How Your Actions Can Protect Animals

protecting animal habitats

There are many efforts being made on the part of wildlife organizations and the United States federal government to protect species of animals and their natural habitats. In particular, there is a push by the National Park Service to have all wildlife populations included in the listing of endangered and protected species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The purpose of the listing is to ensure these delicate species continue to exist in their natural habitats and do so in such a way that they can recover naturally from human interference.

Some people believe that listing all threatened and endangered species in the United States is overreaching. Some feel that once a species has been removed from the Endangered Species List that it should no longer be protected. In fact, there have been attempts by some politicians to remove some species from the Endangered Species Act that have been removed from the listing due to lack of proof of their endangerment or extinction. Such measures often referred to as bill stocking, are considered controversial, even unethical by some. Opponents argue that it does not belong to the country and is nothing more than a gift to big industry lobby groups rather than helping the species.

Protecting Animal Habitats

A large fish in a dark room

Invasive species pose a unique problem. They not only threaten local ecosystems but by eating or capturing native species, which are then transported around the world and introduced into new habitats, these invasions of foreign species threaten the extinction of local plant and animal life. While it is difficult to bring an end to the practice of bringing in exotic animals and plants to help save native species, there are some techniques you can use to help decrease the number of alien species that enter your environment. Invasive species are not only threatening the well-being of native species but also of those that occupy the very habitat that these exotic species are introduced to.

Invasive Species: What Is An Invasive Species? An invasive species is an animal or plant that spreads quickly through an environment when introduced. An example would be the Asian Cobra rearing up along the Columbia River in the US and spreading as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. Not only are non-native species such as the Asian Cobra a danger to native fish populations, but they also pose a risk to wildlife and pets that are exposed to them.

Protecting Native Species: The Endangered Species Act has been enacted to help protect native wildlife in the United States. These laws were established to help ensure the survival of many species and to ensure that their natural habitats are maintained. These acts were put into place by Congress so all citizens were aware and educated about the threats that certain species faced. Wildlife populations are monitored closely by wildlife specialists and conservationists and any actions taken to preserve and increase species populations are often supported by a charge on the endangered species listing by the United States government. States must also provide commercially traded species with special permits to continue harvesting in certain areas or face serious penalties.

A Much Ado

A lion looking at the camera

Invasive Species: Perhaps the most controversial aspect of invasive species is their ability to invade native vegetation and take over entire plant communities. Native species are controlled by natural predators, such as birds and squirrels, and are often protected by a vegetative cover, soil erosion, and flooding. Invasive species are not controlled in this way and can even cause more harm to native plants and animals. Invasive species can come from all over the world, but some of the most common are from Asia, where Asian carp, snails, and starfish are common in lakes, rivers, and streams. They can also come from the US and from all over the world, as scientists now know that there are no boundaries to the movement of invasive species.

Threatened or extinct Endangered Species: The Endangered Species Act has helped to save many different species, especially birds and mammals. Species listed as threatened or endangered need a lot of help from people and businesses to survive. Many businesses help out by planting trees or selling lumber, and by making sure that old-growth forests and parks are kept intact.

Bottom Line

Illegal Trade: The illegal trade of endangered or protected species occurs on an enormous scale throughout the US. It is estimated that more than 22 million animals are lost yearly through illegal trade alone. Many of these animals are killed simply because they are labeled as endangered or protected when they’re not. Some are traded between illegal dealers, where they are killed for no reason at all. Others are sold on the black market, which is even worse than the illegal trade.

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