The news is grim. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, wildlife populations have declined by an average of 69% since 1970. Those of us who spend significant time outdoors connecting with nature have seen these magnificent beings dwindling right before our eyes.
But there is hope for those who remain, despite their small populations. Let’s take a look at some fierce, resilient wildlife species and how humans can help.
When I was a kid, I remember the news stories telling us that our national bird, the bald eagle, was under the threat of extinction. Perhaps you remember this too? The bird that proudly represents America’s soaring spirit was estimated to only have 487 nesting pairs in 1963, down from 100,000 in 1782.
The bald eagle was placed on the Endangered Species list. With collective efforts including eliminating DDT a deadly pesticide, as well as establishing conservation initiatives across the country, the bald eagle is now off the endangered species list and thriving. The two key factors that led to this recovery were eliminating harm and facilitating a healthy environment.
Today I see bald eagles soar in my own neighborhood, nesting in the trees in my nearby state park, and I even had one dive and sweep just above my head while I was stand-up paddleboarding on a local lake! The sense of freedom they exude as they glide above us in the sky is palpable. The resilience they have demonstrated also makes them worthy of being America’s iconic symbol.
Each of us can help the other species that are threatened today. There are over 2000 species of wildlife on the Endangered list today. Actions as simple as eliminating spraying toxic chemicals on our properties while simultaneously planting nourishing plants are one example of something many of us in the United States can do.
This summer, for example, my husband and I noticed an unfamiliar bee repeatedly feeding on the canna flowers we planted in a container on our patio. The large bee, with distinct yellow stripes along its back, became a frequent visitor. I took a picture with my smartphone then used the identifying button on the phone and found out it was an American Bumblebee. Investigating further, I learned this was once the most common bumblebee in America. However, its population has decreased by 89% across the United States in the past two decades.
Becoming familiar with our wildlife neighbors, and taking action to help them survive and thrive, may help us revive the precious remaining animals and insects for future generations.
To learn more about what actions you can take, consider visiting your local wildlife organizations, national organizations, and global organizations. Simply google wildlife conservation, endangered wildlife species, and conservation groups to find information and see which efforts resonate most with you.
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