Why Does Wildlife Need Our Help?
Today scientists believe that at least one unique species of life disappears from the earth every day. Biologists predict that unless we take drastic measures to change our practices which harm the Earth and its other inhabitants, that we will lose between one quarter and one third of all this planet's species of plants and animals within 500 years from today.
Some species of life is threatened on each of the seven continents today. The Giant Panda, the Nile Crocodile, and the Grizzly Bear name only a few. Even our oceans are suffering and life in them including, the Blue Whale and the Manatee, are in danger of becoming extinct.
However, with our careful conservation of resources as well as our active participation in assisting those species which are currently most threatened, we can change the destructive patterns we've established. By changing mankind's habits we can save many species for our future enjoyment and benefit, as well as for the benefit of planet Earth.
Helping Our Wildlife
- Report any wild species which has an abnormal growth. Missing eyes, legs, extra limbs or other abnormalities should be reported. There is a growing concern about the abnormal growth of frogs in the United States now. Record the type of animal you saw, as well as when and where you discovered it.
- Support your local zoo, assuming that it treats its animals well and collects its animals in a legal manner.
- Before you buy a pet, such as some birds and fish, be sure that they were not taken illegally from the wild.
- Dispose of plastic items properly. Cut slits in the rings of six pack drink holders to avoid choking or entangling wildlife.
- Do not participate in balloon launches. The balloons can be swallowed by animals which die as a result.
- Donít buy products if animals are killed to make the item. Tuna which is not dolphin safe, ivory products, or rhinoceros horn products, and fur clothing all kill animals.
- Place a bell on your cat if it hunts outdoors. This allows some of its prey to be warned before it can capture and kill it.
- Support groups which attempt to maintain natural habitats for animals.
- Plant a tree to provide nesting places for wild creatures.
The arctic and antarctic are basically the two last great wildernesses of the world. Like so many other regions, however, they are always in danger of being exploited for the wealth of their natural resources. Large amounts of fish, krill, iron, coal, oil, and other resources remain unexploited.
Man is currently exploiting the rain forests, which up until recent history, remained as another wilderness. Stopping the destruction of the rain forests and protecting our remaining bits of the unblemished wild takes each person's help. By becoming aware and practicing personal habits which help these areas people begin the long process of helping our wildlife.
The rain forests contain more than half the species of plants and animals on earth and scientists believe that we have discovered only 10% of the species which live in the rain forests. When we destroy the rain forests we destroy their natural habitat.
More than 200 species of trees can grow in just a few acres of the rain forest.
We regularly use products of the rain forest including bananas, pineapples, rubber, medicine, gum, chocolate, vanilla, cashews, Brazil nuts, and some perfumes.
Rain forests are being cut down at about 100 acres per minute. Already half of the original rain forests have been destroyed.
Some of the trees are cut for wood which is used for furniture, but much of the land which is slashed and burned is used to raise beef cattle.
Tropical soil is quite thin, and therefore poor for farming and agricultural uses.
The slash and burn method used to create farmland in the rain forest leaves ash which is high in nutrients for crops. However, it erodes quickly so the farmland can only be used for a few years. More of the forests must then be destroyed to replace the lost farmland.
The Arctic and Antarctic
Many species of animals live solely in the arctic area. These creatures have learned to survive in a harsh region that most species can not tolerate.
Much of the arctic area is considered desert, because it lacks rain and snow fall. Winds sweep away what little snow there is. The arctic and Antarctic regions are lands which rely on a delicate balance.
While polar areas are less polluted than many other places, because of the fragile balance of life in these regions, any pollution is generally much more devastating. For instance, oil spilled into the icy water, such as the oil from the Exxon Valdez tanker in 1989, takes many more years to break up and dissipate than in warmer water.
Wildlife can become trapped in oil spills. Because animals in these cold regions are very often aquatic in nature any water pollution is harmful. Unable to breathe or swim properly these trapped animals usually die.
Many species of animals living in the arctic area share a common enemy, humans. Sometimes hunted or displaced by people these creatures dwindle in number as their natural living and breeding grounds are lost.
In Antarctica, penguinsí breeding areas have been dug up to build airstrips. In the arctic the lynx, moose, Siberian tiger, peregrine falcon, arctic fox, caribou, and wolf are just some of the creatures which suffer at the hands of mankind.
Books for Children
- Arctic Babies by Kathy Darling - Appropriate for ages 6-10. This book, with upclose photographs, contains a wealth of fascinating information about the arctic region and the animals that live there. (amazon.com has it)
- Rain Forest by Helen Cowcher - Bright pictures and simple text interest children as young as 3. However the message concerning the destruction of the rain forests is more appropriate for children 6 and older. (amazon.com has it)
- Will We Miss Them? Endangered Species by Alexandria Wright - A fascinating book which describes fourteen endangered animals and includes a brief discussion about the threat to their lives. Interesting for children ages 5-10. (amazon.com has it)
- There's An Owl In The Shower by Jean Craighead George - An intriguing book which shows both sides of the issue about endangered animals. Appropriate for children 8-14. (amazon.com has it)
- 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth by Michele Montez - An extremely informative book offers suggestions for helping care for the earth as well as inspiring children to show concern. Appropriate for children 8 and older. (amazon.com has it)
- Mother Earth by Tom Chapin, CD - 1 disc - This has some wonderful songs which teach appreciation and caring for the earth in a fun and positive way. Appropriate for children 1 and older. (amazon.com has it) Also available on audio cassette (amazon.com has it)
- The National Wildlife Federation.
- Kids' Planet by Defenders of Wildlife - the teacher's section has a wolf curriculum to download. This site has a great "Get The Facts" section with interesting information about animals all over the world, suggestions to help in the "defend it" area, and more.
- Resource Development And Wildlife, Impact and mitigation of human activities - This site has information on recreation, industrial and agricultural development, forestry and more.
- Frogs, by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, has some nice information about frogs and for a short wait you can click on and hear the calls of many different frogs.
Helping our earth as a whole is the best way to help our wildlife. Becoming aware of the problems, seeking solutions to those problems, and putting solutions in action is the best way to help the many species living on our planet.
- To learn about some of the problems facing our world go to our Man's Effects Upon Earth page.
- To learn more ways to help the earth check out our Earth Day Every Day page.
- Our Animals Index page lists animals both alphabetically and by habitat.