How to Save Endangered Animals in Africa

How to Save Endangered Animals in Africa
Loss of habitat, global climate change, and illegal hunting are endangering many animals throughout the world--including iconic African species like cheetahs, leopards, elephants and rhinos. It's a huge problem, but there are ways an individual can make a significant difference.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
"Voluntour" for your next vacation. Instead of lying on a beach, get up and get involved in conservation efforts. There are many organizations that match willing vacationers with scientists and conservation programs that need a hand collecting or analyzing data or doing infrastructure work. Activities might include tracking animals, counting prey species, trapping and collaring animals and radiotelemetry monitoring of animals fitted with radio collars. Fees typically cover room and board, but not travel to or from the work site.
Step 2
Don't buy contraband. CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, prohibits trade in animals or parts of animals that are endangered, i.e, turtle shells, ivory, and skins. Furthermore, most such products cannot legally be brought into the United States--and will be confiscated if discovered by customs inspectors.
Step 3
Be an ecotourist. By shopping and staying local, rather than patronizing businesses owned by multinational corporations, you support the primary principle of ecotourism. Locals benefit from tourists who come to see wildlife, thus they are motivated to preserve endangered animals and their habitat. Buying art or handicrafts directly from the artisan or in a locally owned shop supports the local economy, and it's also a great way to meet interesting people and get a feel for the culture.
Step 4
Watch what you eat. Local cuisine in some countries may feature meat of endangered animals, like sea turtles. Bush meat should be avoided, too, as illegal harvesting is commonplace. In Africa, antelope like kudu and oryx are often raised as livestock and as such are OK to consume, provided you can verify the source.
Step 5
Donate. There are many nongovernmental organizations working to save endangered species and their habitat. Most have programs in several continents, but Africa is a major focus for all due to the number of species that are threatened. Some reputable organizations working in Africa include Panthera, WildAid, and World Wildlife Fund.
Step 6
Travel green. Buy carbon offsets for your air travel, but be sure they are verified. Climate Counts has scorecards that can help you choose airlines and destinations that are reducing their own ecological footprint.

Article Written By Peggy Hansen

Peggy Hansen holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from UC San Diego, Doctor of Medicine from UCLA, and completed postgraduate training at Stanford, Duke and Harvard. An award-winning writer and photographer, her work has been featured in Catnip, Herbalgram, Porter Gulch Review, and many online pieces. She's also a commentator for KQED-FM

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