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Young people: Wildlife protection is our job
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Young people: Wildlife protection is our job

Wildlife is disappearing at an alarming rate, writes Daniel Olajuyigbe, a 17-year-old Commonwealth Correspondent from Ekiti State, Nigeria. With many species on the brink of extinction, he is calling on young people to get involved in wildlife conservation.

Between 2007 and 2014, Africa’s Savannah elephant population declined by a staggering 30 per cent, according to the Great Elephant Census. That’s 144,000 elephants lost mostly to poaching and habitat encroachment over a seven-year period. African lions are also on the decline. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, the African lion population has decreased by 43 per cent in 21 years and is regionally extinct in 15 African countries.

Humans are the main threat to elephants, lions and many other animals living in the wild.  Not only do we demand goods and services that thrive on slaughtering wild animals, but urbanization, deforestation and extreme habitat alteration have all contributed to the destruction of wildlife.

It may not be immediately clear why we should care about the destruction of plants and animals that live in the wild, but they are vital to maintaining balance in our ecosystem. In a stable ecosystem, all species have what they need to survive and thrive. As Executive Director of Science and Conservation at WWF, Mike Barrett has said, “Nature is not a ‘nice to have’ – it is our life-support system.”

Plants and animals in the wild also provide medicinal benefits; for example, the venom from cobras is used to treat leprosy. Several countries also benefit economically from wildlife tourism.

As young people, we need to do more to contribute to wildlife conservation so that our communities and countries can continue to enjoy the numerous benefits that the different species in the wild provide.

We can join non-profit organisations dedicated to this cause, participate actively in wildlife conservation campaigns, help in fundraising for the protection of endangered species, and even organize local talks and rallies among our peers and community members to sensitize them to the importance of wildlife to the society. 

I have found that if we want the world to change, the change must begin with us. Let us start taking steps to assist in conserving wildlife to ensure that future generations can enjoy the benefits of a diverse and stable ecosystem.

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Photo Credit: Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

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About me: My name is Daniel Olajuyigbe,  and I am a first-year student of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering. I love writing articles and public speaking. I aspire to become a high flyer in my field and leader in the future, having developed leadership skills over the years. My dream is to become not just an engineer but also an influential person in the world who causes changes for a fairer future.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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