March 3rd, World Wildlife Day, is dedicated to raising awareness to the world’s wild fauna and flora and the multitude of benefits that their conservation provides to the Earth.
Without wildlife, our ecosystem simply could not be sustained. As we are now in the world’s 6th mass extinction, it is crucial to understand how fauna play an important role in our daily environment.
HOW DOES WILDLIFE EFFECT THE PLANET
One-third of the world’s food depends on pollination. Almost all vegetation, wild or grown by humankind, requires natural pollinators such as insects, birds, and certain mammals in order to reproduce. But our food isn’t the only thing that is benefited by wildlife. Let’s dive into certain creatures and how they aid our planet:
- Prairie Dogs – As a keystone species, the burrows prairie dogs build provide shelter for numerous other species of animals including foxes, rabbits and snakes! They also help to aerate the soil and grow more nutritious grasses for other wildlife to eat.
- Ruffed Lemurs – Ruffed lemurs are the world’s largest pollinator! The pollen sticks to their fur or ruff around their head and they are able to transfer pollen from flower to flower as they move throughout their native habitat in Madagascar.
- Cockroaches – Cockroaches are decomposers, which means they eat dead and decaying plant and animal matter which makes them nature’s recyclers! A cockroach’s digestive system breaks down decaying plant or animal matter and when they poop, it returns important nutrients (like minerals, nitrogen, carbon, and phosphorus) to the soil. That allows living plants to use those nutrients to grow, animals to eat those plants, and continues the “circle of life”!
- Beavers – Beavers help combat climate change by gnawing and damming, reducing flooding and wildfire damage, preserving fish populations, and conserving freshwater reservoirs. According to science.org, A study also suggests that beaver dams and the sediments corralled behind them sequester carbon, temporarily keeping greenhouse gasses containing the element out of the atmosphere.
Unfortunately, these species, along with many others, face difficulties such as illegal trade, deforestation, pollution, and climate change.
This means that the choices we make, or don’t make today, entirely determine the outcome of the future of our wildlife (and ourselves) so we must strive to educate ourselves, and our children of the impact wildlife has on our daily lives to ensure a future of any kind.
WAYS YOU CAN HELP SAVE THE WILDLIFE
- Education – Teach those around you to admire wildlife, especially children. People will protect what they love. Bringing them to zoos and museums are great ways to educate them on these matters by trained and professional staff, however, this could be as simple as reading them books about wildlife! Many zoos offer educational programs both in person and remote such as Zoo to Zoom offered by Tanganyika Wildlife Park making it easy to provide this knowledge anywhere in the world!
- Buy responsibly – Whether this be by purchasing clothing that is not made from animals, to buying “green”, becoming knowledgeable about what you are purchasing, where it comes from, and how it will be disposed of are all steps to reducing emissions and even illegal pet trade.
- Recycle – Do you ever consider where things go once you discard them? Recycling helps wildlife by eliminating the risk of animals consuming recyclable waste or getting trapped and injured by garbage. We have all seen the unsettling graphic images of sea life entangled in man-made garbage – don’t let it be yours.
- Donate – Donating to organizations that have structured education and conservation programs is one of the best ways to help save wildlife. For example, when donating to Tanganyika Wildlife Park, all proceeds go towards supporting exotic and endangered animal conservation and education efforts locally (via Tanganyika Wildlife Park) and around the world.
A world without wildlife simply does not exist. A world without wildlife, is a world without you.
This World Wildlife Day, make the choice to be a part of the solution – not the problem.
About the Author: TWP Marketing Content Captain, Chelsey Schartz, is a Kansas native who spends her free time volunteering with and photographing wildlife and traveling whenever possible. With a background in management, graphic design, and photography, she shares her love for wildlife conservation through all things content creation. Her favorite animals are sloths and owls and she wouldn’t be seen near one without her camera!