Species are disappearing at an alarmingly fast rate and scientists warn that we are on the verge of the first human-caused mass extinction. With a rapidly growing number of species on the brink of extinction, it is evident that urgent action is necessary. Humans hold the power to either exacerbate or prevent the looming extinction crisis. Through small conservation efforts you can make a difference for endangered wildlife in your area and across the globe. Here are seven steps that you can personally take to help endangered wildlife.
1) Purchase from companies that create products sustainably. The products you buy can have grave consequences for wildlife. Ensure that you purchase Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood and learn about other certified-sustainable product labels to be certain that you are purchasing responsibly.
2) Learn about endangered species in your area and discover how your community is affecting them by attending public meetings about local land and water-use decisions.
3) Volunteer your time at a wildlife refuge. Many wildlife refuges depend on volunteers to continue successful conservation programs and projects. Through donating your time, you can also learn about native-plants and grow them in your own garden to provide habitat for local and migratory animals.
4) Transition towards a plant-based diet. The primary threat to endangered species is habitat loss and much of this is caused by the clearing of land for growing animal feed. The leading cause of destruction to the Amazon rainforest— one of the most biodiverse places on the planet—is animal agriculture. One of the most important consumer choices you can make to benefit endangered species is to reduce or eliminate the animal products you consume. Another impactful dietary action is avoiding palm oil, as its production directly threatens the critically endangered orangutan.
5) Do not buy ivory or other wildlife products. Despite widespread awareness of its cruelty, the illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Purchasing products made of ivory, exotic leathers, and bones directly fuels poaching, which is a leading threat to endangered wildlife. If you have any doubt about what a product is made of, do not purchase it.
6) Drive carefully! Slow down and be extremely cautious of wildlife when driving. As development expands, roads are increasingly hazardous to wild animals. Hundreds of millions of wild animals are killed each year on roads. You can reduce this number by being mindful of this risk when driving.
7) Sign petitions and educate others. Conservation efforts channeled through online petitions spreads awareness about the plight of endangered species and brings about positive change. Share information with your friends and family to ensure that they understand the impact their choices have on the world’s most threatened species.
By adopting these simple conservation steps, you can have a profound impact on threatened wildlife— but you must act quickly. Scientific consensus asserts that there is a short window of opportunity to avert a tragic decline in biodiversity. To further your reach, consider donating to LCA and other organizations that are working hard to make a difference for endangered species. Learn about what we have accomplished so far through our ongoing Mountain Gorilla and Koala campaigns.