Wildlife conservation is a practice in which people attempt to protect endangered plant and animal species, along with their habitats. The goal is to ensure that nature will be around for future generations to enjoy, and to recognize the importance of wildlife and wilderness lands to humans. Many nations have government agencies dedicated to this practice, and they can help to implement policies designed to protect wildlife. There are also many independent nonprofit organizations that promote various conservation causes.
A number of different disciplines are involved in wildlife conservation. In order to practice it, people must use biology and other sciences to identify populations that are at risk, and to study those populations to learn more about their needs. Economics often becomes involved when organizations work to set land aside for the use of wildlife, with conservationists attempting to arrive at efficient land-use solutions. The field also relies heavily on education, using outreach programs to teach people about wildlife and to show people why conserving natural habitats is important.
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Wildlife conservationists work all over the world to identify species that are in need of assistance and to protect them. This discipline often involves capturing animals and breeding them in captivity to ensure that the population remains large and diverse while conservationists work to establish territory for the animals so that they can have a safe place in the wild. Conservation also needs to be balanced with other land uses. Many nations, for example, value forms of recreation in the wilderness, like hiking, camping, and hunting, making it difficult to set aside land specifically for the use of animals.
A wide assortment of issues intersect with this field. Establishing protected territories for animals might, for example, infringe on plans to use land for farming or housing. A wildlife park might also interfere with international borders or traditional tribal lands. Problems like pollution, deforestation, overhunting, and other environmental issues also play a role. Despite the many barriers to conservation that must be overcome, many people believe that the fight to save wildlife and natural habitat is critical.
Many organizations that promote wildlife conservation use famous and photogenic animals like pandas, cheetahs, gray wolves, and elephants to promote their cause. By attracting people to the issue, these organizations hope to gather support and funds to protect animals that are less well-known, such as rare and endangered birds, small mammals, and reptiles. These animals also provide a rallying point and symbol for conservation.