There is an increasing need for wildlife-friendly spaces in an overcrowded world. Natural areas such as protected spaces, wildlife sanctuaries, and national parks benefit everyone in many ways. In addition to giving people space to exercise and walk, National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries play an important role in conserving the environment.
Wildlife Sanctuaries: What Are They?
In a wildlife sanctuary, animals and plants are well-protected from external disturbances. Animal habitats in these sanctuaries should never be captured or poached. They aim to provide a comfortable environment for the animals living in the area.
Animal sanctuaries like the Duchess Sanctuary of Oregon or the Black Beauty Ranch of Texas were created to provide a haven for animals that have been neglected in the past. There are also parks dedicated to specific animals, such as the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Australia and the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.
The sanctuaries are characterized by majestic mountains, blue water bodies, and vast forests. Here we will learn more about these sanctuaries and discuss them in detail.
Why Wildlife Sanctuary Is Important
The benefits of wildlife sanctuaries are numerous. Let's explore them in detail.
Preserving Culture & History
It is not uncommon for wildlife sanctuaries to become cultural hotspots. Aside from flora and fauna, these sanctuaries are also dotted with structures that shed light on how these places were initially established. Thus, they have great significance both historically and culturally.
Ensures Wildlife Protection
As their natural habits are being rapidly decimated, several animal species are on the verge of extinction. Animals can breed safely and comfortably in wildlife preserves, allowing them to survive and reproduce comfortably. More animals will face extinction if these sanctuaries do not exist. In a sense, these sanctuaries provide a habitat that wild animals require for survival. They also serve to preserve these species in the long run.
Landscapes Are Preserved
Extinction isn't limited to animals. Mountains, dunes, hills, plains, and forests are all at risk because humans are continually destroying them for their own vested interests. Several landscapes are also significantly polluted. When they are protected under the status of a wildlife sanctuary, they are therefore better preserved. In wildlife sanctuaries, the landscapes are well-protected from urbanization, destruction, and pollution levels.
Ecotourism is heavily emphasized in wildlife sanctuaries around the world. Thanks to this, many indigenous individuals and tribes have easier access to jobs and economic development. These areas are also popular among tourists for nature walks and a range of other activities.
The role of wildlife sanctuaries in conserving biodiversity is crucial. Some of these sanctuaries engage in the following activities:
- Electricity production and distribution
- Horticulture that uses natural methods
- Various farming enterprises
- Wine production
- Grazing animals
Together, these activities contribute to the conservation and preservation of biodiversity.
How Do Wildlife Sanctuaries Help Endangered Animals?
There are many ways in which wildlife sanctuaries help animals. In this section, we will examine the benefits wild animals can derive from these sanctuaries.
Prevents The Overexploitation of Animals
Overexploitation occurs when animals are harvested at an incredibly fast pace. The rates at which they are harvested are usually faster than their recovery times. However, mammals, domestic or wild birds, and reptiles are also at risk, although this is primarily a fishing-related threat.
If multiple individuals of a specific species are overexploited, the species might be on the verge of extinction, from which it will never recover. Fish are one of the best examples of this problem.
Salmon and tuna are two fish species that have been massively overexploited over the last century, so much so that the size of these new fish is dropping dramatically. Fish species are also declining in numbers due to overfishing.
Wildlife sanctuaries are dedicated to conserving these animals, so multiple species are protected, and overexploitation is effectively prevented.
Getting A Second Chance
A wildlife sanctuary is also known for giving animals a second chance. This is especially true for animals that have been physically abused. During their lifetime, all the animals destined for a sanctuary are preserved. In a natural environment, they are given proper and special care. They have a second chance to live and thrive.
Providing Much Needed Attention
Many animals (non-domesticated and domesticated) end up in situations where they are neglected over time. The Tiggywinkles Sanctuary in England exists solely to treat and give more attention to these injured or neglected species. Among the species that get proper and uninterrupted attention are hedgehogs, birds, and a variety of badgers.
Other sanctuaries throughout the world contribute to similar efforts. Apart from caring for endangered species, these sanctuaries also rescue wildlife from zoos, circuses, and illegal farms.
Horses, as well as other domestic animals, are abused. Depending on their behavior, animal sanctuaries offer them special care.
Poaching Is Minimized
One of the biggest threats to wildlife is poaching. Poaching is a common practice for species that are almost endangered, especially those whose value as commodities is high. Poachers often exploit the tusks, skins, shells, horns, and other body parts of tigers, elephants, sea turtles, gorillas, lemurs, and rhinos.
More uncommon poaching targets are eventually harvested for medicines, souvenirs, jewelry, and even food. Poachers target already threatened animals, which results in the decline of an animal population that is already very small.
In a way, wildlife sanctuaries prevent poaching and allow animals to have a second chance.
Aids In Mitigating the Effects of Habitat Destruction
As you can see from the name, habitat destruction drastically reduces wildlife habitats. It fragments a landscape by breaking up long stretches of habitat over time. As a result, the larger wildlife populations are immediately fragmented into smaller groups.
Fragmentation caused by humans continues to be one of the biggest causes of species extinction. Deforestation, farming in forested areas, and urbanization that encroaches on natural areas result in fragmentation.
Fragmentation, as you would probably expect, makes wildlife more vulnerable, since it directly reduces their inhabited space. Human-animal conflict is also likely to increase as a result of this depletion of resources.
It's also worth noting that fragmentation creates small habitats that support a small population, which is more likely to go extinct.
Those who live in wildlife sanctuaries have a safe place where they can breed naturally. Living and breeding become easier since the animals are no longer under threat.
Protecting, monitoring, and conserving wild habitats are imperative functions of wildlife sanctuaries. As some sanctuaries are also open to humans, we too have the chance to observe these animals up close in their natural habitats.