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  • Alex Gerlach

Why Wildlife Conservation And Protection Is So Important

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

When we think about endangered species and wildlife conservation, we often imagine elephants, rhinoceroses, or other animals we often won’t find in our backyards. But the reality is, animals and plant species are struggling all over the world for different reasons; whether it be disease, predation, poaching, or habitat loss.

National Wildlife Day is celebrated to bring awareness to endangered species nationally and globally. It was started by an animal behaviorist, conservationist, animal advocate, and author Colleen Paige. Since 2005, National Wildlife Day has been recognized on September 4th and February 22nd to honor the legacy and birthday of Steve Irwin.

Today, I want to raise awareness about endangered species and encourage people to research what they don’t realize is happening in their own backyard.

Bumblebees, an endangered species, are vital pollinators for wild plants
Bumblebees, an endangered species, are vital pollinators for wild plants

At the start of the pandemic, I found myself, like many others, working remotely. I spent a lot of time inside my home, which doesn’t get a lot of natural light. Eventually, I decided to move my workspace outside and now spend all of my day surrounded by nature.

Spending so much time outside not only strengthened my connection to my environment, it made me conscious about living more harmoniously with wildlife. The reality is, we are not the only species to inhabit this planet.

We are part of a delicate ecosystem and currently act as the main perpetrators of its growing decline. Whether you’re a large corporation or an individual, we all carry the responsibility of saving our planet. Why? Because we are the only ones who can!

Learn more about National Zoo and Aquarium Day and the importance of these institutions for animal conservation.

The reality is, saving our planet is not an easy job and not one that can be done alone. No matter how little you think your impact is, doing something is always better than nothing. If we all begin to take responsibility for our own actions and impact on the environment, we can create bigger, more impactful waves.

Now, let’s talk about some of the ways everyone can get involved in supporting wildlife around the world and in their own backyard.

Hummingbird Moths aren’t endangered, but are a rare sight in the northeast
Hummingbird Moths aren’t endangered, but are a rare sight in the northeast

How To Become An Advocate For Wildlife

Before any problem can be solved, people need to be aware of it. Because we often equate wildlife endangerment to species we don’t see every day, it becomes a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” So, one of the first steps to becoming an advocate for wildlife is to start learning about wildlife in your own community.

 A baby turtle found in the grass
A baby turtle found in the grass

For example, according to The Nature Conservancy, my home state of New Jersey is home to almost 700 endangered wildlife species. The biggest threat? Loss of quality habitat.

And this is something I see everywhere. In western NJ, they want to build more warehouses and factories. Along the coast, more housing and businesses. This means hundreds of animals are displaced.

Between this statistic and the evidence I’ve seen for myself, it is clear that the issue of wildlife endangerment is happening all around me. And it’s probably happening around you, too, which is why it’s so important to be educated about our environments. Now, let’s go over some things you can do to help local and global wildlife.

  • Create a wildlife-friendly environment – There are lots of ways to create a wildlife-friendly environment, like using native plants in your garden, keeping out fresh water for animals, or even setting up a bat house.

  • Educate yourself – Educating yourself about your environment is so important to understand the importance of different species and how to help them.

  • Donate – There are hundreds of organizations and groups dedicated to helping wildlife that are always looking for donations to fund their conservation efforts.

  • Volunteer – The problem of wildlife endangerment is huge, so any extra pair of hands are needed! You can help restore native forests, native grasslands, or coastal ecosystems by planting native species.

  • Raise your voice – Our voices can be some of the most powerful tools we have to initiate change. Research shows that it only takes 3.5% of the population to initiate meaningful, legislative action.

This National Wildlife Day, we want to encourage you to learn more about your environment and what you can do to be an advocate. We understand the necessary role native wildlife plays not only in our ecosystem but in our cultures.

So, go out and buy a birdhouse or send a donation to organizations like Defenders of Wildlife, because if we all work together, we can accomplish anything.

Check out Storyteller Alex’s other article about how you can help protect honeybees!



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