Before understanding what endangered species conservation means, it is only right to give an insight into what the term “endangered species” represents. Endangered species are animals or plants that are at risk of going extinct forever. Their numbers have dwindled so dangerously low that the future of their existence is at stake.
These endangered species represent a critical part of our planet’s biodiversity, but their survival is in jeopardy. Their nonexistence is bound to have an impact on the earth as a whole.
This piece explains how we can work together to protect these vulnerable creatures and why it matters for our world.
What is endangered species conservation?
Endangered species conservation is the effort to protect and save animal and plant species that are at risk of disappearing forever. The goal of this conservation effort is to keep these species from going extinct, which would mean there would be none remaining in the wild.
Conserving endangered species is very important because every species has a job in nature. When one disappears, it can upset the balance of nature. This balance helps keep our world healthy and thriving. Endangered species face problems like losing their homes, pollution, being hunted or fished too much and the changing climate.
ALSO READ: Marine conservation: Exploring facts about aquatic ecosystem, preservation efforts
A “Red List” is maintained by an organisation known as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It categorises species according to the degree of risk they face. Approximately 42,000 of the more than 150,000 species that are now on this list are seriously threatened with extinction. This includes creatures like birds (13 per cent), conifers (34 per cent), coral reefs (36 per cent), amphibians (41 per cent), rays and sharks (37 per cent) and mammals (27 per cent).
Experts believe that the rate at which animals are disappearing today is much faster (about 1,000 to 10,000 times faster) than it should be naturally. This means that half of all the species on Earth are facing the danger of extinction. Sadly, a big part of this problem is because of what humans are doing to the environment.
Endangered species conservation means doing things to keep these species safe. Humans are expected to protect the species’ homes by creating special areas where they can live without harm. Sometimes, we even help them have more babies in safe places and then put them back into the wild.
Saving endangered species is not an easy task. There are limited resources and problems like habitat loss and climate change keep happening. But humans keep trying because we care and we have had some success stories that give us hope.
Governments can make rules to protect these species. These rules stop people from doing things that could hurt them, like hunting or destroying their homes. It’s like having laws to keep everyone safe.
Here is a list of some species that have been tagged as “endangered” as of 2023:
- Amur Leopard
- Sumatran Orangutan
- Javan Rhino
- Hawksbill Sea Turtle
- Black Rhinoceros
- Bornean Pygmy Elephant
- Philippine Eagle
How to engage in endangered species conservation
Helping out animals that are in great need on this planet is the main goal of endangered species conservation. Making a genuine difference in the lives of these endangered creatures and plants requires methodical action and committed commitment, much like assisting a friend whose basic survival is at risk as they go through difficult circumstances. We take on the roles of defenders, supporters, and beacons of hope for them throughout this path.
ALSO READ: Exploring the different types, benefits of tree planting
Let us explore how we can embark on this vital mission to safeguard the future of these unique and precious beings.
1. Protecting their homes
The first and most crucial step in the journey of endangered species conservation is to secure a safe place for them to call home. Just like humans need a cosy and secure place to live, these endangered creatures also deserve a haven. This can be accomplished by establishing special areas known as reserves or parks where they can live without any interference or harm. Think of these reserves as protective zones, like a safe sanctuary for our endangered friends, where they can thrive without anyone bothering them. This act of creating safe zones is like giving them their own peaceful and secure neighbourhood in the wild.
2. Preventing harm to endangered species
Preserving these fragile species is an essential part of the protection of endangered species. Dissuading individuals from participating in activities that may endanger them is vital. Laws are like the safety guidelines that say “Don’t hurt them”. This entails halting activities like hunting, fishing and habitat degradation for these animals. By establishing a framework of protection that is essential to these species’ existence, these laws serve a critical role in guaranteeing their safety and well-being.
3. Assisting endangered species reproduction
For certain endangered species, reproduction can be a challenging task and that is where our assistance comes in. Just like giving a friend a helping hand when they need it, humans need to provide a little extra support to these species in safe places known as breeding centres. In these secure environments, we carefully nurture their reproduction processes. When the babies of the animals are ready to face the wild world, they will be released back into their natural habitats. It is akin to offering them a head start in life, ensuring their chances of survival are maximised as they begin their journey in the wild.
4. Raising awareness
Another crucial aspect of endangered species conservation is spreading the word and raising awareness. Humans need to make sure that they know about these endangered species and why they are important. When more people are aware of the challenges these species face, they can join in the efforts to help. It is akin to extending a helping hand to a friend in need but in this case, it is by spreading knowledge and encouraging others to get involved. When we all come together, we can make a more significant impact on safeguarding these precious creatures and the ecosystems they are a part of.
5. Reduce chemical use
It is important to cut down on the use of chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and too much fertiliser for plants. These chemicals can be harmful to wildlife and pollute our water sources.
When we use too many chemicals, they can end up in the environment and harm animals and plants. Bees, birds, and other creatures can be affected when they eat or drink from contaminated areas. Excessive chemicals in the soil can wash into rivers and streams when it rains, polluting the water. This pollution can harm aquatic life and even lead to deformities in animals like frogs.
Therefore, try to use fewer chemicals in your yard or farm for plants. Only use them when it is really necessary and follow the instructions carefully. If you have leftover chemicals, make sure to dispose of them properly. Do not pour them down the drain or toss them in the trash where they can end up back in the environment.
6. Teamwork matters
Working together is a vital part of saving endangered species. Teamwork makes us stronger, just like when friends come together to help someone in trouble.
When we join forces, we have more resources, ideas and skills to tackle complex conservation challenges. Different people bring unique knowledge and experiences, which can lead to better solutions for protecting endangered species.
Scientists from around the world work together to study and understand these species better. Many groups and organisations focus on saving endangered species. They pool resources and expertise to make a bigger impact.
7. Avoid buying products made from endangered species
Humans should as much as possible avoid purchasing items like ivory, coral or tortoise shells that are derived from endangered animals. Rather, opt to purchase exotic animals and plants from reliable vendors. Purchasing goods derived from threatened or endangered animals contributes to the illicit trade and the suffering of these animals. Already, a large number of them are in danger of being extinct. Because coral reefs are essential ecosystems, the environment and marine life suffer when they are destroyed for coral goods.
Choose substitutes that are not derived from threatened or endangered species. There are many sustainable and morally sound choices. If you genuinely want to purchase exotic plants or animals, be sure the supplier abides by ethical and conservation principles.
8. Participate in cleanup efforts
Engaging in cleanup efforts in critical habitats is a proactive way to protect endangered species and their environments. You can organise or join cleanup campaigns, working in coordination with local authorities or environmental organisations.
Check with local environmental organisations or government agencies to find cleanup events in your area. If there are no existing campaigns, consider organising one with friends, neighbours or community groups. Be sure to coordinate with local authorities for proper disposal of the collected waste.
9. Learn about local endangered species
Learn about the endangered species that live in your region and start your path towards endangered species protection. Talk about your newfound understanding with your friends and family since the first and most important step in safeguarding them is realising how important they are.
Learning about the species in your area connects you with the natural world right outside your door.
Numerous endangered species are limited to certain areas. Gaining knowledge about the local wildlife enables you to directly contribute to its preservation. Seek out local information on endangered animals. Conservation societies or local wildlife agencies can be excellent sources of information.
ALSO READ: Protect Nigeria’s wildlife: Efficient ways to conserve Nigeria’s wildlife