Species become endangered when their numbers decrease in the wild. Destruction of their habitat, hunting them and illegal trade in animals or their parts all contribute to the extinction of endangered species. Many organisations around the world work in a not-for-profit basis to protect vulnerable species from extinction.
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Fighting illegal wildlife trade, and developing campaigns to protect whales, elephants and other endangered species are some of the goals of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW, an international charity with headquarters in the US. With 1.2 million supporters worldwide, IFAW engages communities, government leaders, and organisations around the world in the fight to protect endangered species. Overall, the charity's mission is to create a better world for animals.
People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)
Founded in Britain in 1977, the People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has been helping to protect endangered species in the U.K. and throughout the world. Projects involve the protection of local beetle species, such as the stag, noble chafer and violet click beetles, as well as dormice, hedgerows, otters and other mammals, whose number have been declining due to the loss of their habitats. PTES owns and manages two nature reserves in Britain, with ancient semi-natural woodlands that are home to the red squirrels and rare bats.
African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)
Since the 1960s, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has helped to ensure the continued existence of some African endangered species, such as the elephant, the mountain gorilla, the rhinoceros and the lion. AWF works closely with African communities to protect local fish stocks, which can also become endangered through the practice of overfishing. The charity also trains park rangers, teaches farmers to grow coffee in an environmentally friendly manner, and educates local schoolchildren about the importance of their wildlife.
Renctas, or the Brazilian Network to Combat Wild Animal Trafficking, has worked to protect Brazilian endangered species since 1999. In 2001, the charity published the first National Report on Wild Animal Trafficking, which exposed the main traffic routes and trafficker's actions. According to Renctas, the wildlife illegal trade is the third greatest illicit activity worldwide, after weapons and drug trafficking. International collectors seek rare and endangered species, such as the hyacinthine and lear's macaws, which can cost thousands of dollars in the black market. The U.S. is the world's greatest wildlife consumer, followed by Europe and Asia, reports Renctas.