How You Can Help Protect the World’s Wildlife

December 4th is World Wildlife Conservation Day. It began in 2012 when the former United States’ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put out a call to raise awareness and promote conservation of species worldwide. Illegal wildlife trafficking remains a serious problem throughout the world, and there’s a lot you can do to help stop it.

Why the World’s Wildlife Needs Your Help

The illegal trade of wildlife is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar business. It is often run by very large criminal networks that also traffic illegal drugs, weapons and people. They may even potentially be linked to terrorist organizations.

Illegal wildlife trade can include living plants and animals, or various products made from them, such as skins, leather products, ornamental plants, souvenirs, food, medicines, pets or even exotic timber from threatened species of trees.

Endangered species of plants and animals are often the most targeted due to their high economic value. This pushes threatened populations even closer to the brink of extinction. It also significantly impacts a country’s natural resources and tourism potential.

Despite conservation efforts over the past few decades, illegal wildlife poaching is increasing in many parts of the world. In 2011, an estimated 23 metric tons of illegal ivory was seized. This represents about 2,500 elephants killed for their tusks.

Another concerning example is rhinoceros poaching in South Africa, which rose from 13 rhinos killed in 2007 to 1,175 rhinos killed in 2015. That’s an increase of over 9000 percent. This increase is largely driven by a rumor started in certain Asian countries that rhino horn can cure cancer. This is not supported by any scientific evidence, but the price of rhino horn now rivals the price of gold. Rhino horn is worth up to $100,000 US per kilogram, and one horn can weigh one to three kilograms.

The World Wildlife Fund considers wildlife crime the largest direct threat to many of the world’s most endangered species today. It is only second to habitat destruction as a threat to the survival of species globally.

What You Can Do

Volunteer. Give your time to help out a conservation organization. A quick internet search will show you some key organizations that work towards wildlife preservation in your home country and internationally.

Related: How Volunteering With Animals Will Help You Live Longer

Know your pets. If you’re considering getting an exotic pet, do your research to make sure it was not taken illegally from the wild. And regardless of where an exotic animal came from, keep in mind that many exotic pets take very specialized care and may not be appropriate to keep as pets at all.

Advocate. Take opportunities to share what you know about illegal wildlife trafficking. Tell your friends, write a letter to a newspaper, or speak to your local members of government. You can also join an advocacy group, such as the World Wildlife Fund’s Stop Wildlife Crime campaign.

Stay informed. Destruction of wildlife is caused by more than just illegal poaching. For example, the palm oil industry has been linked to wide spread deforestation and habitat destruction in order to make space for oil palm tree plantations. Palm oil is used in various products, such as baked goods, cosmetics and cleaning agents. If you see this ingredient in any product, check if it’s ethically grown palm oil before you buy it.

Avoid products made from wildlife. Don’t be tempted to buy souvenirs or other products you find while traveling unless you trust the seller. Ask questions about where any animal or plant-based item was sourced.

Start a Petition. Start a Care2 petition targeting your local officials or the palm oil industry and get support from fellow Care2 members working to support wildlife conservation. Or sign existing petitions that are taking a stand for animals and the environment.

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97 comments

Sonia M
Sonia M6 days ago

Good article thanks for sharing

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Jeramie D
Jeramie D25 days ago

We MUST protect the world's wildlife.

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Jerome S
Jerome S3 months ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Ven3 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Jerome S
Jerome S7 months ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven7 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Jerome S
Jerome S7 months ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Ven7 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Chen Boon Fook
Chen Boon Fook8 months ago

thanks

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Chun Lai T
Chun Lai T8 months ago

tks

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