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As populations grow worldwide, humans encroach on wildlife habitats. The loss of forests, wetlands and unspoiled land – combined with careless attitudes toward animals – has made life hard for many species, many of which have become endangered. While various organizations are advocates for animals, there’s much more that individuals could do to make the world more hospitable for animals.
Following are 10 things you can do to improve the present and future for many wildlife in your area.
1. Educate yourself about the threats to wildlife in your area Every region has different wildlife facing different threats. Educate yourself on the threats facing wildlife in your area, so you know what action to take. In urban areas, a loss of habitat due to urban sprawl could be a pressing concern, and while you can’t stop city planners from building, you can certainly express your opinion about over-development.
2. Update your home to make it wildlife-friendly When wild animals wander in to urban environments, they can encounter hazards even in your home’s backyard. Take time to secure garbage with latching lids, or keep trash cans in a shed or contained space to prevent animals from being poisoned or injured by items in your trash.
3. Re-evaluate the chemical treatments used outside Chemical treatments of your lawn and garden can be dangerous to wildlife (and your house pets, too). Consider replacing those harsh chemicals with all-natural alternatives that get the job done without endangering animals.
4. Conserve utilities The more utilities consumed in your local area, the greater the amount of pollution put into the environment. Conserve utilities year-round to reduce your personal consumption and invest in the quality of wildlife habitats.
5. Buy locally When you buy locally and shop at farmer’s markets, you can rest assured that no gas-guzzling trucks or trains were involved in transporting your dinner across the country. Making wise choices – like drinking filtered water in your own home, rather than buying bottled water shipped from another time zone – will save you money and help reduce emissions that make the air hard to breathe for animals.
6. Get involved If you want to become an activist and advocate while funneling your passion into an organization, volunteer for local chapters of national conservation organizations. You’ll be doing work that you’re proud of and connecting with like-minded people.
7. Donate to wildlife refuges and programs Finances are always a point of struggle for many wildlife programs, and donations are always appreciated. Regardless of how much you can give, every little bit will help those organizations work on behalf of local wildlife.
8. Plant native flora in your garden Exotic plants may look pretty in your backyard, but they can complicate the natural ecosystem and could have a negative influence on local animals. Consider planting native flora in your garden. In addition to being safer for animals, native plants are easier to care for.
9. Prevent canine interference When your yard becomes overgrown, wild animals may try to move in. If you’ve ever heard horror stories about the family dog bringing a dead rabbit to the back door, you understand why it’s important to keep your yard free of brush or weeds that could house families of animals.
10. Slow down when driving – especially at night It’s not uncommon for wildlife to wander across roadways, especially at night. Drivers can protect wildlife by slowing down, and watching for wildlife in the roadways at all times. Ultimately, the battle to protect wildlife depends on the consistent efforts of dedicated advocates. It’s time to start viewing wildlife as a valuable asset in all of our communities, and the best way to start is by setting a good example.