Environmental Library: Endangered Animals
Animals make up a significant part of life on our planet. Without them, ecosystems and food chains would end up destroyed. Sadly, over the past couple of centuries, many species have become endangered or even completely extinct. While nature does plays a part in this, a larger reason is due to human activity including deforestation, urban development, hunting and pollution in natural habitats. We cannot simply rely on scientists and protection groups to counter these activities. Each of us an obligation to educate ourselves and increase efforts in protecting our planet and all of its inhabitants.
Threatened or Endangered
We often hear that a species is threatened or endangered. While some may use these terms interchangeably, there is a significant difference. Endangered species are those that are at a high risk of becoming completely extinct. On the other hand, a threatened species faces the risk of being considered endangered within a relatively short period of time. While neither of these are good news, endangered species are usually a higher priority for immediate help.
Extinction does not only affect small, helpless animals. In fact, many large, powerful creatures, such as the West African Black Rhinoceros and the ferocious Javan Tiger have had their numbers reduced to oblivion due to rampant hunting. In all types of habitats, creatures are being negatively affected due to human activity everyday. Just a few decades ago, the Tecopa Pupfish became officially extinct, as did the beautiful Golden Toads of Costa Rica, and the Po’ouli birds of Hawaii.
Getting Kids Interested
It is never too early to take an interest in the environment and to start helping out! Education starts at a young age and by teaching kids about the dangers that many creatures face, they can start making a difference. When children are taught about this early on, they can help to change viewpoints at home, in school, and in their communities. Around the world, many children have come together with their friends or classmates to petition, launch preservation campaigns and fundraise to help save animals.
It may seem a little daunting when we think about how to tackle such an enormous responsibility. The best way is to start with small steps. Focus on just one creature, or find an organization that helps out in general. Helping can take just five minutes of your time but it can still make a significant impact. For example, write a letter to a public official in your area, join a fundraising committee, or donate to a preservation group. Other ways to get involved are by simply living in an environmentally-friendly manner or spreading the word. Many people don’t even know how many creatures face extinction. Talk to them and help to motivate them into taking action too. For those who wish to take a more active role, find out about volunteer opportunities at a local animal conservation group. Many of these groups are tight on funds and rely heavily on volunteers to perform administrative duties, promotion, and hands-on work with rescued animals. Alternatively, instead of joining a group, make your own group! Get together with friends and family and clean up a beach, forest or other natural habitat.