Animals, plants, and their habitats are protected by wildlife conservation. Conserving wildlife means ensuring the enjoyment of our natural world for future generations, as well as its incredible wildlife. Understanding how species interact within ecosystems and how they are affected by human and environmental influences can help protect wildlife.
We are all responsible for protecting the species around us, yet many are not aware of how they can help. As such, there has been a decline in animal populations all over the world. But who protects wildlife to ensure that this decline doesn’t continue, and how can you do your part to help? Read on to find out!
Is Wildlife Protection Necessary?
Plant and animal species, as well as their habitats, are protected by wildlife conservation. In maintaining the stability and balance of nature's processes, wildlife plays an important role.
Conserving wildlife is all about ensuring their survival and educating people on how to live sustainably with them. This mission is what lead to the creation of the Endangered Species Act.
What Does the Endangered Species Act Do?
Our nation's strongest law for protecting wild plants and animals is the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. National Marine Fisheries Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) enforce the law.
Species can be classified as endangered or threatened under the ESA. As part of the ESA, endangered and threatened species are protected from activities affecting them or their habitat. A number of species have been saved from extinction in large part due to protections under the ESA.
What Organizations Are Known for Protecting Wildlife?
Among conservation organizations, WWF is arguably the best known.
Wildlife conservation has been the organization's focus for nearly six decades, and its efforts haven't been in vain - it has made a big positive impact in our world, both on land and in the water.
Wildlife conservation efforts at the WWF benefit all animals, from the frozen Antarctic to Mexico's bright skies and Africa's vast bushveld.
Since its founding in 1895, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has been working to protect wildlife in 14 global regions.
The organization combines education, conservation, and science.
Animals are protected by the WCS from climatic change and the misuse of resources.
The first global organization for environmental conservation was the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The organization seeks to find solutions to pressing environmental issues.
Union members come from over 185 countries, and they have thousands of field projects all over the world.
IUCN supports several environmental-focused initiatives in addition to programs focused on business, economics, gender, global policy, social policy, water, and world heritage.
The IUCN Save Our Species program is also run by this organization. Threatened species and their habitats are supported by this program.
In North America and around the world, Defenders of Wildlife works to protect and promote the population of endangered species.
Through conservation projects, the organization plans its efforts according to the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Panthera is a conservation group devoted to conserving the 40 wild cat species found around the world.
Moreover, Panthera protects the health and wellbeing of plants and other animals, as well as humans.
Why Is Wildlife Important?
In this section, we will be looking into why wildlife is important.
Ecosystems Are Maintained by Wildlife
All living things are interconnected. An entire ecosystem is affected when even one organism becomes extinct if not threatened. Such events disrupt the food chain, causing ripple effects throughout the ecosystem. Species are rarely threatened in isolation, either. Threats to honeybees, for example, also affect other pollinators. The protection of all wildlife is essential to the health of ecosystems.
Ecosystems Are Healthier When There Is Diversity
In discussions of wildlife, the term "biodiversity" is often used. It refers to the number of species in an ecosystem. Ecosystems with a great deal of diversity are healthy. What makes this so important? Take plants as an example. A wide variety of plants means better health and greater productivity. When there are fewer plant species, diseases that affect them spread more quickly. Diversity improves resistance.
Wildlife Protection Creates More Jobs
The preservation of wildlife also creates jobs for the economy. Over 8,000 jobs were created by a conservation and sustainable management project in Honduras, and community income levels were raised by over 300%. The research of Heidi Peltier, a professor and expert in employment in the U.S. economy, found that park and conservation development create more jobs than oil and gas. Creating "green" jobs makes an economy more productive and sustainable.
It Is Good for Your Mental Health to Be Around Wildlife and Nature
Mental health is a global crisis. Natural factors can contribute to better mental health. A study found that people who live nearby natural environments and wildlife are more active, emotionally strong, and physically healthy. As part of one project in the UK, people with poor mental health went on nature walks and assisted with conservation work. The participants reported feeling better after 12 weeks. We should protect wildlife and their habitats in order to protect our mental health.
What Can You Do for Wildlife?
Help Protect Wildlife
- Having your say is important! Send a letter to your federal and state representatives asking them to support wildlife protection policies.
- Get notified as soon as urgent animal protection issues arise and be in touch with policymakers quickly and easily with AWI's action alerts.
- You can read AWI's publications about wildlife protection issues and spread the word about them.
- Take action on the current action alerts by visiting AWI's Action Center.
Educate Yourself as A Consumer
- You should buy sustainably sourced, durable, energy-efficient, and sustainably packaged products. Avoid products that harm animals and habitats, like disposable plastic microbeads and plastic bags, gas-guzzling vehicles, paper products that are not recycled, pesticide-treated crops, and palm oil-derived products. Avoid products that include animal parts or derivatives, as well as products that test on animals.
- It is always best to avoid purchasing exotic animals, especially those that are wild caught, as well as products made and parts from wildlife, including souvenirs.
- Avoid buying clothing or other products made from feathers or fur.
- Support top wildlife conservation societies
Final Thoughts - So, Who Protects Wildlife?
There are a variety of organizations across the globe fighting to protect the animals around us such as the Defenders of Wildlife, Panthera, and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to name a few. However, it is up to all of us individually to educate ourselves, and do our parts in protecting wildlife.