WILDLIFE IN PERIL
Each animal has an inherent value and each species plays a vital role in the ecosystem in which it lives. The wildlife with which we share our world are not only sources of beauty and enjoyment
— they are also integral to our strength and survival. As species are lost,
we threaten the fundamental natural processes on which our quality of life depends.
Today, the survival of wildlife is jeopardized by the loss of habitat, climate change, over-hunting and over-fishing, the introduction of non-native species , and the capture of wild animals
and fish for the pet trade, research, entertainment, or other industries. Once a population of animals is reduced by one or more of these human activities, it may be unable to withstand natural limiting factors in the wild — such as predation, limited food supply,
or disease — that it might otherwise have survived.
The ongoing loss of habitat is the number one cause of species decline. Development, suburban sprawl, overpopulation, pollution, logging, mining, grazing, irresponsible corporate farming, dam building and other human activities are destroying habitat that
is the life support system for animals, plants, and ultimately for people.
Check out these sites to learn more:
- Endangered Species Handbook
We are losing species at a rate not seen since the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago. Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson estimates this current rate of extinction is 10,000 times faster than what's "normal" or "natural." He projects that within the next 25 years one of every five species will die out, unknown to our grandchildren.
- Threats to Biodiversity
Species are becoming extinct at a rate many times faster than ever before.
And unlike the five previous extinction spasms, this one isn't being caused by environmental change, but by the actions of our own species, Homo sapiens.
- Habitat Loss and Fragmentation
Human population growth and the consumption of open space and resources destroy habitat required by wildlife for survival. Human development can disturb whole ecosystems, often irreparably.
SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIES
Check out the informative fact sheets from the organizations below to learn more about the various species — both endangered and thriving — that share our planet.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Saving Biodiversity — What You Can Do
How can a single individual or group make a difference? Everyday commitments to lessen one's impact on the Earth are a meaningful way to start. Learn what you can do in your everyday activities to help protect the environment and lower your ecological footprint — at home or at work, in your backyard or in your community.
- Make your voice heard! Contact government and corporate leaders to express
your support for wildlife using the convenient action alerts from the World Wildlife Fund and the National Wildlife Federation.
- Urban Wildlife — Our Wild Neighbors
As more urban development encroaches on previously untamed areas, more human-wildlife conflicts result. Increase your
understanding and appreciation for wildlife species commonly found in cities and towns, and learn about
nonlethal means for resolving conflicts between wildlife and humans.
- Backyard Wildlife Habitat
Join the tens of thousands of people around the country who have put out the welcome mat for wildlife in their backyards, schools, workplaces and elsewhere. Creating a wildlife sanctuary can be as easy as placing bird feeders on your apartment balcony or building a brush pile in your backyard.
- Suggestions for Driving with Wildlife in Mind
Millions upon millions of wild animals die on our nation's highways every year.
Some scientists estimate that humans kill more wild animals with their cars than with any other instrument, including guns.
- Found an Injured or Orphaned Animal?
How can you tell if an animal needs your help or should be left alone? Here are some general signs to look for.