Few things thrill my son more than a day-trip to the Houston Zoo. He could spend all day running from exhibit to exhibit looking at the monkeys, tropical birds, lions and elephants. I’m honestly just as happy as he is to spend the day with such fascinating creatures. The folks at the Houston Zoo really do a wonderful job of creating natural, safe habitats for the animals they house while giving kids and adults alike wonderful learning opportunities and cherished memories.
I’m appreciative that we can visit “wild” animals so conveniently. However, I’m finding myself becoming more and more agitated at the thought of all the wildlife actually out in the wild on the brink of extinction. Recently I’ve become captivated with Animal Planet’s Whale Wars. For the unfamiliar, it’s a documentary-style show that follows Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as he and his crew harass Japanese whalers off the coast of Antarctica. These Japanese whalers claim to be doing “research” but many, including Watson, believe this is merely an excuse for banned commercial whaling; whalers profit from whaling mainly for the meat and oil whales produce. It is infuriating to me to think that these majestic creatures are being hunted down so callously. In truth, they could actually cease to exist in the not so distant future because of the high numbers being hunted each year. It is completely despicable and sickening to me to watch these whales being slaughtered. I applaud (sometimes literally) the work Watson and the Sea Shepherds do to save the whales and keep them safe in their natural habitat.
But unfortunately it’s not only whales. Between the destruction of natural habitats, increases in pollution, and illegal poaching, so many of our animals and wildlife are disappearing. In America alone, there are 2,269 different species in danger of extinction– 2, 269!
It is time to wake up, people! We are not doing ourselves any favors by choosing to be ignorant of the real danger what happens when wildlife becomes extinct. Our children and grandchildren will not have the chance to enjoy nature the way we, so far, have taken for granted. I’m quite sure there will always be zoos but I want my son to live in a world where wild animals still roam free and are not specimens raised behind a glass window or cage bars. So, I am becoming proactive, learning more about the different endangered species and, starting with this post, taking a stand. I invite you to do the same. Learn more about the issues, get involved, and use your voice, your funds, or your time to help save wildlife from senselessly disappearing. Here are a few links to some reputable organizations that would be thrilled to have you join the fight to help keep our wildlife healthy and safe.