Hey Kids! Zena the ZooKeeper here to talk about what you can do for wildlife conservation! With Earth Day coming up, what better time is there? I’m sure you already do things to help wildlife all year round; like picking up litter around your school or local park, so animals don’t get sick trying to eat it. Or not bothering wildlife like baby birds in their momma’s nest, and always recycling to stop wasting things, and to reduce the amount of trash we make.
Those things are great to do, and today I’m going to tell you about some things you can do that maybe you haven’t even thought of yet. Part of helping wildlife is being a compassionate consumer. That means buying products that don’t hurt animals or wildlife. Like avoiding food made with unsustainable Palm oil. Did you know that people sometimes tear down the rainforest to build Palm oil plantations, where they plant and grow thousands of palm trees? This is happening right now with the tropical forests of Borneo and Sumatra in Southeast Asia, where the rainforest is home to orangutans, tigers, sun bears and millions of other species of wildlife. Once a rainforest is destroyed in order to plant palm trees, its habitat is ruined and these animals’ very existence is threatened!
But there is good news. There are companies that plant palm trees in a way that doesn’t ruin the rainforest and destroy habitat. These companies grow and sell sustainable Palm oil that doesn’t result in the loss of important habitat. Learn more about how to shop smart and buy products that use only sustainable Palm oil on our website. You can also download a poster for kids about Palm oil and how it is related to helping elephants.
Another important thing you can do to help animals is to never release pets into the wild. Sometimes people don’t understand how much care and work a certain kind of pet may need, and when they find they can’t take care of it, they just leave it outdoors somewhere. That’s really sad. Because the pet is not native to the new habitat, it usually dies or starts killing other animals or eats plants or destroys nesting sites which can really hurt the environment.
An example of this involves the Western Pond Turtle (WPT). Some people decided they didn’t want their pet turtles anymore and released them into the wild, where they were a non-native species and preyed on the WPT and its food sources. To help conserve the WPT, Oakland Zoo has a head-starting program to help rebuild the WPT population. Learn all about it here.
So, be sure you research online and find out all about the kind of pet you want before committing to it. And when choosing the right pet for you, always consider getting a rescued animal and please don’t choose a primate or other exotic pet.
And of course, educate others about conservation! If everyone does their part, then we can all be conservation heroes and change the world for all wildlife and humans alike!