Mitigation Techniques for Helping Endangered Species

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Article by: Jane Marsh, Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co


Threatened and endangered species face rapid extinction worldwide. As climate change and human activity increase, more animals are bound to meet an untimely demise. 

Scientists have deployed numerous mitigation strategies to protect endangered species over the years. However, you may wonder about your role in protecting them from harm.  

Why Protect Endangered Species

Conservation scientists prioritize mitigation techniques to prevent the extinction of endangered and threatened species. Diehard environmental enthusiasts feel wildlife must be protected at all costs. Other people question if a few extinct species make much difference. 

Endangered species are essential to a properly functioning ecosystem — when one goes extinct, it triggers several others to follow. This effect could significantly affect healthy forests, aquatic systems, grasslands and air. 

Some endangered species — insects, birds and small mammal pollinators — can cause significant agricultural losses. Experts predict that food demand will jump from 35%-56% between 2010 and 2050 amid population growth.

The world could also lose a pool of genetic materials from endangered plants contributing to medicinal developments. For instance, the Pacific yew tree was deemed to have little value until scientists discovered its bark. After years of logging, it became an essential ingredient for taxol — a first line of treatment for ovarian cancer.  

Experts implement comprehensive conservation methods to protect endangered plants and animals, from setting policies to analyzing natural hazards in real time to determine future risks to species and habitats. However, you also play a crucial part in mitigation.

6 Mitigation Techniques You Can Do for Endangered Species

The Endangered Species Act lists about 713 animals and over 1,000 plants as endangered or threatened. Although you can’t expect to save them all, there are six mitigation strategies to protect those nearby.  

  • Learn About Local Endangered Species

If you want to make a difference and protect endangered species, start by researching the local wildlife in your area. Discover species most affected by human activities and those driven out of your town or city due to urbanization. 

You can then teach your friends, family and community members about those local endangered species and brainstorm sound mitigation techniques everyone can implement.

  • Protect Habitats and Waterways

A recent study by the Environmental Integrity Act found that 51% of U.S. rivers and streams — or 725,856 miles — are impaired. Additionally, 55% of lakes, ponds and reservoirs, and 26% of bays and estuaries, are also highly polluted. This dramatically impacts aquatic species, mammals and plants that require those ecosystems for survival.

Be mindful of how much water you use and what you pour down the drain, such as toxic cleaning solutions, medicines or other chemicals. These eventually end up in waterways, negatively affecting endangered species’ health and those that may become threatened.

Using native plants in your garden can entice pollinators and smaller local wildlife to your backyard. Urban sprawl has destroyed 150 million acres of natural habitat — today, lawns cover 40 million acres.

Supporting the local environment by planting flora well-adapted to the region will encourage more birds, butterflies, turtles and other species to return. Even planting a native oak tree can provide habitat for 500 different caterpillar species.

  • Limit Hazardous Chemicals

Synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers may offer relief and growing power to your landscaping, but they are toxic for endangered species. In fact, many bee and butterfly populations have succumbed to chemical exposure, posing increasing risks to agriculture by degrading the soil and decreasing the food supply.

Make a conscious effort to limit or eliminate chemical pollutants to protect habitats and the species that depend on them.

Road construction and traffic have affected wildlife by dividing habitats and increasing their chances of getting hit by a car. One study estimates between 89 and 340 million birds become roadkill annually. Other species that tend to get hit are raccoons, possums, badgers, deer and coyotes. 

Reduce your speed to the speed limit and pay attention while driving. You won’t want to miss an animal creeping out of the woods when you’re behind the wheel. 

  • Modify Your Purchasing Habits

Nearly 78% of American consumers say living sustainably, including their shopping habits, is essential. Committing to green purchases that don’t come from threatened or endangered species is an effective mitigation technique you can take to prevent extinction.

Avoid wildlife souvenirs while on vacation. Also, don’t buy illegally derived products like ivory or coral. Other items to stay away from are authentic fur coats or skins.

Do Your Part to Save Endangered Species

Even small efforts add up when mitigating threats against endangered species. You can make a difference by altering your habits and carefully watching how nearby wildlife responds to your behaviors.

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