The Importance Of Animal Conservation
It's a very sad fact that mankind has become so disconnected from the natural world that the importance of global wildlife conservation is even in question.
I was driving in the Kruger National Park in South Africa with my two children recently, and when I told them that this is what most of the country looked like hundreds of years ago, they didn't believe me at first.
And who can blame them?
They grow up in neighbourhoods, towns, cities and rural areas that are now completely devoid of the habitat and animals that were once the norm, an artificially created human environment.
But the fact is that humans are a part of this interlinking and balanced chain of nature, and when we destroy that we are actually doing ourselves harm too.
So animal conservation is important not just to protect wildlife and their habitat, but also for humans who are dependant on a balanced environment, even though we ourselves struggle to acknowledge and perceive that. So it's actually about our ultimate survival, as the two go hand in hand.
More Reasons Why Animal Conservation Is Important
1. Medicinal Value
Plants and animals have for many generations been an excellent source for obtaining medicines to treat and heal a variety of human illnesses.
And who knows what might be revealed by current and future generations in this important field, maybe a cure for cancer? If we don't protect and preserve animals and their environment, this medicinal value will be forever lost.
2. Food Production
A myriad of insects such as bees and butterflies are integral to pollination, which is critical for crop production. So we rely on them to ensure we all have enough to eat and if they disappear, our food security becomes a lot less secure.
3. Economic Value
It might seem crass to place an economic value on animal conservation, but unfortunately in today’s world everything seems to have a price. There is a saying in conservation that goes like this...'If it doesn't pay, it can't stay', meaning that a reserve or park needs to generate funds in some way to be sustainable, otherwise it will be swallowed up by human development.
In actual fact, due to all the reasons given here and more, wildlife and their habitat are actually invaluable to humans and in a perfect world you can't put a price on them.
4. Health Benefits
Apart from the medicinal value, spending time in nature has an amazing way of refreshing the spirit and the soul and it definitely has mental health benefits. Just speaking for myself, when I visit a game reserve or park it almost feel like I'm going home, and I've spoken to many other people who express the same sentiments.
The peace and tranquillity that can be experienced by spending time surrounded by nature is unmatched.
5. Future Generations Education
This is so important, because unless we educate the new generation to care about animal and environmental conservation they won't, because they are so far removed from it in their daily lives.
I'm reminded of an old Dr Seuss saying which is very true...“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”
Visiting conserved wildlife habitats plays a huge role in this so that it can be experienced by children first hand, and they can develop their own sense of why animal conservation is so vital.
6. Wildlife Manage Ecosystems
Humans don't manage ecosystems, the wildlife that inhabits them do. So for example elephants cause changes in their habitat due to their feeding behaviour as well as insects like termites.
We still don't understand they way all these things are linked but if any of the species go extinct this chain is broken and it becomes more difficult and eventually impossible for ecosystems to survive.
Difference Between Conservation and Preservation
This is a question that arises from time to time, and it's understandable because the two concepts are very similar.
Conservation is largely about making sustainable use of environmental habitats where human impact has already and continues to occur. Examples are game reserves and national parks.
Environmental preservation is where attempts are made to keep a habitat in pristine condition and remove it from human interference or impact as far as possible. Examples of this would be sections of the Amazon jungle.
By Bruce Whittaker
Provably Protect Founder