“Let’s save more wildlife!” This is a very noble cry. However, wildlife and the environment must be saved, preserved and protected together. One without the other doesn’t get the job done in the long run.
Wildlife affects the environment and the environment affects wildlife in so many different ways. So much so, that saving wildlife and the environment go hand in hand. It really makes perfect sense when we stop to think about it.
Elephants and Africa
The African Elephant is a very large mammal. It’s feet alone are 45.7 cm (18 inches) in diameter. One adult elephant eats up to 136 kg (300 lbs) of food in a day. If unhindered by fences an elephant herd can travel around 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) per day. That’s a ton of food and a huge amount of space. Besides taking from the environment what do elephants contribute?
Elephants keep trees, bushes and grasses from growing to large. This provides the perfect habitat for smaller species to move about, forage and burrow. Elephants create water holes for themselves and other animals. Our Wildlife Hero Lynn who protects elephants and their home in Malawi tells us that once the elephants returned so did other wildlife.
There are many other examples of how wildlife and the environment are intimately connected.
The International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) put together a marvelous infographic to further explain this connection… and how you and I can help protect both… wildlife and the environment.
How Wildlife And The Environment Are Intimately Connected
- A loss or a change in habitat can decrease food availability, impairing the nutritional status and health of herbivores.
- A loss or change in habitat can negatively impact the number of herbivores, which in turn causes the number of predators to decrease.
- An increase in the number of herbivores can negatively impact the environment as theyu may consume all or nearly all of potential food sources.
- A loss or change in habitat can lower wildlife’s ability to move freely, reducing gene glow and causing less-healthy animals.
- A natural disaster such as a fire or hurricane can destroy the habitat of wildlife, making it harder for wildlife to survive afterwards.
- A loss of “keystone species,” or a pivotal animal in an ecosystem, can cause the whole ecosystem to collapse.
- Poachers may decrease the number of wildlife, including threatened and endangered species, which affects the overall ecosystem.
How You Can Help Sustain Wildlife and the Environment
- Let your elected officials know that you support laws and policies that protect wildlife.
- Donate money to anti-poaching and environmental charities.
- Plant native species of bushes, trees and flowers in your yard.
- Reduce the number of products you purchase and use, especially single-use plastics.
- Avoid pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers.
- Recycle glass, plastic, aluminum, paper and other products when possible.
- Volunteer with local organizations to restore ecosystems by eliminating invasive plant species and planting native ones.
- Stay a safe distance away from wildlife.
Our thanks to the IAPF for providing this information.
Graphic created by International Anti-Poaching Foundation.