Over the last four decades, human activities have greatly pushed some animal species close to extinction. It is estimated that we lose at least 10,000 species every year to extinction, and sometimes the number could go as high as 100,000 species.
Poaching has played a central role in the extinction of some species. For instance, rhinoceros and elephants, both horned animals, have been the prime target for poachers, significantly reducing their global population and edging them closer to extinction. The Northern white rhinoceros is one of the most affected species, with only 2 of them remaining in the world!
Of course, all the blame doesn’t go to poachers: other factors, such as climate change causing frequent droughts and flooding, deforestation, overpopulation, and consumer culture, have also played an active role in the endangering of wildlife species.
In a bid to counteract this, wildlife conservation is mandatory as it comes with numerous benefits for both animals and humans, including:
Only when the last of the animals’ horns, tusks, skin and bones have been sold, will mankind realize that money can never buy back our wildlife
16 Convincing Reasons Why it is Important to Conserve Wildlife Today
We have so many reasons why we must put in the necessary effort to conserve wildlife today. Some of them include:
1. Promotes Pollination and Continuity of Native Plant Species
Small animals, particularly bees, butterflies, and birds, play an important role in food production through their pollination services. By moving from one flower to another in search of nectar, bees carry pollen grains, which play an essential role in crop yield.
As such, conserving these animals offers benefits of pollination, like improved crop yield, for instance. This helps curb the issue of food shortage and promotes a more sustainable ecosystem.
2. Medicinal Value
Although plants are the major sources of medications, some animals are also vital in producing medications. For example, the venom from cobra is an important ingredient in making medications for leprosy, while lobsters can be used as antifungals.
It is also worth noting that conserving wildlife entails caring for their natural habitats, including trees and vegetation, which is paramount for medicinal research and the sustainability of the pharmaceutical industries.
3. Aesthetic Benefits
Watching animals in their natural habitat is not only fun but also relaxing. Who doesn’t love visiting zoos, game parks, lakes, oceans, forests, or even mountains, or activities such as camping, fishing, boat riding, and hiking?
We all do, and it’s even estimated that people who spend most of their time outdoors are less likely to suffer from stress and stress-related complications. Conserving wildlife is essential because it provides a way to interact with the beauty of nature and have fun as we do so!
4. It Is Fun and Entertaining!
People spend hours on television watching wild animals’ documentaries as a source of fun and entertainment. However, when we don’t take the issue of wildlife conservation seriously, this source of entertainment may diminish.
Without proper conservation measures, there may come a time when we can no longer catch some of the most captivating animal documentaries, and that’s why we have to put in the proper effort to conserve wildlife and their habitats.
5. Preserves Heritage and Culture
Conserving wildlife means conserving heritage and traditional culture. Some places are known for their flora and fauna in relation to the native practices and ways of livelihood, which means that failing to conserve the environment will lead to losing their land and native heritage.
For example, big cats like lions, leopards, cheetahs, and huge herbivores like elephants and giraffes are often associated with Africa Safaris, lately been coined as “magical Africa.” Another example is the scenery of thousands of wild beasts’ migration associated with the “Serengeti Plain” ecosystem.
6. Promotes Tourism Attraction
Countries with the largest portion of wild animals are known to attract more tourists, which is the case in regions such as the Amazon and countries like Tanzania, Costa Rica, Kenya, Brazil, Thailand, and South Africa.
When choosing destinations, tourists tend to choose places where they will see many wildlife animals.
7. Protection of Biodiversity and Endangered Species
In the jungle, a lot of animals depend on each other through food chains and food webs. For example, carnivores like lions, cheetahs, and leopards depend on herbivores like antelopes for survival. If antelopes become extinct in the jungle, the effect can harm the cats’ survival.
It will also affect the survival of other herbivores in the jungle, as the cats will depend on the remaining animals for their survival, which can greatly reduce the population of big animals like giraffes, which take longer to recreate.
It is also worth noting that the extinction of cats can greatly affect the population of scavengers that depend on the remains of their catch for food. This can ultimately affect the balance of the ecosystem.
8. Protecting Ecological Stability and Balance
Conserving fauna and flora encourages ecological stability and balance in the world. The plants, for example, play an important role in ensuring a healthy ecosystem by balancing carbon dioxide and oxygen in the environment.
If animal species become dominant, whether humans or wildlife, it will cause a lot of instability, affecting the survival of all plant and animal species in the world.
For example, if humans fail to conserve wildlife and natural habitats, it will destroy water supply sources, causing droughts and dissertations.
What is more, uncontrolled human activities like deforestation and logging are known to cause negative effects on the environment; thus, conserving wildlife means protecting ecological stability and balance.
9. Can Enhance Food Security
Among the most fundamental roles of wildlife conservation to humans is to enhance food security. Protecting natural habitats from degradation and forests against deforestation would increase the availability of various food products.
That’s because wildlife conservation helps in research for promoting agricultural diversity. Plus, habitat protection ensures sufficient and reliable natural resources for supporting agricultural activities, thereby enhancing food security.
10. Education and Learning
Studying wildlife and its habitat is an important learning experience for children, students, and scholars of all ages. Watching animals helps children to conceptualize ideas and develop their imagination, which is important for their growth.
In fact, taking children to zoos and game parks is part of the education system, and as such, failure to conserve wildlife will leave teachers with fewer educational resources in biology and science subjects.
11. Important for The Identification of New Plant and Animal species for Research
Despite the increased animal research over the last decades, it is estimated that a significant number of animals and plants are not yet discovered.
In fact, some researchers believe that the medications for some incurable diseases will most likely come from animals or plants that are yet to be discovered and hence the need to conserve natural habitats.
12. Economic Benefits Associated with Tourism
Tourism heavily contributes to the economic growth in countries (the GDP of the nation) because of the wildlife conservation centers and their preserved natural habitats. For example, countries like Thailand, Costa Rica, Brazil, Australia, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa, greatly benefit from tourism earnings.
The tourism sector is recorded to account for 10.4% of the world’s GDP. This means that if wild animals are not conserved, it will not only endanger the survival of those animals, but it will also result in major tourism-related economic losses.
13. Creation of Jobs
Wildlife has helped create thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly. For example, in places with wild animals, whether in a zoo or a game park, some people will always be working there.
Some are employed as animal caretakers, responsible for tending to the creatures’ needs. Others serve as tour guides, chefs, and fill various essential roles to ensure that visitors have an unforgettable and enjoyable experience during their visit.
This means that the jobs of those working in wildlife conservation areas would end if proper measures are not put in place to conserve wildlife and their habitats.
14. Protects the Livelihoods and Knowledge of Indigenous People
The people living around the forest areas and natural ecosystems such as lakes and rivers always depend on these resources for their livelihoods.
For instance, they rely on harvesting timber for construction, firewood for cooking, fish for survival, and traditional medicines, fruits, vegetables, and food for survival.
Therefore, conserving wildlife resources can help protect livelihoods and indigenous people together with their traditions. Furthermore, the conservation of wildlife now requires the involvement of the local or native populations to enhance environmental protection.
For instance, the survival of the indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest depends on the region’s wildlife conservation efforts.
15. It Serves as A Preserve for Future Generations
If conservation measures are not implemented, future generations will not have a chance to see some of the wild animals that exist today.
So many wild animals are reducing at an alarming rate due to human activities, and several such as the Amur leopard, Cross River gorilla, Black and Javan rhinoceros, Hawksbill turtle, South China tiger, pangolin, and Sumatran elephant, are on the verge of extinction.
For example, in Kenya a few years ago, the only remaining male white rhinoceros died as a result of old age leaving scientists with a lot of work trying to preserve the semen for use on the few remaining female rhinoceros in an attempt to preserve the white rhinoceros for future generations.
Despite the advanced technology, scientists have been trying to impregnate the female rhinoceros with no success, highlighting the need to conserve wildlife as humans will find it difficult to take up the natural role of wildlife.
16. Protecting Wildlife and Their Habitats Mean Fewer Diseases that Affect Humans
For the sake of human health, it is crucial to protect wildlife and their habitat.
There are fewer cases of malaria and Lyme disease in diverse, protected natural regions, according to research.
Animals are the source of 60% of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
The likelihood of diseases spreading and “jumping” species increases when people are close to animals.
Humans and wildlife don’t have to coexist in such close proximity if ecosystems are protected.