While it’s up to high-profile activists like Leo to rehabilitate the world’s most endangered species, we, too can be wildlife warriors. Ordinary citizens have been doing what they can to keep animal populations afloat. Some have gone as far as fending off wildfires for an entire sanctuary — and despite how heroic it may sound, isn’t always necessary in becoming a true environmentalist. In fact, there are many different and simple ways to help wildlife.
Contrary to popular belief, being involved in animal conservation doesn’t always entail direct contact. You can start you journey (and continue it) within the comfort of your home. A great way to set the scene is to reduce your carbon footprint. This can be as simple as recycling, researching, and making eco-friendly choices. Carbon emissions are unforgiving when it comes to marine life in particular. Slowing the pace of climate change will do wonders for all species.
If you are more of a people person but still have a soft spot for nature’s greatest, share your knowledge. Spread awareness. Use your own strengths to get the word out. If you are an illustrator, infographics are popular on social media. Writing about the state of our wildlife is also important. Anything that will paint a clear picture of the current goings-on may also encourage others to participate. For go-getters, visit an animal preserve. Learning more about how certain species function may help you understand how to approach them.
Believe it or not, your shopping habits can also make a difference. Faux fur may be all the craze, but will often encourage many to purchase real fur. To set an example, buy responsibly. Ivory keychains may look charming, but are never worth the suffering an elephant goes through. In fact, elephant poaching has surpassed its limits in that some calves are being born without tusks. Refraining from purchasing leather may not revive the animal it was taken from, but it will allow the industry to dwindle in popularity. After all, if nobody is buying your product, why go through the trouble of making it?
Many wildlife conservation groups are big fans of hefty donations. But pledging your time is also just as valuable. If you have a weekend to spare, volunteer. There are a profusion of non-profit organizations that will almost always accommodate a number of volunteers. Figure out where your skills will be most useful. Are you looking for a hands-on experience caring for injured or abandoned animals? Perhaps you are also keen on hosting fundraisers. Whatever the case, there will likely be a place for you.
If you are eager to get up close and personal, you can choose to adopt an animal. Of course, these adoptions are symbolic — a Bengal tiger won’t be curling up on your sofa. However, you’d be remotely caring for an animal you can truly develop a bond with by learning about it and providing for it.
Many interested in keeping our wildlife safe often believe that the only way to do so is to walk right into the fire. But most of the time, that isn’t the case. Doing what you can wherever in the world you are is always enough. Trust me — like in a zoo, bears, lions, and monkeys enjoy admiring you from a distance.