Animal Welfare Institute Notes Some Things Citizens Can Do to Support Wildlife
As the world’s population has grown, the need to adapt to such growth has also increased.
Just 100 years ago, areas that were wild may have long been overrun with housing and urban development, leaving little room for local wildlife to settle.
According to the World Wildlife Federation’s Living Planet Report 2018, populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians declined by 60% in the approximately 40 years before the report was published. WWF notes that the main threats to wildlife populations, which include habitat loss and degradation, can be directly related to human activities.
If human activities have contributed to the decline of wild animal populations, then there is hope that human activities can stimulate the return of these populations as well. The Animal Welfare Institute notes that ordinary citizens can do the following to help local wildlife.
EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS. Voting is perhaps the easiest way to engage in the democratic process, but it is by no means the only way to make your voice heard. Write to local and national government officials and encourage them to support and / or introduce policies that protect wildlife.
INDIGENOUS SPECIES OF PLANTS. Native species of flowers, trees and shrubs provide food and shelter for local wildlife. When designing landscapes and gardens, talk to a local lawn and garden professional to find out which species are native to your area and do your best to plant those species. Gardeners can get frustrated when local wildlife eat plants or flowers that they have worked hard to plant, but good species can even regrow in the same season after being eaten by local wildlife.
REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF TURF IN YOUR YARD. A pristine lawn can be eye-catching, but lawns do not provide important food and shelter for local wildlife. Native flower beds, plants and flowers provide both aesthetic appeal and food for local wildlife.
EMBRACE A NEW APPROACH TO FALL CLEANING. Collecting and throwing away fallen leaves and dead flower heads is a fall tradition that many homeowners don’t look forward to. Fortunately, a wildlife-friendly approach to fall cleanup can benefit local animals and save homeowners the hassle of fall cleanup. For example, insectivorous birds can survive an entire winter by consuming insects that spend their winters on dead plant stems. Homeowners can speak with a local lawn and garden center to determine wildlife-friendly ways to approach fall cleanup in their yard.
VOLUNTEER WITH LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS.
Local environmental organizations are always in need of help, and these groups do tremendous work to protect and restore local ecosystems. Organizations can sponsor a multitude of programs that can benefit local wildlife, such as beach cleanups, invasive plant removal projects, and native plant planting days.
Taking action to protect local wildlife can be a great way to restore local ecosystems and wildlife populations.