Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How can you make a difference for wildlife?

This wombat was injured and has been living at the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra ever since. Wombats are often hit by motor vehicles. Drive slowly in areas populated with wildlife and if an animal is hit, stop (safely) and check. Some may have young in their pouch. Veterinary hospitals and wildlife sanctuaries usually admit injured wildlife.
Do you live in close proximity to wildlife? What is your experience with wildlife? The single biggest threat to wildlife populations is habitat destruction. That’s something for which humans are solely responsible (with the exception of the odd natural disaster), and today – World Wildlife Day – is a day to think about that.

There are a few small things you can do to help wildlife:

Take 3: when you hit the beach, take three pieces of rubbish with you and dispose of it appropriately so it doesn’t become marine debris. (You don’t have to hit the beach to do this – you can do it when you walk the dog or stroll to the local shops). http://www.take3.org.au/

Avoid palm oil: Palm Oil is found in almost half of supermarket products though due to inadequate labelling you wouldn’t necessarily know. Rainforest habitat is cleared to make room for palm oil plantations, ruining the environment and threatening the very existence of species that live within it. Orang utans are just one species that have been affected by the world’s insatiable appetite for palm oil. Read about it here.

You can write to manufacturers of products containing palm oil here.

winnie the wombat
Winnie the wombat eats some grass.
Avoid selfies with captive wildlife: Just about anyone who loves animals would be tempted to take a photo opportunity with a tiger cub or lion. I’ve done it. But around the world, these “cute” animals are often taken from their mothers prematurely, treated poorly and disposed of when they are adults. Check out Care for the Wild’s No Photoscampaign and visit their page on responsible and animal-friendly tourism.

Protect animals in your own backyard: keeping cats indoors (especially at night), providing a water source, planting a wildlife garden, avoid use of poisons and pesticides and driving slowly at night are all was to help protect urban wildlife. For more ideas, see Paul Guernsey’s top ten ideas on helping animals in your own backyard here. If you're smack bang in the middle of a suburb don't get too enthusiastic about actively attracting wildlife - remember they then have to contend with pets, motor vehicles, powerlines and other hazards in the vicinity. It might be worth considering other ways you can help, like supporting a local wildlife rescue organisation or nature conservancy. 

road sign
These signs are around for a very good reason.
Consider how you can protect the environment: wildlife corridors, the establishment and maintenance of national parks, protected sanctuaries and environments, reductions in pollution are all “big” steps and require more than minor adjustments in the lifestyle of one individual. 

wombat eating grass
The simple things. This girl loves a bit of grass and a very long sleep under a log.
There’s a well-known human tendency not to act if we believe that our actions will not make a difference. But such changes require lots of people to act in the faith that their actions matter. Today is the day to consider not just wildlife but protecting the places you love (see here).

What have you done or what are you planning to do to help wildlife? Please drop us a line or comment on our facebook page here