Wildlife is everywhere. It’s in our backyards, on our Instagram feed, and at our favorite National Parks. That’s why wildlife holidays such as Endangered Species Day, which is celebrated every year on May 15, are so important. Endangered Species Day provides an opportunity for people to talk about their favorite animals while learning about ways to protect them and their wild homes. Endangered Species Day was founded by the Endangered Species Coalition. Its mission is to provide an opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions they can take to help protect them.
With such a noble mission, Endangered Species Day is an opportunity for biologists, conservationists, naturalists, and institutions to talk about their work and what future they wish for wildlife – and let’s just say, topics like this are needed today more than ever.
According to IUCN Red List, there are now 41,415 species listed and 16,306 of them are endangered or threatened. This means that 16,118 species MORE are on the IUCN list than previous years (this number includes both flora and fauna). This may not seem like a lot when considering there are known to be 8.7 million species on the planet, 1.2 million of them being animals – but what people often forget, is that we are destroying habitats of which are likely home to many undiscovered species, ones that could be lost forever. Let’s take endemic species for example, which are plants and animals that only exist in one geographic region. Endemic species are oftentimes the first to go extinct due to how fragile and tied to a species is to a specific region.
A great example of an endemic species under threat is the Agalychnis annae, more commonly known as the blue-sided or yellowed-eyed leaf frog. This colorful animal is only found in certain parts of Costa Rica, mostly in the central valley in cities such as San Jose. However, because of human development, predation from invasive fish species, and polluted streams, this amphibian is considered Endangered, Appendix II. Luckily, this rare frog calls the ponds at Toucan Rescue Ranch home! Toucan Rescue Ranch is able to protect the frogs that breed and live here. As a part of our Education Program, we also provide nocturnal walks to show these beautiful creatures and teach the public about their natural history and threats in the wild. We hope by spreading awareness about their current plight, citizens will start to protect the rivers and streams that run through their backyard and help preserve their fragile and limited habitats.
So, for Endangered Species Day, what incredible species do you have living right in your backyard? We know that it might not be an endangered and endemic tropical frog – but we can assure you that there are some incredible critters that need your help.
With that being said, our challenge to you for Endangered Species Day is to get out in your backyard and explore! There are many ways you can be a wildlife warrior for this special holiday and beyond.
Here is a list of 5 ways you can help wildlife:
- Volunteer – help your local licensed wildlife shelter. We know that every rescue center is looking for individuals who are willing to clean enclosures, prepare food, and provide enrichment for the animals!
- Donate – Organize a small fundraiser for a conservation project, wildlife rescue, or zoo! You can do a lemonade stand, bake sale, crowdfunding campaign – the list is infinite on how you can raise money for your favorite institution or species!
- Vote – If you are 18 years or older, vote for politicians that have wildlife, wild places, and protected lands as a guiding principle in their political agenda.
- Buy Responsibly – every purchase you make has an impact. Try to buy cruelty-free products, reduce your plastic consumption or find a company that donates back to worthy causes.
- Speak up – your voice is powerful. Use your voice to teach others about conservation issues, ethical wildlife tourists’ practices, and how every one of your friends and family can become an advocate for wildlife, too!
Good luck wildlife warrior – we know you are going to change the world!
This blog was written by Marketing Director, Zara Palmer