4 Ways to play your part this World Wildlife Day 

by Tia

World Wildlife Day, declared by the United Nations and internationally recognised, is on March 3 every year. The day promotes and acknowledges the interconnectedness of human needs to wildlife and biodiversity-based resources such as  food, fuel, medicine and housing. 

But in order to harness and enjoy nature’s bounty we have a responsibility to ensure that ecosystems are healthy so that the plant and animal life within can thrive. Doing so in a sustainable way is how we ensure future generations will also reap the benefits. 

“Many of us aren’t close to wildlife on a regular basis so it may seem difficult or even unimportant to concern oneself with wildlife – that’s what conservationists and game rangers are for, right? No, we all have a part to play as all our actions have an impact on the very delicate balance ecosystems need to maintain for all humans to survive,” shares Anton Gillis, CEO at Kruger Gate Hotel. 

Consider that all actions have a reaction and that we’re all part of a larger natural ecosystem and it becomes more apparent how our actions affect our precious wildlife. 

“There are a number of small but significant ways we can all play our part in protecting our wildlife,” says Gillis.

Reduce, reuse and recycle

The less we consume the less pressure we put on our environment, simple as that. This includes everything from taking shorter showers to using less water and switching off lights and appliances that are not in use, to wearing your clothing for more than a season, going meat-free one day a week (start with Meat Free Mondays) and opting to drive less and walk more, if possible. “The point is just to be mindful of how we use resources and to remember that it all has to come from somewhere and it also has to end up somewhere. Even a small action like thinking twice about bottled water or taking a reusable shopping bag to the supermarket has a cumulative impact in the long run,” Gillis says. 

Donate – time or money

Fortunately there are many organisations across the country working to protect our wildlife and their environment, but these organisations always need extra support. Consider volunteering with an organisation that supports a cause that is close to your heart, or donating money if you’re in a position to. These organisations often have to find innovative ways to keep going and may run a charity shop, in which case they would welcome donations of pre-loved clothing or household items, for example. By supporting the organisations dedicated to supporting our wildlife we’re helping them to be able to do more, which ultimately benefits us all. 

Be a visible and vocal advocate and activist 

You don’t need to be near wildlife on a daily basis to support their wellbeing, you simply need to speak up on their behalf. “Use the tools, channels and platforms at your disposal to advocate for the rhinos, the vultures, access to water or whatever cause you feel strongest about. Awareness is a key part of wildlife conservation and speaking up – whether by signing a petition or sharing a relevant post on social media helps to add another voice to the cause,” says Gillis. 

The Black Rhino, for example, is critically endangered and the constant target of sophisticated poaching syndicates. “The more we speak up about this problem, the more awareness it creates and the more support conservation efforts receive, the better chance we have of protecting these majestic animals. The rhinos also benefit when more people visit Kruger National Park, as the conservation fees levied also go towards efforts to protect them, ultimately creating a safe haven for these creatures,” Gillis explains. 

Educate yourself

Making an effort to understand the importance of a healthy, thriving ecosystem, of how the wellbeing of wildlife impacts human life, of the importance of conservation and how the tourism sector plays an important role within that, is key to protecting wildlife specifically but also the earth in general. “Knowledge is power, and the more we know about our natural world the better we understand the impact our small, everyday actions have on it, and the more effectively we can play our part in protecting wildlife,” Gillis concludes.

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