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Hi Beans here and as a dog I love and look out for all the animals in the world. Sadly some of my friends are having a tough time and are critically endangered. This means their population is very low and at risk of extinction which could result in there being no more left in the wild!
This is why we've teamed up with our friends at Wild Wonderful World to help spread the word on how you can help to highlight some of the world's most endangered animals.
HOW DO ANIMALS BECOME ENDANGERED?
Lots of things can lead to animals becoming endangered, ranging from them being hunted, to humans destroying their natural habitat. This could be through commercial activities such as deforestation and poaching or wider global issues like climate change.
The IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) continue to produce the world's most comprehensive and trusted guide to the world's most endangered animals and plants. They have a scale that each living thing is categorised against from Least Concern all the way up to Extinct. Take a look to the right to find out more.
Extinct - No known individual is left in the world.
Extinct In The Wild - No longer living in the wild.
Critically Endangered - Extremely high risk of extinction.
Endangered - Very high risk of extinction.
Vulnerable - High risk of extinction.
Near Threatened - Possible risk of extinction.
Least Concern - Little risk of extinction. Numbers high.
Find out about some of the world's most endangered animals by clicking the buttons below.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSERVATION
An expert guide from Michelle at Wild Wonderful World
A wild hello to you from South Africa! Just like Beans, I too love and look out for animals in the world. It is sad to think that some animals are endangered, but their disappearance from our planet is far more important than you may think.
Every creature on Earth – every plant, tree, animal, bird, insect, even fungus, plays an important role in our ecosystem and mother nature has them all linked through many different food webs. The disappearance of just one species from a food web can have a huge impact further down the line. That’s why if an animal becomes extinct, it throws the web off balance!
Take elephants, for example. Elephants eat grass, plants, trees and fruits. They play an extremely important role in keeping the balance between these different types of vegetation, because they push over trees to eat, which gives grasses space to grow. If elephants were poached to extinction, the trees would grow very quickly into a forest and there would be no more space for the grasses to grow. The animals who only eat grass, such a buffalos and zebras, would then have no food to eat, so will either die from starvation or leave to find food elsewhere. That, in turn, would affect lions (who eat buffalos and zebras), and that would make the lions disappear! It goes further still. The birds who use grass to weave their nests would be affected and the plants that rely on elephants to disperse their seeds, would also go extinct. So when we talk about conservation, we talk about doing our best maintain the natural balance between all the animals, plants and ecosystems.
There are many other reasons too why we care about the conservation of wildlife.
Here are a few of the important ones:
1. We rely on nature for our food! Birds and insects, such as bee’s play an important role in pollinating the crops that we eat (fruit and vegetables). Did you know that 90% of the world’s apples are dependent on honey-bee pollination? And it is not just crops - if fish in the ocean become extinct, there would be no more fish & chips!
2. Many of our medicines come from plants and animals and help us cure deadly illnesses and disease. Penicillin, the most widely used anti-biotic in the world, is made from plant extracts. If wildlife is not preserved today, we could be in great danger in the future.
3. Wildlife give us important clues about our environment – we call them indicators. Frogs for example, help us understand more about our water, which is vital for survival! Frogs are very sensitive to chemicals and so if the frogs die, it indicates to us that our water is contaminated and not safe to drink.
4. There are species that exist specially to keep our environment clean! Vultures and scavengers such as hyenas, eat dead animals and prevent the spread of disease from rotting carcasses.
5. Wildlife supports many rural communities, as well as the economy. Here in Africa, families come from all around the world to see the famous Big 5 – Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhino and Buffalo! They stay in lodges, eat in restaurants and help support local schools. If the Big 5 were to go extinct, no one would visit and the local people would lose their jobs.
6. Nature makes us happy. Spending time outdoors, hiking in the mountains, fishing in streams and watching animals is fun! Life without nature would be a very sad life indeed. It is up to us to ensure that wildlife exists for our lifetime and for future generations.
HOW YOU CAN HELP...
As you can see, each creature on earth plays a special and unique role, and is just as important, if not more important, than us humans! It is our great responsibility to protect the environment and conserve wildlife. So how can YOU help?
Advocate for Wildlife! Help us spread the message about protecting endangered species by telling your friends and family how important wildlife is for our planet.
Rhino horn is keratin (the same as your finger nails!) and does not cure any illnesses or disease – help us save rhino’s by telling as many people as possible - we need to change belief’s and reduce the demand for rhino horn.
Don’t buy ivory products – save the elephants!
Don’t support the exotic pet trade, e.g. tortoises, birds (African Grey Parrot), primates, chameleons, etc – they are poached from the wild.
Hold a fundraiser to collect money and donate it to wildlife sanctuaries or projects that help save wildlife.
Volunteer with wildlife projects and give your side to help save animals.
Go on holiday to see animals in the wild and support game reserves that keep them safe.
Thank you for being an animal advocate – together we CAN save animals from extinction!
Find out more about Wild Wonderful World and how you can help their conservation efforts via the links below:
• Wild Wonderful World. Helping to conserve the animals of Africa - www.iucnredlist.org
• The IUCN Red List. The place to find out about all the endangered animals of the world - www.iucnredlist.org
• The World Wildlife Foundation - www.worldwildlife.org
• The Rainforest Alliance. Helping to conserve the worlds rainforest and animals that live there - www.rainforest-alliance.org
Take a look below to find out about some of the worlds most endangered animals.
You can find a larger list on the IUCNs RED list of the world's most endangered animals that includes Mountain Gorillas, Tigers and Leopards.
1. Take a look above and find which animal is your favourite.
2. Make a poster telling your friends about this endangered animal and how they can help to save it. (There is a template in our free pack below)
3. Make copies of your poster and ask your teacher, friends and family to put it up and help spread the word!
4. Don't forget to share them with us over on Instagram too!