One of the most tragic aspects of issues like climate change, deforestation, and poaching that face the world is the threat of extinction of endangered animals. Unfortunately, some of the world's most beloved animals are categorized as endangered and are in desperate need of protection. Every year it's estimated that 30,000 species go extinct across the planet. This is a shocking number to try and grasp.
Every time a species goes extinct the world loses something that it can never get back. The extinction of a species isn't just tragic because of its permanence, but on a larger scale, it limits biodiversity. Biodiversity is one of the most important characteristics of the natural world. Each habitat is composed of ecosystems that are intrinsically structured to utilize a wide breadth of diversity to function. When entire species begin to go extinct, it can have big consequences for natural habitats.
One of the ways that extinction of a species can have horrible consequences on an ecosystem is by upsetting the natural food chain. The food chain plays an important part in nature, as this allows species diversity to stay in balance. When it's upset, one species missing from the system can cause some big problems. For instance, predators keep other populations of species in check by naturally feeding on them. If the predator goes extinct, its source of food may grow uncontrollably and this could result in problems that could affect entire habitats.
Take for example the African elephant. This majestic creature is one of the most heavily poached creatures on the planet and is classified as endangered. One of the incredible things that the elephant does for the planet, is that it encourages the growth of large trees in the African forests. These larger trees play an important role in the global climate. If the elephant species were to go extinct, it's estimated that this would have a massive impact on climate change as it would affect African forests as a whole.
Poaching is one of the most heinous, and incredibly inhumane contributors to creating endangered species. If governments and independent organizations didn't take action against this horrible crime, certain extremely endangered species like the rhino might already have gone extinct. Helping to fight against the evils of poaching isn't just helping to keep species of animals alive for future generations to enjoy, but it's helping to keep the very planet itself healthy.
Poaching is a global issue as every continent and country deals with this problem to some extent. While the majority of poaching activity takes place in Africa and Asia, there are simple, easy ways that you can help join the fight to protect endangered animals. While it may seem overwhelming, and you may be wondering how you can make a difference, here are four easy ways you can help protect endangered animals.
Know What You Are Buying
The whole reason behind most of the modern-day poaching is the black market. Exotic animals and animal parts can be extremely valuable on the black market, and this is the main reason behind some of the worst poaching on the planet. Rhinos have been slaughtered by the thousands to the point of near extinction simply because their horns are seen as symbols of status and power. Elephants are targeted by poaching because of the incredible, international demand for their precious ivory tusks.
So ensuring that you know you are not purchasing items made from poached animals, or dealing with companies that deal with poaching is a great way to help endangered creatures. Ask before you buy, and you can help to save species!
Support Organizations That Fight Poaching
Some of the worst poaching activity on the planet takes place in Southern Africa and different countries in Asia. While it may be impossible to physically assist anti-poaching efforts in this region, finding organizations that are on the ground working to stop this crime isn't hard. Donating to non-profit organizations that are helping rid the world of poaching is a powerful way to help endangered animals.
Poaching is a crime that happens all over the world. Educating yourself on how poaching affects the region of the world you live in is a great way to find out how you can help protect locally endangered creatures.
One of the most effective ways to stop poaching is to have government forces recognize this act as a crime and crack down on it. If you aren't content with the level of effectiveness of your local, state, or even national government is taking with an issue, then petition for change. Acting as an advocate for endangered species is a powerful way to get governments to take this issue seriously.
Whether you are donating to a foundation that helps protect endangered species or educating yourself and your neighbors, every bit helps. No matter how it looks, getting involved in the fight against poaching will help protect endangered species, and hopefully prevent further species extinction.