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    Posted May 5, 2014 by

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    Saving Wildlife & Endangered Species Starts in Your Own Backyard

    You might think that saving endangered species all over the world is beyond your reach, however, there are some simple steps that start right at your doorstep and if everyone follows the impact can be global. How to make your home wildlife friendly:

    -Secure garbage in cans with locking lids
    -Feed your pets indoors and don’t leave food outdoors to attract wildlife
    -Disinfect bird baths to avoid disease transmission.
    -Place decals on windows to deter bird collisions
    -Do not use rat poison because it works it’s way up the food chain and kills important native predators.

    You can provide habitat for wildlife by planting native vegetation in your yard which can provide food and shelter and attract native insects like bees and butterflies to help pollinate your plants. The spread of non-native species has greatly impacted native populations around the world. For more information about native plants, visit www.plantsocieties.org

    Recycle and buy sustainable products like recycled paper, bamboo and Forest Stewardship Council wood products to protect forest species. Never buy furniture made from wood from rain forests. Recycle your cell phones, because a mineral used in cell phones and other electronics is mined in gorilla habitat.

    Check food and beauty labels for palm oil because forests where tigers and orangutans live are being cut down for palm plantations and if there is no demand there will be no supply.

    Do not use chemical pesticides. Pesticides may keep yards looking nice but they are hazardous pollutants that affect wildlife on many levels. Herbicides take a long time to degrade and build up in the soils or throughout the food chain. Predators such as hawks, owls and coyotes can be harmed if they eat poisoned animals. Some groups of animals such as amphibians are particularly vulnerable to these chemical pollutants and suffer greatly as a result of the high levels of herbicides and pesticides For alternatives to pesticides, visit www.beyondpesticides.org

    Slow down when driving (I get in a fight with my husband every day about this one). Many animals live in developed areas and this means they must navigate a landscape full of human hazards. Roads divide habitat and present a constant minefield to any animal attempting to cross from one side to the other. Slow down and keep any eye out for our furry friends.

    Never purchase products made from threatened or endangered species. Overseas trips can be exciting and fun, and everyone wants a souvenir, but sometimes the souvenirs are made from species nearing extinction. Animal poachers fall into the mentality that if the animal becomes extinct, its value will skyrocket. Each year, the illegal wildlife trade totals up to $20 billion in worldwide sales. Do not support the illegal black market wildlife trade including: tortoise-shell, ivory and coral. Also, be careful of products including fur from 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 and medicinal products made from rhinos, tiger or Asiatic black bear.

    Visit national wildlife refuges and state parks. This protected land provides habitat to many native wildlife, birds, fish and plants. The best way to protect endangered species is to protect where they live and conserve their land. Get involved by volunteering at your local nature center or wildlife refuge. Wildlife recreation creates millions of jobs and supports local businesses.

    You can find a refuge near you, at www.fws.gov/refuges.

    Here are a list of parks near you as well www.nps.gov.

    Report any harassment or shooting of any animals which 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.

    Here is a list of state wildlife departments at www.fws.gov/offices/statelinks.html.

    For more information on what you can do, check out these tips from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Most of all, endangered species habitat needs to be protected so we can live in harmony with all of god’s beautiful creatures that we share this planet with!

    By: Katie Cleary (Peace 4 Aniamls)
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