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How to Help Endangered Species

Melanie has a BS in physical science and is in grad school for analytics and modeling. She also runs a YouTube channel: The Curious Coder.

Manatees share the same fate as green sea turtles.

Manatees share the same fate as green sea turtles.

Protecting endangered species is important in maintaining biodiversity on our beautiful planet. There is a wide range of organizations, nature reserves, and zoos that work in keeping endangered animals from going extinct.

As we modernize, we're able to offer more benefits to animals (such as "green" technology), but we're also doing more damage (chemical spills, tearing down forests, etc.)

Because of the aforementioned pitfalls, preventing extinction is weighing on the shoulders of every individual, not just a few small organizations.

Fortunately, there is a lot that just one person (like you) can do to make a huge difference! The following is a list of the things that you (and your friends) can do to help species in your area and throughout the world.

Polar bear populations are an important indicator of climate change.

Polar bear populations are an important indicator of climate change.

Introduce Native Plants to Your Garden

This may seem like a small step, but planting native flora can really help local animal species. Birds and butterflies in your area love to feed on local plants. In fact, they've been feeding on these types of plants for thousands of years!

This will attract more birds and butterflies to your garden (which makes it extra pretty) and could save their lives. Plants meant for another region of the world could actually be harmful to some animals!

If you would like to keep non-native plants in your garden, destroy their seeds so they don't get carried off by birds (or the wind) and sprout somewhere else. Some non-native plants can get become invasive and push out the native flora.

The northern spotted owl is a threatened species

The northern spotted owl is a threatened species

Green sea turtles have been around for 100 million years, but in recent years have been threatened and made endangered by humans.

Green sea turtles have been around for 100 million years, but in recent years have been threatened and made endangered by humans.

Eat Organic (and Don't Use Chemical Pesticides)

Pesticides do a lot of damage to animal populations and they're also unhealthy for you! Avoid buying fruits and vegetables grown on farms that use pesticides by buying organic food (or even growing your own!)

Organic food does have a few downfalls, it's a bit more expensive, doesn't look as pretty, and goes bad more quickly. However, the tradeoff is that they taste way better (the difference in flavor is way noticeable), they're healthier for you, and they're way better for the environment than the alternative.

If you grow your own fruits and veggies, you can make your own environmentally safe pesticides at home. This will save you money and keep insects off your veggies. And, of course, you'll want to fence off your plants to keep hungry squirrels and rabbits off your crop.

Pandas are threatened by the clearing of forests for farming and housing.

Pandas are threatened by the clearing of forests for farming and housing.

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Invite Wildlife Into Your Yard

You don't exactly have to be Snow White and invite deer, skunk, and rabbits into your yard, but make your backyard more friendly to local wildlife. Put up a bird feeder and fill it with seeds from local plants (see the first section on native plants.)

If you have hummingbirds in your area, get a feeder and buy nectar (or grow flowers that hummingbirds like.)

If you'd like to attract a lot of pretty native birds, set up a bird bath. You'll see colorful birds playing there in no time!

Are you a cat owner? Keep your cats in the house. Not only is this safer for your kitty, but birds really don't like to hang out in a yard belonging to a cat.

Set up a squirrel feeder. This will give squirrels something to eat other than the bird seed. You can try buying a tricky bird feeder that makes it difficult for squirrels to snack on bird seed, but for whatever reason, they always seem to figure out those tricks. Your best bet is to just feed the squirrels their own, separate meal.

Learn About Local Endangered Species

The largest impact you can make for endangered species is learning about (and doing work for) endangered species in your area.

If you live in the United States, you can find out which species are endangered by searching for your county in the database at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program.

To find out ways to help, you can contact your area's Department of Natural Resources or contact your nearest university's biology department.

This cute, little bird (Piping Plover) is endangered in my area. What plants and animals are endangered where you live?

This cute, little bird (Piping Plover) is endangered in my area. What plants and animals are endangered where you live?

Make Your Voice Heard

Get your message out to more people. This can make an enormous difference, because you may inspire others to get involved.

  • Tell friends and family about endangered species and enlist their help. The more the merrier!
  • Start a group that aims to protect areas that are near and dear to the residents of your town.
  • Write newspaper editorials about the environment to engage a large audience.
  • Arrange a meeting with the local radio station -- you might even get to make your message heard over the airwaves.
  • Set up a booth at a festival to teach fair-goers how they can make a positive impact.
The only place in the world Siberian Tigers live in the wild (marked in red.)

The only place in the world Siberian Tigers live in the wild (marked in red.)

Wildlife Organizations That Need YOUR Help

  • The Sierra Club
  • African Wildlife Foundation
  • World Wildlife Fund

Join An Organization

There are several organizations that would love to have your help! Write down a list of the types of activities you would like to get involved in. This will help you find an organization where you can make the biggest impact.

You can join an organization in your area (like a college club or the area's zoo) or you can get involved with a larger international organization.

While working with an organization, you can meet others who share similar interests and have a lot of fun working toward a common goal.

Being a part of a wildlife organization is a really awesome way to get involved in an issue you care about and make a huge difference. I work with Greenpeace and wouldn't trade the experience for anything!

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Melanie Palen

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