Wildlife education is the study of living beings environment. Wildlife includes all non-domesticated (in other words, “wild”) plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has been happening around the planet for centuries. Domestication definitely has a major impact on the environment. There are some positive aspects to human interaction with wildlife. However, unfortunately, humans are slowly but surely harming the earth’s wildlife in various negative ways and the negatives are beginning to out-weigh the positives.
Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems. Deserts, forests, rain forests, plains, grasslands, and other areas including the most developed urban sites, all have distinct forms of wildlife. While the term in popular culture usually refers to animals that are “untouched by human factors,” most scientists agree that wildlife around the world is impacted by human activities. Sadly, there are fewer and fewer of these pristine areas of animal and plant life left that remain “untouched” by humans.
Historically, humans have a tendency to separate civilization from wildlife in a number of ways, including the legal, social, and moral sense. This has been a reason for debate throughout recorded history. Literature has also made use of the traditional human separation from wildlife. Yet, there are a number of religions that have often declared certain animals to be sacred. And in modern times, there is great concern for the natural environment, which has provoked activists to protest the exploitation of wildlife for human benefit or entertainment.
Anthropologists believe that Stone Age peoples and hunter-gatherers relied on wildlife, both plants and animals, for their food. In fact, some species may have been hunted to extinction by early human hunters. Today, hunting, fishing, or gathering wildlife is still a significant food source in most parts of the world. In other areas, hunting and non-commercial fishing are mainly seen as a sport or recreation, with the edible meat as mostly a side benefit. Meat sourced from wildlife that is not traditionally regarded as game is known as bush meat. The increasing demand for wildlife as a source of traditional food in East Asia is decimating populations of sharks, primates, pangolins and other animals, which they believe have “aphrodisiac” properties.
According to this writing in Wikipedia, in November 2008, almost 900 plucked and “oven-ready” owls and other protected wildlife species were confiscated by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in Malaysia, according to TRAFFIC. The animals were believed to be bound for China, to be sold in wild meat restaurants. Most are listed in CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) which prohibits or restricts such trade. This sad fact is angering many activists and wildlife experts.
“ Malaysia is home to a vast array of amazing wildlife. However, illegal hunting and trade poses a threat to Malaysia’s natural diversity. ” —Chris S. Shepherd
There are countless reports that sadly reflect numerous wildlife species being offered for sale in informal markets along the Amazon River, including wild-caught marmosets sold for next to nothing! Many Amazon species, including peccaries, agoutis, turtles, turtle eggs, anacondas, armadillos, etc., are sold primarily as food. Others in these informal markets, such as monkeys and parrots, are destined for the pet trade, often smuggled into the United States. Still other Amazon species are popular ingredients in traditional medicines sold in local markets. The medicinal value of animal parts is based largely on superstition.
Until humans can treat animals with better care and respect, our earth will continue to suffer their loss. Fortunately there are many programs and organizations who are working feverishly to help save our wildlife and educate people of all backgrounds to understand the importance of this noble cause.