organization near you.
7. Volunteer. If you don’t have money to give, donate your time. Many organizations and zoos have volunteer programs. You can help clean beaches, rescue wild animals or teach tourists about your local habitat.
8. Join. Whether you’re more interested in protecting natural habitats or preventing wildlife trafficking, find the organization that speaks to your passion and join their efforts. If such an organization doesn’t exist in your community, create one!
9. Stay Informed. Learn more about our planet’s species from experts. Do learn about ways to conserve the wildlife. Visit the websites of conservation organizations and their social media tools for the latest. Subscribe to a wildlife magazine and watch nature programmes on TV. Stay informed on the issues, know your impact in the ecosystem and take your part in protecting wildlife. Be informed and support local conservation. Think globally, act locally.
10. Be a whistleblower. Whistleblowers play a critical role in detecting wildlife crimes and holding criminal smugglers accountable. They are the key to fighting fraud and corruption as well which are among the root causes of wildlife crime. If you have the information on illegal logging, fishing and wildlife trafficking, report to the relevant government authorities. Find the hotline or ask to create one if it doesn’t exist!