BBC Earth

Ways to help endangered species

One of the first steps to take is to become informed of what species are endangered, especially those local to you. By being informed helps you become aware of the issues and therefore you can spread the word to others.

Recycle

Many electronics such as you mobile phone contain precious metals like coltan and the demand for these metals are causing issues for wildlife conservation. These metals are mined in endangered species habitats such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo where you find the bonobo chimp, an endangered species considered our closest living relative. So best to recycle your electronics.

Recycling clothes helps the environment as it stops them entering into landfill. You can recycle by donating them to charity shops, have a clothes swap party or even have a go at redesigning your clothes with some DIY alterations.

  • Use recycled items such as recycled paper and toilet roll.

  • Use rechargeable batteries.

  • Create your own compost.

  • Don’t know what to do with Christmas and birthday cards you receive? Get creative by reusing them to make new cards for friends and family.

  • Clean out glass jars and pots as they can be used as containers or even used for DIY projects like turning them into pots for plants.

  • Keep bags such as bread bags and other food bags to be used as doggie-bags for when you take your dog out walking. And remember to dispose of it responsibly.

  • Get inspired from others by either talking to friends/family or read blogs, articles and discover great ways to be creative with recycling.

Here’s a useful link to understand what you can and can’t recycle: https://earth911.com/recycling-center-search-guides/

Sustainability

When you are making a purchase, consider the items sustainability – will I use it only once? How will it be disposed off? Will it last? Is it sourced responsibly? These kinds of questions can help you make more sustainable choices. Therefore you are helping to protect the environment and animals.

When looking to purchase wood for your home such as furniture or flooring a good practice is to ask questions and check that you are using sustainable species of wood as this helps prevent deforestation. Some keys endangered woods to be aware of are Murbu, Sapelee, Wenge, Ebony, Brazilian Mahogany and Teak. For more information please follow this link: https://ic.fsc.org/en

Palm oil is a cause of deforestation and unfortunately it is in almost everything we consume from food to shampoo but there are ways to minimize your use. Home cooking helps avoid using processed foods that contain palm oil, read labels to look for sustainable or palm oil free products and become familiar with the different names used for palm oil, that way you can spot what products have palm oil.

Eat responsibly (see further down for more tips on this)

Wildlife friendly home

When thinking of wildlife many people think of the countryside or far off places, but sometimes they are closer to home than you realise, and there are many tips around the home that you can do to help protect them. Here are a few of them:

  • Feed pets indoors

  • Secure garbage

  • Keep pets indoors at night, such as cats, to reduce them predating on local wildlife.

  • Put out bird feeders, but ensure they are kept clean to reduce spread of disease.

  • Millions of birds die from hitting into windows every year, but by added decals onto your windows you can reduce the risk of collisions.

Garden ideas

Our gardens can be wildlife havens for many endangered species from insects to mammals with some simple steps. Here are a few key steps:

Plant native flora to attract native insects like bees and butterflies that can help pollinate your plants.

Build a wildlife pond- it can be as simple as burying a shallow bucket into the ground and filling it up with rainwater. Best to place it in a part sunny, part shady spot and add plants to oxygenate the water.

Reduce mowing your lawn or even leave a patch of grass to grow long to create space for wildlife. Don’t forget to leave the cut grass in your garden as it acts as a fertiliser.

Try to avoid using herbicides and pesticides because they can harm various species such as amphibians. Plus they can easily get into the food chain as predators, such as birds of prey, may be harmed if they consume a poisoned animal from pesticides.

For alternatives to pesticides visit: http://www.beyondpesticides.org. For more information about various native plants visit: http://www.plantsocieties.org.

Other tips

Volunteer for local conservation projects such as clean ups at beaches, streams or the local park. Plant trees, build wildlife habitats and spread the word!

Become a citizen scientist or naturalist. By joining a citizen science program you can have a great opportunity to learn, support researchers, do wildlife monitoring and have a lot of fun while helping the environment. For more information here is a useful link: https://www.zooniverse.org/

Visit protected wildlife spaces such as national parks, sanctuaries and refuges. These can be both local and abroad.