Wildlife is a valuable part of the natural world, providing balance and stability to the ecosystems in which they live. The loss of wildlife habitat has a devastating effect on the health of our planet, and is often the reason why animals become endangered or extinct.
Conservation is the practice of protecting plant and animal species and their habitats, as well as teaching people about living sustainably with them. There are many ways to get involved in protecting the wildlife in your area, from planting native plants to restoring habitats to volunteering with a local wildlife conservation organization.
Protecting Wildlife Habitats
Endangered Species Conservation
Protecting wildlife habitats is important for all kinds of reasons, including their ability to survive in the wild and provide food, shelter, water and a place for raising families. Habitat destruction is the primary threat to 85 percent of threatened and endangered species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Your Voice matters
It’s up to us to speak up about the issues that affect our wildlife. You can write to your elected officials encouraging them to support policies that protect animals and their habitats, as well as share information about current action alerts from AWI.
You can also take a stand by symbolically adopting an animal you love or one that is endangered in a far-off location, such as with Defenders of Wildlife. Your donations to this nonprofit go towards improving the habitats, research and monitoring of the animal you choose, and ultimately saving it from extinction.
Photography is often used to draw attention to the plight of wildlife and communicate a message about conservation, whether in articles or photo galleries. Photographers like National Geographic photojournalist Ami Vitale and Tom Svensson have used photos to raise awareness of wildlife extinctions, poaching, illegal trade and habitat loss, and help bring about change.
Wildlife Photography Tips
1. Put the animal first and the camera second
As wildlife photographers, we often find ourselves in a situation where we need to get close to our subjects while maintaining a distance that respects the animal’s needs and keeps their natural habitat intact. While this can be a tricky balance to achieve, it’s essential to keep your photography as ethical as possible so you can avoid disturbing the subject or damaging their habitat.
2. Make conservation a goal of your wildlife photography
Some people may not think to consider that their wildlife photos can be an important tool in the fight for conservation. This is especially true for the New Big 5 project, where photographer Graeme Green sees photography as an opportunity to help conserve some of the planet’s most iconic animals, and to highlight issues such as habitat loss.
3. Use photography techniques to emphasize the visual narrative of your images
In order to create impactful and truthful wildlife photography, it’s important to be open to a wide range of techniques. Using different framing, lighting and composition tools can change the tone of your photographs and emphasize the story you’re trying to tell.