Green kids can make a difference
No one will ever again see a Caspian tiger, a Javan tiger or a Bali tiger slink through the forest. They are gone forever – they are now extinct. Extinction is forever. Animals and plants that are in danger of dying out completely are called threatened species.
Today only about 5000-7000 wild tigers live across Asia. Even though it is illegal to kill a tiger, wild tigers are still being poached today because their bones,whiskers and other body parts can be sold on the black market for a lot of money. Tiger parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine because some people believe that tiger parts have special powers. But the main reason that animals and plants become extinct or threatened is because their habitat has been destroyed or changed. Their habitat is the place where they live. It contains all that they need to survive: space, light, water, food, shelter and a place to breed. Across all of Asia, once vast forests have fallen for timber or conversion to agriculture. Only small islands of forest surrounded by a growing and relatively poor human population are left. As forest space is reduced, the number of animals left in the forest is also reduced, and tigers cannot find the prey they need to survive.
Humans have a lot of power to change and destroy habitats. Pollution from cars and trucks, chemicals and even introduced animals and plants that have gone wild all have an effect on natural environments. So does clearing native vegetation to make way for farming, building roads and cities, and damming rivers to provide water for people.
What can kids do to help save threatened species?
One of the most important ways to help threatened plants and animals survive is to protect their habitats permanently in national parks, nature reserves or wilderness areas. There they can live without too much interference from humans.
You can visit a nearby national park or nature reserve. Talk to the forest officer to find out whether there are any threatened species and how they are being protected. You and your friends might be able to help the in their conservation work. When you visit a national park, make sure you obey the wildlife code: follow fire regulations; leave your pets at home; leave flowers, birds’ eggs, logs and bush rocks where you find them,put your rubbish in a bin or, better still, take it home.
Many things that we use or make in our lives have an effect on our native plants and animals. Building a large dam so that people in cities can have water, building roads and houses, producing plastics and metals – even growing food – takes up land that was originally habitats for native plants and animals. So we must be very careful not to waste these resources and not to create a lot of rubbish. Cities now have a big problem because people are making more and more rubbish. You can do a lot to help solve this problem.
Many things we throw away can be reused or recycled.
Reuse or recycle whatever you can.
At home and at school, you can help sort rubbish into things that can be recycled and things that can’t. Many things can be recycled, including steel and aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars, milk packets, some plastics, paper and cardboard. If you have old books, toys or clothes in good condition that you don’t want, you can give them to a charity instead of throwing them away.
Waste that is made up of things that will rot away naturally in the garden - is called organic or biodegradable waste. Ask your parents and neighbors to help you make a compost heap where you can throw all your organic waste – fruit and vegetable matter, garden scraps and lawn clippings. When it has rotted down, put it on the garden and it will help plants grow.
Join a group.
There are many groups and organizations like the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)working on conservation activities. Join one of these groups and assist with conservation activities.