What’s The Big Deal?
Some animals are overpopulated all over the world, such as cats and dogs. Where you live, you may see a lost dog or a cat roaming the streets. You may worry that they could be hit by a car. Fortunately, at least some of these animals have homes.
But wild animals do not have an owner. Their home is out in the wild. They rely on nature for their food and shelter. But it’s not always safe for them either!
Some of these wild animals become endangered or extinct. An endangered species is one whose numbers are so small that it is at risk of extinction. It can take years to bring a species back to normal population levels once they are endangered. If that does not occur, then extinction may happen. Extinction is when a species dies out forever, meaning there are none left on the earth.
While some of this happens naturally, much of it is now caused by humans! Around the world, our pollution, hunting and destruction of the forest threatens homes and food sources for wildlife.
This is a big problem! We need to be aware of the issues we create for animals and how we, especially you, can help!
Did You Know?
- There are over 3,000 endangered species in the world.
- 99% of currently threatened species are at risk from human activities.
- By 2025 as many as 20% of all animal species may disappear forever.
- As many as 30% to 50% of all species could be extinct by 2050.
- Freshwater ecosystems have over 100,000 species of plants and animals. They are one of the most endangered habitats in the world!
- The World Wildlife Organization protects wildlife such as pandas, whales, rhinos, polar bears, and big cats.
- Due to the excess of cats and dogs, approximately 2.7 million animals are put to sleep each year
Here are a few videos that discuss some of the issues that wild animals face:
What Can You Do?
While there are big problems, there are also many ways you can help! Even if you don’t live near the animals themselves! Here are some of the many ways you can take action to improve the lives of animals:
Do something small:
- Tell your friends! Share why you have decided to help animals and encourage them to do the same. Not sure where to start? Get a FREE Guide to Helping Animals!
- Stay involved! Keep up-to-date on all the news about animals who need your help!
- Buy cruelty-free! Take a stand against animal testing and buy only cruelty-free products. It’s easy! Look at the package and make sure it says it wasn’t tested on animals.
- Visit a national wildlife refuge, park, or other open space. Protected lands provide habitat to many native wildlife, birds, fish and plants. Get involved by volunteering at your local nature center or wildlife refuge.
Do something big:
- Volunteer at your local animal shelter! Whether you walk dogs, clean out water bowls, or hang signs, they have a job for you. You could make a big difference in the lives of homeless dogs, cats, and other animals!
- Many organizations and zoos have volunteer programs. You can help clean beaches or rescue wild animals.
- Adopt an animal! You and your classmates can adopt an animal from a wildlife conservation organization. You can help in their protection by adopting a wild animal, like a bison, or donating towards a wild place, like their prairie land.
- Write to your politicians to speak out against poaching, which is the illegal hunting of wild animals. (Americans can write a letter to the Secretary of State on the Wildlife Conservation Society)
Join a cause:
- Pledge to be fur-free! Even a bit of fur trim on mittens and boots caused tremendous suffering for an animal. Help protect animals by refusing to buy or wear any fur.
- Become a member of a cause you are passionate about! Do you love sea turtles, tigers, or other animals that live on our planet? WWF works with many to make lasting results.
Remember that you are not alone! Kids like you all around the world are making a difference and you can too! Here are some stories to inspire you to create a better tomorrow:
- Here you can see the power of writing about a cause to your representative. This boy saw shark finning as a problem and asked that a law be introduced to their state!
- Having a love for art and birds, a girl found a way to sell her bird drawings to help wildlife who were affected by an oil spill.
- At a young age, Mariah started a charity that recycled old cell phones to prevent them from going into landfills. This in return helped the gorilla’s environment.
- Click here to find more IMK stories on helping animals!
Our world needs different animals and types of habitats for them and us to live in. All around the world we cause animal extinction. But we can change it, here are a few ideas:
- We need to show kindness and respect towards people and animals! Peta Kids provides reasons you should have compassion toward animals.
- Learning is fun! National Geographic Kids shares videos, photos, and games to help you learn wildlife facts!
- Pet overpopulation is a big problem! PAWS shelters homeless animals, cares for sick and injured wildlife until they are ready to go back into the wild.
- Do you want to help animals? Volunteer with the Humane Society and help lead the way to a better future for all animals!
- If you would like to adopt, head over to The Shelter Pet Project to find a place near you!
We hope this was useful! If so, please tell your friends and family and together we can protect and restore species and their habitats.