Endangered and threatened species of animals provide many benefits to our society. In the Endangered Species Act of 1973, Congress described these creatures as being "of aesthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people." Saving such animals from extinction is a high priority, and while large-scale initiatives are undoubtedly important, you can help by taking immediate and decisive action in your own home and community. (see Reference 3)
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Volunteer at a wildlife refuge or nature centre near you. Rebuild habitats--replanting trees is a simple step you can take--as habitat loss is a major threat to endangered species. Report poachers who are hunting and killing endangered species for their own benefit.
Educate yourself and others about your local wildlife, particularly what makes it interesting, important and worth protecting. Research threats facing your local wildlife on the Internet or at the library, and share your findings with others. Knowing the dangers these animals face and how to protect them is the first step toward keeping them from extinction.
Refuse to buy products made from endangered or threatened species, and refuse to conduct business with individuals involved in illegal wildlife trade. Avoid anything containing ivory, coral, tortoise shells, crocodile skin, and fur from tigers, polar bears, sea otters and other endangered species. Steer clear of medicinal products with ingredients derived from rhinoceroses, tigers and black bears. Since endangered animals are killed to provide these consumer products, purchasing these products means contributing to the continued decline of these animal populations.
Avoid the use of herbicides and pesticides that are hazardous to wildlife. These products collect in soil, do not degrade easily and build up in the food chain so that animals can be poisoned by their poisoned prey. Even if a particular endangered species does not feed on plants from your yard, it can still be poisoned by consuming smaller animals that do. Find natural alternatives to these products.
Reduce your driving speeds to reduce the threat roads present to endangered animals in developed areas.
Protect wildlife habitats for animals in your area and endangered animals everywhere. Donate money to organisations that are taking steps to protect these territories all over the world. Start a petition to spread the word and show support, or sign an initiative to provoke new legislation to save animals. Vote on legislation that protects these habitats, write to the media voicing your opinion on this issue, and contact politicians to request their help in proposing or supporting legislation that protects endangered species.
Make your home and yard wildlife-friendly. Plant native vegetation outdoors to attract native wildlife which currently competes with invasive species in many areas. This ensures local wildlife--including any endangered or threatened species in your neighbourhood--a habitat and a food source. (see References 1 and 2)
Reduce domestic threats to endangered animals. Secure lids on your garbage to keep wildlife from consuming things that are dangerous to them, lock your pet doors at night to avoid attracting other animals, and adorn your windows with decals to prevent birds from colliding with the glass. Sharing a habitat with endangered species requires that we protect them from the threats we present. (see References 1 and 2)
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