December 4th marks the annual celebration of World Wildlife Conservation Day. This year, perhaps more than ever before, we have become increasingly aware of just how much we rely on the natural world- for joy, comfort, renewal, and awe. And these natural places, and the wildlife that call them home, depend on us, too. This year, honor World Wildlife Conservation Day with us by pledging to take action and support the planet. Here are some of the best and most impactful ways you can be part of the solution!
- Make your yard or garden wildlife friendly. Many animals require flowering plants for food and shelter, including insects and birds. You can help your local wildlife, no matter where you live, by converting lawn to wildflower gardens, planting native shrubs and trees, and reducing or eliminating your use of pesticides and fertilizers. And if you don’t have access to a yard, a handful of potted plants or on sprinkled along a boulevard are just as useful!
- Reduce your carbon footprint! Climate change is threatening wildlife across the planet. And we need to act now if we are going to reverse the trend of species extinction and habitat loss. Here are some great ways you can reduce your footprint in your everyday life.
- Help protect and preserve natural spaces! Habitat loss and degradation is one of the greatest threats to wildlife today. You can help preserve habitat in a number of ways! Join local park or waterway clean-up efforts to remove harmful trash and pollutants. You can also look for local volunteer opportunities to plant trees and wildflowers. Be sure to properly recycle waste so that plastics and other trash don’t end up in waterways or littering natural areas.
- Think before you buy. You can be an educated consumer by asking yourself if buying secondhand is an option and looking for products made with sustainably-produced natural resources.
- Be a responsible pet owner. When outdoors, be sure to pick up after your pet, even in your own backyard. Pet waste that is not cleaned up washes into stormwater runoff and pollutes local bodies of water, harming wildlife. And be aware of where your next pet is coming from! Especially if you’re looking to adopt an exotic pet, make sure that you choose a responsible source that prioritizes wildlife and animal welfare. The illegal pet trade is very harmful to many species of wild animals.
- Spend time connecting with nature! Being in the outdoors in natural spaces, whether your neighborhood park or wandering the trails of the Minnesota Zoo, not only improves your physical and mental health, it helps you stay connected with wildlife. The more time we spend learning about, observing, and appreciating wild animals and wild places, the more we will want to protect them!
There are many ways we can all support wildlife conservation. And if we all do our part, together we can turn the tide and create a hopeful and positive future for wild animals and wild places. As always, thank you for your continued support of the Minnesota Zoo! You help keep our mission of connecting people and the natural world to save wildlife alive.