Endangered Species Day logo by Jill Hennessey/USFWS.
May 17th is Endangered Species Day! This week the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Red Wolf Recovery Program are recognizing the national conservation effort to protect our nation’s endangered species and their habitats.
Endangered Species Day is an opportunity for everyone to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions that people can take to help protect our nation’s disappearing wildlife and last remaining open space. Not sure what you can do? Check out these top 10 tips from the Endangered Species Coalition:
1) Learn about endangered species in your area: Teach your friends and family about the wonderful wildlife, birds, fish and plants that live near you!
2) Visit a national wildlife refuge, park or other open space: Get involved by volunteering at your local nature center, zoo, or wildlife refuge or go wildlife or bird watching in nearby parks.
3) Make your home wildlife friendly: Secure garbage in shelters or cans with locking lids, feed pets indoors and lock pet doors at night to avoid attracting wild animals into your home. Reduce your use of water in your home and garden so that animals that live in or near water can have a better chance of survival. Disinfect bird baths often to avoid disease transmission.
4) Provide habitat for wildlife by planting native vegetation in your yard: Native plants provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Attracting native insects like bees and butterflies can help pollinate your plants.
5) Minimize use of herbicides and pesticides: Many herbicides and pesticides take a long time to degrade and build up in the soils or throughout the food chain, find alternatives to pesticides.
6) Slow down when driving: One of the biggest obstacles to wildlife living in developed areas is roads—slow down and keep an eye out for wildlife.
7) Recycle and buy sustainable products: Buy recycled paper, sustainable products like bamboo and Forest Stewardship Council wood products to protect forest species.
8) Never purchase products made from threatened or endangered species: Be careful about bringing back souvenirs from overseas trips. Avoid supporting the market in illegal wildlife including: tortoise-shell, ivory, and coral. Be careful of products including fur from tigers, polar bears, sea otters and other endangered wildlife, crocodile skin, live monkeys or apes, most live birds including parrots, macaws, cockatoos and finches, some live snakes, turtles and lizards, some orchids, cacti and cycads, medicinal products made from rhinos, tiger or Asiatic black bear.
9) Report any harassment or shooting of threatened and endangered species: Harassing wildlife is cruel and illegal. Shooting, trapping, or forcing a threatened or endangered animal into captivity is also illegal and can lead to their extinction. Don't participate in this activity, and report it as soon as you see it to your local state or federal wildlife enforcement office.
10) Protect wildlife habitats: The greatest threat that faces many species is the widespread destruction of habitat. By protecting habitat, entire communities of animals and plants can be protected together. Parks, wildlife refuges, and other open space should be protected near your community. Open space also provides us with great places to visit and enjoy. Support wildlife habitat and open space protection in your community. When you are buying a house, consider your impact on wildlife habitat.
In partnership with the Endangered Species Coalition and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, events will be scheduled throughout the country. To find an event near you, you can explore the calendar provided by the Endangered Species Coalition.