The gloom-and-doom reports concerning the fate of wildlife around the world can make the situation seem rather hopeless at times, but there is much that can be achieved when we all work together.
In honour of World Wildlife Day (which should be every single day, as far as we’re concerned!), we think it’s high time we take a look at some of the minor actions you can take that will make a major impact on protecting and conserving wildlife.
1. Make your home wildlife-friendly by simply securing rubbish in bins with locking lids, feeding your pets indoors, and locking pet doors at night to avoid attracting wild creatures into your home.
2. Clean up the space around you, because litter is not only an eyesore, but it’s also a detriment to the wellbeing of wildlife. Litter can pose choking hazards and cause ecosystem pollution, while plastics and chemicals from our waste can be dangerous to wildlife in various ways.
3. Plant native plants in your garden or on any land you own to provide food and shelter for native wildlife, and to help preserve their natural habitats. Native plants can also attract native insects like bees and butterflies that help pollinate your plants.
4. Avoid using herbicides and pesticides when planting. Although these chemicals are effective in protecting your plants from pests, they are also capable of doing huge amounts of damage to the ecosystem. Not to mention that these hazardous pollutants take a long time to degrade, and they build up in the soils and can be distributed throughout the food chain.
5. Add decorations to your glass windows to prevent birds from accidentally crashing into them – it can be difficult for birds to spot windows when flying at high speed.
6. Switch off your lights at night. This can help promote better sleeping patterns for animals, which in turn helps them to sustain the natural order of things.
7. Slow down when driving in order to avoid collisions with any creatures that happen to haphazardly cross the road. Be sure to keep a wary eye out for creatures whose habitats have been divided by roads, especially in developed areas.
8. Travel more ‘economically’ by slowing down and braking less, as this could minimise the amount of exhaust fumes your car pumps out.
9. Recycle to minimise your use of non-renewable resources and make the most out of available materials. This is not only easy on the environment but also helps the economy too, so there’s really no reason why we shouldn’t recycle more.
10. Buy sustainable products, including agricultural produces that don’t harm the environment, and furniture made from sustainably sourced and manufactured timber rather than wood from rainforests.
11. Minimise your use of palm oil, because rainforests where tigers, orangutans, and many other native species live are being deforested to make way for palm plantations.
12. Protect wildlife habitats so that the animals have places to find food, seek shelter, and raise their young – because the widespread destruction of natural habitats is perhaps the greatest threat that many species are facing these days.
13. Visit zoos, aquariums, national parks, and wildlife refuges that many wild animals call home.
14. Learn about endangered species in your area. Teach the people around you – whether it’s your mum, your child, your colleague, your neighbour, or your hairdresser – about the wonderful wildlife, birds, fish, and plants that live near you and why they need protection.
15. Donate when you visit zoos and nature reserves; pay the recommended entry fee, but note that your donations will go a long way in helping to maintain these conservation areas.
16. Support bans on cruel sport and activities that impose unnecessary stress on animals, some of which can be lethal.
17. Share your passion for wildlife conservation with your family. Tell your friends how they can help. Ask everyone you know to pledge to do what they can to stop wildlife-trafficking.
18. Spread awareness of environmental issues by making use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Voice your opinions, tell your friends and followers why nature matters, and help to rally others to the cause of saving the environment.