WHY CONSERVATION MATTERS?
The diversity of life on earth is too precious to be lost or squandered. However, as the human population steadily grows, and as people convert more open lands into farms and cities, wild animals and plants lose their place in the ecosystem...sometimes forever. Before we have a chance to discover what part they play in our ecosystem, dozens of species may go extinct.
It is not too late to change their fate! Organizations like the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary (IEAS) are working together to learn about endangered species and bring them back from the brink of extinction. How can you help? You can help with conservation simply by staying informed about endangered animals and plants and the importance of protecting our natural heritage. There are many ways to reduce your impact on the environment and preserve natural habitats. Even the smallest acts can make a difference. Buy products with less packaging whenever you can, and recycle whatever you can. Avoid using harmful chemicals around your home. If these get into the water or ground, they can disperse into the environment and harm living things miles away. When you travel abroad, don't buy souvenirs made from endangered animals. These could include animal hides and body parts, tortoise-shells, ivory or coral, and even some traditional medicines. Join a local organization that looks after local nature reserves. You can help remove weeds and plant local native species, which encourages native animals to return. If you want to help endangered species, contribute to organizations like IEAS that work to protect, care for, and provide a quality life for captive endangered felines. At IEAS, we are doing our part to help with the reemergence of black bears into the state of Texas. With the reemergence of the American black bear into Texas, this is a prime opportunity to educate the public about the importance of preserving these animals. During the tours, we educate the public how to coexist with the black bear thus helping the bears in the wild increase their chances of successful reintroduction. For once, we have the opportunity to help bring back a native animal into the state of Texas. By educating the public, the reemergence of black bears in a viable population is not a dream but a reality.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The South China Tiger (Panthera tigris amovensis) is perhaps the most critically endangered of the five remaining tiger subspecies. Though its status is largely unknown due to a lack of empirical data, it is estimated that fewer than 20 individuals may remain in the wild. The estimate is based primarily on anecdotal sighting reports from former hunters, since officials have not actually seen a South China tiger in more than 20 years. This precarious dilemma necessitates that immediate conservation priorities be established, and that action be taken to determine if recovery of the wild population is possible.
- It is just as important to care of the animal's emotional needs as it is their physical and dietary needs? At IEAS we do this through our Emotional Enrichment Program.
- Per studies, only about 5,000 wild tigers live across Asia. The Amur or Siberian tiger lives primarily in Southeastern Russia. The South China tiger occurs only in southern China. The Indochinese tiger's range extends across most of Southeast Asia. The Bengal tiger is found primarily in India, while the Sumatran tiger is restricted to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The Bali, Caspian, and Javan tigers have all become extinct in the past 70 years.
- Once widespread across arid Africa and into the Middle East and east to India, the cheetah has suffered dramatic declines over the past century. It now lives in Africa while a few may survive in Iran.
- Jaguars once lived throughout the Americas, from Arizona to Argentina. However, hunting and forest clearing has reduced their numbers and forced them out of their habitat into interaction with humans. Belize has one of the healthiest populations of Jaguars in Central America, and the Jaguar is protected from hunting throughout Belize.
- Tigers have been known to eat up to 60 pounds of meat in one night, but they usually consume about 12 pounds during a meal. It may take days for a tiger to finish eating its kill. The cat eats until it's full, and then covers the carcass with leaves and dirt. When it is hungry again, the tiger comes back to feed some more until the food is gone.
- There are over 1200 federally listed threatened and endangered US species.
- As of 2006, there are less than 25 Amur leopards left in the wild making them the rarest exotic large cat in the world.
- Although there are about 8,000 southern white rhinos in the wild, fewer than 30 northern white rhinos remain.
- The world lost more than 90% of its tiger population in the 20th century: only about 5,000 remain.
- Leopards are great generalists in terms of habitat use. They seem to be able to live in almost any area that has sufficient food and cover. They have one of the widest distributions of any of the felids.
- Cougars are the most widely distributed of any of the American cats. Their range runs from Canada, North America -west of the Great Plains, southern Florida, Mexico, Central America and South America.
- Margays were once found in Texas, but are now considered to be extinct in the area.