Whether you are a truly committed animal conservationist or simply enjoy seeing wildlife when you get the chance, almost everybody can hardly fail to be both shocked and dismayed at the news that earth has lost half of its wildlife in the last forty years.

Someone like thegreatprojects.com can take you right to the heart of a conservation project and show you what is being done in an attempt to reverse this worrying decline in our wildlife population, and make no mistake, there is plenty of work to be done if many species are going to be around for future generations.

Steep decline in numbers

The WWF reported in 2014 that the number of wild animals on earth has actually halved in the last 40 years, largely as a result of unsustainable culling and a systematic destruction of their natural habitat, in order to make space for human developments.

The loss of half of the animal population in such a relatively short space of time, has been blamed on human consumption, according to the WWF report. The organization is calling for a greater level of protection for the animal population, from development and deforestation practices that have proved so damaging for animal, bird and fish numbers throughout the world.

Wolf in Montana

Many examples of falling numbers

The headline rate is alarming enough in its own right, but when you look at specific animal populations, you get a true sense of how it is all combining to take such a toll on the numbers overall.

For example, forest elephants based in central Africa are surely on borrowed time, when you consider that poaching rates are now believed to exceed current birth rates. Marine animal populations are also demonstrating a 40% decline overall, with turtle numbers in particular, falling by as much as 80%, as a result of getting caught up in fishing nets, and a general destruction of their natural nesting grounds.

Taking action

If we do nothing, the world will look a very different place in another 4-50 years’ time for sure, but there are conservation projects ongoing in many parts of the world, aimed at restoring the numbers and trying to safeguard the future of certain endangered species.

There are a number of ways to get involved in wildlife conservation, and the combined effort of everyone who does something to preserve the creatures that are as much a part of the fabric of our plant as we are, can make a positive difference.

Volunteering

There are many different ways and varied levels of involvement when it comes to volunteering.

Not everyone has the spare money to donate some of their cash to worthy conservation causes, but if you can’t give money, you can always give some of your time.

Volunteering can cover so many different things, from helping to rescue wild animals in distress, to cleaning up affected areas like beaches and wildlife habitats, and even spreading the conservation message to others.

You should be able to find a diverse selection of wildlife conservation projects, both locally and internationally, and you will often find that many zoos have volunteer programs that you can get involved with.

Adoption can help

Adopting an orangutan for example, will help provide a conservation project with some valuable financial support and in return for your generosity, you will normally get regular updates and pictures to show what progress is being made with your aid.

You can always find a project or cause that makes a connection with your conscience, and even though you might sometimes consider that there is perhaps a commercial angle to some adoption schemes, there is no question that this type of support really can make a difference.

Preserving your local wildlife

The plight of certain iconic wild animals will understandably get the headlines when it comes to conservation efforts, but habitat destruction is occurring on a local as well as a global scale, so there are some things you can do to help preserve your local wildlife as well.

It is considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature that habitat destruction is the principal threat to about 85% of all threatened and endangered species. By planting trees and restoring wetland areas in your part of the planet, you will be doing your bit to preserve and encourage local wildlife to prosper.

When you look at the alarming decline in population numbers, we should all be wild for wildlife, and consider some ways to contribute to the conservation effort required, before it is too late.

Michael Starbuck has been Managing Director of The Great Projects since 2011. It was in 2013 that his work in increasing volunteering projects with animals work was recognised as The Great Projects was a finalist at the World Responsible Tourism awards in the category of Best for Responsible Wildlife Experiences. It has since become the world leader in the provision of volunteers to aid orangutan conservation and now works with 2 of the biggest charities in this field, International Animal Rescue and the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, something which Michael is extremely proud of.