Steps for Conservation of Endangered Species
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The world harbors so many species. Scientists and researchers have discovered and identified about 1.6 million species, and it’s estimated that there are still 7.1 million undiscovered. There is a wide range of plants and animals within America alone, from deer and squirrels to cacti and the tiniest flowers
However, many of the plants and animals that once dominated ecosystems now suffer. Populations have dwindled over the years, and they’re facing extinction. An ecosystem’s biodiversity is crucial for it to thrive. When a plant, animal, insect or any other living thing becomes endangered, the ecosystem fails, and human life changes.
What Are Endangered Species?
Any species that has a high risk of extinction is considered endangered. While there are varying endangerment levels, they all point to eventual extinction if nothing is done to protect or conserve them or their habitat. That’s why so many environmentalists try to take steps for the conservation of endangered species.
Every species has a unique role in its ecosystem. For example, the gray wolf was on the endangered species list until October 2020. When the gray wolf became endangered, the entire habitat changed.
Gray wolves keep other populations, like deer and elk, in check. The carcasses left behind of their prey help to add nutrients back to the soil, and they provide food for other animals. Plus, they push away elk and deer herds so vegetation can regrow. These are just some of the things that occur with gray wolves — when they became endangered, elk populations grew, vegetation died, and other animals suffered from a lack of food.
Many other endangered species exist in the United States. Because one species can impact an ecosystem, the ones that are endangered must be conserved.
Endangered Species Act of 1973
In order to protect endangered species nationwide and internationally, the Endangered Species Act was set in 1973. It expresses concern that native plants and animals could be extinct if nothing is done to conserve or recover endangered species.
The act categorizes species whether they are endangered or threatened of becoming endangered. Once the species are identified, they go through a list of requirements as to whether they should be put on the list or not. States are given financial assistance to develop programs to conserve endangered populations.
Steps You Can Take to Help Endangered Species
While the Endangered Species Act covers a majority of endangered species, you can take part in protecting them as well. Below are some steps for conservation of endangered species that you can take to protect those animals and plants whose populations are threatened.
1. Know the Endangered Species in Your Region
One of the first things you can do to help endangered species is to become acquainted with the ones in your area. Learn about each species and how they are essential to the ecosystem.
Once you educate yourself about the endangered species near you, you can tell friends and family about them. The more people who are aware, the better they can protect the species.
2. Avoid Using Herbicides
Although herbicides and pesticides keep your plants and yard looking nice, they can be dangerous to native plants and animals. They can get washed away, entering streams where animals drink or getting in the soil where endangered plants grow.
Instead, use natural herbicides or begin composting with natural materials.
3. Leave Native Plants Alone
Native plants that are endangered may be appealing to the eye, and if you’re unaware that they’re endangered, picking just one flower could seriously hurt the population. These plants are important for attracting native insects to pollinate other plants as well.
If you aren’t sure if a plant you see is endangered, it’s best to leave it be.
4. Visit a Wildlife Refuge
A great way to admire and learn about endangered species is by visiting a wildlife refuge or park. The land is protected to provide an ecosystem where native species can thrive.
Protecting the places where endangered species live is one of the best ways to conserve those species. Most wildlife refuges will allow you to volunteer, so you can admire and appreciate endangered species even more.
5. Keep Your Neighborhood Safe for Wildlife
To protect endangered species in your neighborhood, specifically animals, do your part by making your home and neighborhood wildlife-friendly. Often, animals are attracted to homes because of open garbage cans or pet food left outside. Make sure your garbage cans are secure and feed pets inside.
Additionally, you can clean bird baths to prevent the spreading of disease, and you can add stickers or decals to windows so birds don’t fly into them. Tell your neighbors about these simple steps they can take as well.
6. Be Cautious While Driving
This is a rule you should follow all the time, but if you’re in a wooded area, slow down. Animals live in developed regions as well, so be on the lookout when you’re driving for wildlife near the roads.
Roads present a hazard to wildlife, and so many animals are killed due to vehicle collisions. You never know when an endangered species could be crossing the road.
7. Watch What You Purchase
Always be cautious of what you purchase when you go on a trip. Sometimes, souvenirs are made from endangered species. Common products with endangered animal materials include ivory, coral and tortoise shell.
If a product looks like it might be made from animal material, it’s best to avoid purchasing it.
Protect Endangered Species
Each time a species becomes endangered, other species suffer. By speaking out about endangered species conservation and doing your part to protect them, the populations can begin to thrive once again.
About the author
Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.