All animals exist in a complex web interconnected to support each other. That’s why our global focus today should be to save animals facing extinction. By doing so, we are certainly maintaining an ecological balance.
Since the ice age, mass species extinction has been accelerating at a depressing pace. The recent 6th extinction has cost the world a good number of beloved species due to human activities.
Human activities such as poaching, overhunting, pollution, farming, mining, urbanization, overfishing, wildlife trafficking, deforestation are significant threats to animal species. In addition, these human actions have led to severe global warming, carbon emissions, and climatic changes that have led to habitat loss, putting animals in danger of extinction. Thus, it’s vital to take the necessary steps to save and restore the disappearing animals.
Governments and several prominent organizations, such as NRDC, World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and One Tree Planted, are taking action to protect the endangered wildlife and their habitats. They apply the best science and work with local communities to find solutions to this menace.
But what actions can you and I take to save animals facing extinction? This piece will explore what we can do to protect animals facing extinction. First, let’s look at the list of animals that are going extinct.
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List of Animals Facing Extinction
According to the IUCN list of threatened species, 16,306 species are facing extinction as of 2021. This number is an increase from last year’s figure, which was 16,118. If humans don’t act now, the future is a blink for these species.
Some of the animals facing extinction include:
- Polar bear- This animal lives in Arctic conditions. But the animals facing extinction due to climate change in the Arctic is leading polar bears closer to disappearance. The polar bear is one of the animals facing extinction due to habitat destruction and human conflict.
- Gharial – This is a crocodile in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, barely surviving. The main threats pushing gharial to the brink of extinction are farming, aquaculture & agriculture, pollution, and mining, among other general disturbances based on IUCN reports.
- Saola – According to IUCN, the biggest threat to this critically endangered animal is hunting with dogs. To save this species, we need to intensify the removal of poachers’ snares and reduce hunting with dogs in the central locations of the Annamite forests to curb this threat.
- Kakapo – This is another critically endangered animal species. The kakapo parrot is a unique species threatened by invasive species, diseases, and genes.
- Amur Leopard – Amur Leopard is also facing extinction due to human conflict and habitat loss. This habitat loss is being driven mainly by the conversion of land for agriculture and farming.
- Vaquita – Vaquita porpoise is an endangered ocean mammal in Mexico. It’s sadly vanishing, and their number is declining quickly due to illegal fishing gear used to catch Totoaba, another critically endangered species.
- Black Rhino and Northern White Rhino- These rhinos are threatened mainly due to poaching for their horns. Their habitats are also being ruined due to human settlement, farming, and logging activities.
- Cross River Gorilla – Once believed to be extinct, according to IUCN, is this great ape called cross river gorilla. However, a few remain, but their greatest threat is habitat loss, hunting, agriculture, and exposure to diseases from humans and livestock.
- Hawksbill Sea Turtle – This sea turtle is endangered due to fishing as it often falls victim to fishing gears like gill nets. This causes injuries that eventually lead to debilitation or death due to swallowing of hooks and flipper entanglements. Another threat is the fertilizer that washes into the ocean threatening their survival.
- Vancouver Island Marmot – The main threat of this species is logging, according to IUCN. While it faces predation by species like golden eagles and wolves, island marmot is severely threatened by human activities, habitat loss, and degradation.
- Sumatran Elephant – This elephant is on the brink of extinction due to the severe threat of agriculture. Humans have converted forest areas in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, into settlements and farmlands for palm oil plantations. This increases the risk of human conflict, poaching, and even poisoning of the Sumatran elephant.
- Sunda Tiger – Sunda tiger, also a resident of the Sumatran rainforest, is also under threat due to farming and consequently poaching.
- Giant Panda – The giant panda is another vulnerable species. Hunting and trapping of other species are its main threats, according to IUCN.
What happens when these animals go into extinction? Let’s look at the effects of extinction, and how we can save animals facing extinction.
Effects of Extinction
The extinction and reduction of some animal species disrupt the earth’s ecosystem. The effects are being felt both on land and in the ocean. Here are typical examples:
- When the Arctic heated up due to global warming, the polar bear’s human conflict increased since its habitat had been compromised. Bears ended up invading residential areas putting humans in danger.
- Another classic example is when foxes go extinct or reduce in number, mouse overpopulation is inevitable due to decreased predation. This consequentially increases the issue of diseases like the bubonic plague or E. coli to other species, which is certainly not good for the environment.
- When cougars in the western US state of Utah were reduced, there was an explosion of the deer population. This bunch of deers consumed a large part of vegetation, altering the local stream’s path and lowering the overall diversity.
- When lions and leopards decreased in Africa, it led to a surge of olive baboons, which sadly transferred intestinal parasites to humans.
- Industrial whaling led to the change of diet of the killer whale diet. As a result, they are now eating additional seals, sea lions, and otters, dramatically reducing in population.
- According to recent studies, the reduction and loss of predators, especially the large ones, have led to population collapse, pandemics, and ecosystem shifts in the recent past.
How Can You Help to save and restore these endangered species? Let’s explore ten different ways.
How to Save Animals Facing Extinction
There are small but significant actions that you can take to save animals facing extinction. They include:
Support Companies the Promote Sustainability
When doing shopping either from your local or online stores, go for those companies with eco-friendly items. Whether looking for shoes, outfits, toys, bags, or utensils, you can opt for sustainable products to participate in environment preservation. These items help reduce the clearing of forests or animal habitats, thus saving endangered animals.
Furthermore, you can support minimalism by accepting minimal packaging or the use of recyclable, reusable, and biodegradable materials to reduce waste and plastics that ruin the environment. Also, go for vegan items and use items that don’t support animal cruelty.
Avoid Harmful Black Market Products
Don’t purchase items made of horns, ivory, wood, and other things that endanger animals. This saves the animals and their habitat. Also, shun buying items from companies that make items from such products.
Even when traveling, be conscious when buying souvenirs. Some could have been made from endangered animals’ products like ivory. It’s vital to research the product before you can make that decision to buy.
Avoid Harmful Pesticides & Herbicides that Damage Native Plants & Wildlife
Harmful herbicides and pesticides have resulted in a significant animal loss. While they might be good for killing weeds, unfortunately, they also leave a lasting destructive effect on native species.
The chemicals penetrate the soil and last a long time, thus endangering the native wildlife species. Worse, they spread throughout the food chain, causing damage to small mammals and eventually impact the big predators that prey on them. Avoiding or limiting the use of these chemicals can help save the endangered animals in your area.
This is one of the easiest and practical things you and your family can do to participate in environment and animal conservation efforts. When driving near forests or animal conservation, don’t over speed. This will help reduce the road hazard to endangered wildlife.
We cannot deny that some roads and highways pass through forests, and most were constructed with minimal attention to how they can negatively impact the local animal population. Also, there are minimal built-in measures to enable animals to traverse the road that cut right through their habitat safely.
You can take the initiative to drive carefully when traversing these roads. Reducing the car speed can ensure there are minimal accidents involving animals.
Volunteer Your Time to Protect Wildlife in Your Area.
Animal parks, wildlife refuges, and other conservations are often home to endangered species. Find a national or local center in need of volunteers and offer to help. You can make an impact by providing your time to care for and protect these animals and help them thrive.
Learn about the struggles these endangered animals face and how you can help end them. Your little action will make a huge difference.
Help Replenish the Local Ecosystem by Planting Native Flora
Native wildlife in your region thrives on native plants. But, industries and other human activities often destroy these plants that provide food and shelter to local wildlife.
Planting native plants and replenishing those that are disappearing will be helping the endangered animals in your area that need them to survive.
In addition, since non-native species tend to invade and overrun the local population of plants and animals, leading to their extinction, you can help offset that damage left by these invasive and non-native species.
Planting native plants also attract pollinators such as bees and other insects that are crucial for a healthy ecosystem. This will go a long way in helping save animals facing extinction.
Pollution is a significant threat to animal species. Littering plastics threaten wildlife and marine species. To reduce this kind of pollution, make sure you dispose of your wastes in the right place and avoid dumping chemicals down the drain.
Also, carbon emissions from industries and vehicles have detrimental effects on animals and even humans. Some of the minor actions you can take to reduce air pollution include;
- Opt for walking, biking, or public transport when you can, instead of driving a personal vehicle
- Consider carpooling when it’s applicable.
- Invest in an electric car to reduce carbon footprints
- Buy locally grown food
Keeping the environment and water free from industrial and plastic waste is valuable to all species. And taking minor actions like those indicated above can help protect and save the environment and the species.
Donate to a Wildlife Organization
Several organizations are supporting wildlife protection and conservation of animal habitats. Find out more about their efforts and donate to they have established to further the cause.
There are some zoos not well established and accredited. So, before you donate, ensure that the zoos and aquariums are accredited and are instrumental to rescuing and rehabilitating the endangered animal species. Also, you can offer them support through their websites or social media accounts. Just find out the actions they are doing and donate your time and resources.
Ensure Your Home is not a Hazard to Wildlife.
You can make sure that there is no hazard posed to wildlife at your home. For example, secure all your trash cans so that animals can’t access them. Also, lock their lids to keep trash from becoming a hazard.
Reduce your water consumption by ensuring there is no wastage of water. Some of the things you can do to reduce water wastage include:
- Install water-saving flow restrictors or showerheads
- Check and fix any water leakages
- Turn off the faucets when brushing or shaving and then tighten them well once done.
These little actions can help ensure there is more local water for wildlife.
Another essential practice is placing window decals. This helps protect the birds from colliding with your windows.
Spread the Word
The last but not the least step you can take to save and protect endangered animals is to become a messenger. Be a voice and advocate for the protection of these species.
Spread the word to friends, family, and even strangers and let them know the actions to take and how they help. You can use word of mouth, social media, or create a website to reach as many people as possible.
Also, share this article with your networks. You will be taking one step to help save animals facing extinction.
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