World Wildlife Day is on March 3. This year’s theme is “Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration”. This year’s focus is on conservation of some of the world’s endangered plants and animals. The challenge is to brainstorm solutions that will help preserve them. Life on earth is connected. Plants and animals work together to create a thriving environment. Humans are part of this. We rely on plants and animals for food, fuel, medicines, among others. We also rely on a diverse ecosystem to sustain these plants and animals that we need in order to survive.
The Florida Manatee was one of the first species to be listed on the 1967 Endangered Species Preservation Act. With human intervention in efforts to restore this species’ numbers, the US Fish and Wildlife Service were able to de-list this animal from the endangered list in 2017. However, in 2021, the average number of Manatee deaths skyrocketed to at least 881. This drastic decline in conservation efforts comes as a result of water pollution, which affected the ecosystem. Seagrass beds were killed off, affecting the Manatee’s main source of food. This shows the delicate balance that humans, plants and animals must conserve in order to restore the ecosystems.
For this year’s World Wildlife Day, we challenge students to take action. Look at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Find a plant or animal native to your region. Do some research. Find out why your chosen plant or animal is important to your region. Why is it in danger? What is the chain reaction that it’s extinction would have on the ecosystem? Come up with a plan to help save this species, and in turn, save the ecosystem.