Extraordinary Things You Can Do to Save Endangered Species
We all know that there are many endangered species throughout the world. The word ‘endangered’ means that these species are at a high risk of becoming extinct if no steps are taken to protect and restore their habitats. A number of these species are at risk of extinction and are being threatened by industrialization, global climate change, overhunting, or reckless farming and population management practices that cause loss of habitat. Many of these species get killed due to the fur or oil they produce or as a food source.
We certainly want to do our part to keep them from going extinct in order to protect the ecosystem. But you are just one person, so there is not anything you can do, right?
There are a number of things that you can do in order to make a positive impact on this wildlife. Being a responsible citizen, you should act on behalf of threatened and endangered wildlife – animals, fish, plants, and insects – and the wild places they call home.
There are many reasons why it should be important to all of us to save Endangered Species; from ethical reasons to aesthetic, ecological, educational, historical, to scientiﬁc value to the world and its people… We are not to put ourselves, humans, always first and by saving others we will also save ourselves.
About one million species are threatened with extinction.
Yeah. One million of the various types of living things on this planet are in a dangerous decline, or are precariously close to becoming extinct—many of which will probably happen within our or our children’s lifetimes if we don’t put all of our efforts together to make a change.
But wait, there’s more! The populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have declined 60 percent in a little over 40 years.
The more species that become threatened, vulnerable, or endangered, the closer we Homo Sapiens come to being added to the ever-expanding roster of could-be-extinct species.
It can be difficult to explain biodiversity, conservation, and their importance to members of our community who might not be up-to-speed on the issues. It is even more difficult to call them to action. But we mustn’t ever stop trying.
The health of an ecosystem is maintained by its plants and animals. When species become endangered, it is a sign of an ecosystem’s imbalance.
This balance is difficult to maintain: the loss of one species often triggers the loss of others. When gray wolves were hunted to near extinction in Yellowstone National Park, beaver populations also decreased significantly. This is because elk, without the wolf as its predator, grazed more heavily on plants needed by beavers for winter survival.
Everything in nature is connected. If you remove one animal or plant it upsets the balance of nature, can change the ecosystem completely and may cause other animals to suffer. For example, bees may seem small and insignificant, but they have a huge role to play in our ecosystem – they are pollinators. This means they are responsible for the reproduction plants. Without bees, many plant species would go extinct, which would upset the entire food chain.
The conservation of endangered species is important for humans as well. A well-balanced ecosystem purifies the environment, giving us clean air to breathe, a healthy water system to support diverse marine life, and arable land for agricultural production.
It also provides us with unique plants with medicinal properties, which serve as the foundation of our medicines. When ecosystems fail, our own health is at risk. By saving endangered species, we are ultimately saving ourselves.
From Amur Leopards, Black Rhinos and Bornean Orangutans to Hawksbill Turtles, Vaquitas and Bluefin Tuna, there are many endangered animals that are at risk of extinction. What that means is that we are at risk of losing these animals completely.
Organizations put considerable time, effort and money into saving endangered animals, but why?
Extinction is a natural process that would happen with or without humans. But, while that is the case, research shows that extinctions are happening quicker now than ever before, some calculated that this is happening a hundred times faster than before due to human interference. We are responsible for cleaning our own mess.
We only have one earth, so we all need to do our part.
Never lose hope… This class is full of solutions!
Bring: Earth ball to show children where you live and where the endangered species are.
This is designed as 1.5hr Class.
In this class I took the 10 most endangered species as of 2019… you can go though with a more child familiar list like Panda Bears etc. but I enjoyed educating myself and the children about real facts and a few animals we were not so familiar with.
Keeping it local is also cool! Know what species in your area are endangered. This is the first step in making yourself aware and sharing that awareness with others. In most places, there will be species that are endangered. If you know what species are endangered, you can let everyone around you know so that they are able to act in a way that will not put these animals’ lives in danger. Bring this knowledge to your class!
Seated in the circle each participant shares their name and answers the following question:
“From what you know, name one animal that you think is endangered and what do you think caused it to be endangered?”
Younger children can just share their name and favorite animal, and you can even do that animal in a yoga pose with the whole group, and continue to explain that there are many animals in the world that are in danger of extinction, which means that there are very few of them left and that if we do not start doing something about there may be none left by the time we grow up.
In our class today we will explore some of the most endangered animals as of 2019 and how we can make a difference to them with small changes in our habits and daily choices.
Never lose hope… This class is full with solutions!
Play fun upbeat music and have everybody dance. When you stop the music, everyone stops dancing and freezes in the yoga pose of an endangered animal.
First you can call out the poses, but then call students names and encourage them to name an endangered species.
Yoga Animal Tag
When the person who is 'it' tags someone, they say the name of an animal or a yoga pose and then the other child must do that pose. If you are tagged, you need to stay still in that yoga pose until the round is finished (so in this game, you either get to do a lot of yoga, or a lot of jogging!). One round is finished when the child who is 'it' has turned everyone into yoga poses.
Before we go around the world to save endangered animals, there are some things we can do right here at home to make a difference:
Keep That Bin Closed - Make certain that your home is not a hazard to wildlife. The first thing you can do is to secure all of your trash so that animals can’t get to it. Use locking lids on your trash bins in order to keep your trash from becoming a hazard.
In this game, the teacher or a student or a few students start standing with their knees bent as in Chair Pose. They are a rubbish bin, and they place their hands on their head to be the lid. All the other kids are wild (not too wild!) animals trying to open the bin by getting the bin hands off their head and eat the rubbish. The bin person, being a conservationist, tries to keep the bin closed by keeping their hands on their head. Have fun with it!
Stop Wasting Water - Reduce the amount of water you use so that there is more local water for the wildlife.
In this game everyone freeze in a pose of something that dispenses water:
- Hose - Snake Pose
- Sprinkler - Tall Mountain Pose on your tiptoes with your hands raised to the side
- Tap - Triangle Pose
- Washing Machine - Sitting cross legged with hands on shoulders
- And more - Be creative!
Be very still, as the teacher will now go around and listen very closely to all of the poses making sure that no water is leaking and being wasted.
This is a mindfulness game that requires the children to remain very still and very quiet. Don’t take it too seriously though.
Can You See That Window? Another thing you can do at home is to place decals on your windows in order to keep birds from colliding with them. Because a large number of birds die from flying into windows, these decals will help to protect the local wildlife.
In this game make a line in the room, maybe with a Yoga Belt, which represents an invisible window. Everyone in the group can assume a pose of a bird:
- Toucan or Parrot - Kneeling down balancing on tiptoes
- Stork or Flamingo - Standing on one leg with wings stretched to the sides
- Falcon - Warrior 3 or Airplane Pose
- Eagle - Eagle Pose
- Dodo - Squat
- Ostrich - Standing Forward Bend with hands tucked under feet like hiding the head in the sand
- And more - The sky is the limit!
After assuming the pose, one at a time or a few at a time the birds can fly towards the imaginary window and bang into it and see what happens. Be dramatic!
Planting Seeds - Planting flora that is natural to the area will provide food for the wildlife around you. This is very important because industry often destroys these plants, which leaves the animals in certain places without any food. Do your part by ensuring that as much of this plant life as possible is available to them.
Also do not use toxic herbicides or pesticides. Many people want to do what they can in order to have a beautiful looking lawn or garden, but certain herbicides and pesticides are horrible pollutants that wind up causing severe damage to the environment. Bugs die from the poison and birds and reptiles and small mammals eat those and become poisoned too. Find alternative ways to keep your lawn and garden thriving without polluting the environment and having a negative effect on the wildlife in your area.
In pairs, one partner is a seed in Child Pose and the other partner is the gardener. Using their imagination, the Gardener waters the Seed and care for the soil. The Seed Person stays relaxed now as the Gardner sculpt them gradually to sprout and grow first into a small plant and then gradually into a tree. The Seed does not help, they simply stay in the pose that the Gardner moves them into. The Gardners can continue to help stabilize the trees by pressing their foot into the earth (this helps in finding more stability in the Tree Pose). Switch roles!
In The Ocean We have a Mission - Clean Up Time!
Now, let’s start traveling and see how far humans have impacted the earth… Get ready to dive right into it!
Jellyfish Jellyfish Plastic-bag! Don’t use plastic! This is very important… Recycle and buy recycled or reusable products. Simply recycling and buying eco-friendly products can go a long way to help our animal friends. Do not purchase anything that is made of wood that comes from rainforests, and know the consequences of every product you buy. Do not buy plastic products or at the very least, limiting the amount of plastic you buy, and recycling what you use, can go a long way. Animals often mistake plastic for food, which means that plastics can cause a huge hazard for many endangered species, especially turtles who mistake plastic bags for jellyfish (their staple food) and choke.
This game is another yoga version of Duck Duck Goose. Everyone stands in a circle in Jellyfish Pose, standing forward bend… keep it a bit flowy and wavy as you all move your tentacle arms like jellyfish.
One participant is the Turtle going around the outside of the circle touching each jellyfish and saying ”jellyfish”. When the Turtle touch someone and says “plastic bag” the Plastic Bag person starts chasing them. The Turtle tries to outrun the Jellyfish running around the circle and take their place in the circle becoming a jellyfish before the Plastic Bag catches them. The Plastic Bag person now becomes the next turtle to swim around and say “Jellyfish Jellyfish…”.
If the Turtle is caught by the Plastic Bag, they can rest (or be a dead turtle) in the centre of the jellyfish circle until another Turtle is caught and they can go back to the circle.
Leatherback Sea Turtle
The population of the world’s largest turtle is dropping at an alarming rate.
The leatherback sea turtle is the earth’s biggest turtle and has the largest range of any species, swimming all over the globe from the tropics to the subpolar regions. When it comes time to dig a nest and lay its eggs, it crawls out onto sandy sub-tropical beaches the world over. The leatherback is also critically endangered. According to the IUCN, in 1982 there were around 115,000 adult female leatherback turtles in the world; just 14 years later, there were only 20,000 to 30,000—and the population has continued to plummet. The leatherback’s problems include theft of its eggs by humans, illegal hunting and nesting-habitat loss due to beach development, and the erosion of beaches due to global climate change. In addition, leatherbacks sometimes die after ingesting plastic debris they find floating in the ocean, which they mistake for food such as jellyfish.
From sitting, bring one heel against the opposite hip. Take your other leg and place it over the bottom leg, bringing the heel against its opposite hip. Bend forward to rest on your legs. Place one hand behind your back, bringing it from the top, and the other hand behind your back bringing it from the bottom, and hold hands. This will give you a nice stretch to the shoulders and chest! Switch your legs and hands after a few breaths.
Fun in this pose:
If you can’t reach your hands, you can grab your shirt
You can try an easier hand position by placing your hands under your feet and using your palms as sea turtle fins
Move your feet as the turtle moves his fins
Northern Right Whale
Hunted to near extinction, only 450 right whales still swim the Atlantic.
The right whale got its name because 19th century whalers considered it the “right” whale to kill, as it not only was full of valuable whale oil, but it floated after it was dead, which made it easy to handle and process. As a result, it was driven to near extinction. Though now protected by law, right whales continue to suffer losses due to ship strikes, entanglements in commercial fishing gear that often cause them to drown—and now, increasingly, and as a result global climate change, to the scarcity of the tiny crustaceans on which they feed.
Photo by Richard Sagredo on Unsplash
Lie down on your belly with your legs together and your arms straight out in front. With a deep breath in, lift up your hands, chest, and legs. Your body is a long whale body now, and your arms are a big big jaw!
High Flying Whale Pose - The base partner lies on their back with their legs straight up. The flying partner starts standing with their feet beside the base’s head and heels close the base shoulders, facing away from the base. The flyer then leans back and places their lower back on the base’s feet (they can hold onto the base’s legs with their hands just for a moment now). The base holds the flyer by the ankles and straightens their arms to lift the flyer up. The flyer relaxes their arms to the sides and enjoys flying high like a whale!
We’ll continue our journey in the ocean with a boat…
The world’s smallest—and rarest—marine mammal
The vaquita, a tiny porpoise (small toothed whales that are very closely related to oceanic dolphins). that lives in the Gulf of California, is the most endangered marine mammal in the world—and AAW‘s new Number One on our list critically endangered species. Vaquitas—which are the size of a loaf of bread a birth—often drown after becoming entangled in illegal gill nets used by fishermen in Mexican waters. Vaquitas were only discovered by scientists in the 1950s; there may now be as few as 30 of them remaining.
Kneeling, interlace your fingers and rest your forearms on the mat. Tuck your toes in and lift your bottom up. Keeping your legs straight, bring your body forward and almost flat to the mat when you breath out, then bring your body back up when you breath in; this is how the dolphin swims!
Fun in this pose:
- Swim faster and faster!
- Make dolphin sonar sounds
- Swim in a well-coordinated group like dolphins do with their friends!
- You can be A Baby Vaquita and make this pose easier by keeping your knees on the mat when you swim up and down
In Europe Drive Slowly
The first big extinction of animals in Europe after the Ice Age happened when Homo Sapiens first started migrating from Africa through Asia to Europe less than 40,000 years ago. When they arrived they started to hunt many of the big animals. The ecological imbalance it created caused many other smaller species to disappear as well. In the last century, with the expansion of human population and the advance of unchecked industry and technology, the rapid extinction of species has increased again and more than ever before.
Watch the road and drive carefully. Particularly if you live or commute in a rural area, roads are one of the biggest hazards that animals face. If you are driving on a road that wildlife is known to cross, make certain to drive slowly and carefully and look out for animals so that you will not hit them. It seems simple, but too many distracted drivers kill too many animals on the roads.
This is a trust game… Standing in pairs, the person on the front closes their eyes (don’t open them, no matter what) and is the car. The person behind places their hands on the car’s shoulders and is the driver (eyes open please). The driver drives the car around the room. Start very slow to build trust, then move faster and faster and make some sharp turns too all while making sure that everyone still feels safe. End the round by driving nice and slow again before switching roles.
The world’s rarest cat: Only 40 left in Russia’s Far East
The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a very rare leopard subspecies that lives only in the remote and snowy northern forests of eastern Russian’s Primorye region. Its former range included Korea and northern China, but the Amur leopard is now extinct in those countries. A 2007 census counted only 14-20 adult Amur leopards and 5-6 cubs. Threats facing the species include habitat loss due to logging, road building and encroaching civilization, poaching (illegal hunting) and global climate change.
Begin in the cat pose, stretch one hand forward (you can scratch the floor a bit) and then switch hands. Do the same with the legs, one at a time; this could be your leopard tail. Imagine that you are in the forest, the mountains, grassland or even the desert.
Fun in this pose:
- Lift opposite leg and hand at the same time. It’s not easy to balance here!
- Lift the same leg and hand at the same time
- Lift one leg up, bend the knee and hold the ankle with the opposite hand; try to gradually bring your foot up and away from your hips, while still holding onto the ankle
In Asia Shop Wisely
Conscious Consumerism… Do not purchase illegal products that come from endangered species. If you travel abroad, there is the chance that you might come across a product being sold in an illegal market that harms endangered species. Do not participate in this. Do not purchase ivory, medicine that’s made out of animal body parts (like the Rhino’s horn) or any other product that likely required the killing of an endangered animal.
Standing in the circle, the first participant say “I went to the shop and I bought ______” and makes a yoga pose for it. The second participant also says “I went to the shop and I bought...” first saying and acting in a yoga pose what the person before them did and then adding their own. The game continues as each participant in their turn repeats all the items and poses that were said before and adds their own.
It’s a memory game where you get to do lots of yoga along the way!
If it is a small group, you can do a few rounds, adding more and more items and poses to your list.
You can also play where everyone repeats all of the items and poses together. Less memory is needed here by each individual and everyone gets to do more poses. Yay!
No more than 60 of these swamp-dwelling Asian rhinos exist
The Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) is the most endangered of the world’s five rhinoceros species, with an estimated 40-60 animals remaining on the western tip of the Island of Java (Indonesia) in Ujung Kulon National Park. The last member of another tiny population in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park was killed by poachers in 2011. The water- and swamp-loving Javan rhinoceros formerly ranged throughout Southeast Asia and Indonesia, but has been hunted to near-extinction for its horn, which is used to make Asian folk medicines. Although it is now protected, it may not have a large-enough breeding population to prevent the species from going extinct.
Come into a low lunge (you can keep your back knee up or rest it on the mat) and place your palm (you can also do this with two hands) on your forehead to create the rhino’s horn.
The Saola - An Asian Unicorn
So rare it is almost mythological, the saola hangs on by its hoof tips in a forest full of poachers’ snares
The saola (pronounced sow-la) has been referred to as the Asian unicorn because it is so rare and seldom seen. It is also Critically Endangered, with no more than several hundred individuals remaining in several isolated areas of tropical forest stretching along the border between Vietnam and Laos.
Related to cattle but resembling an antelope, the saola—brown with white patches on its head and face and sporting a pair of straight, spindly horns—can grow to a height at the shoulders of a little over three feet (one meter), and a weight of up to 220 pounds (100 kilos).
The saola was first discovered in 1992, and since then has been seen only a handful of times, even by researchers who were looking very hard. In fact, until late 2013 when a camera trap in Vietnam took photos of a single animal, no live saola had been spotted for 15 years.
Illegal hunting and trapping are the main factors pushing the saola toward extinction. Southeast Asian forests have experienced a huge upsurge in poaching over the last few years due to a growing market for wild game and skyrocketing demand for rare wildlife for use in making Asian folk medicines. But the Asian unicorn is also threatened by deforestation.
Come into a Warrior One Pose with arms stretched up high. Lean back slightly and lift your arms up proudly to show your beautiful horns.
The world’s biggest cat is almost gone
Four subspecies of tiger—the Caspian, Javan, Balinese, and South China tigers—have already gone extinct due to habitat loss and relentless hunting by humans. Five subspecies remain: the Amur, or Siberian, tiger, the Bengal tiger, the Indochinese tiger, the Malayan tiger, and the Sumatran tiger. All of these tigers live in parts of Asia, and all are hanging by a thread in the wild, with fewer than 3,000 remaining in total, and illegal hunting claiming more of them on a weekly basis. The main driver of this looming and seemingly inevitable extinction is the insatiable appetite for tiger bones, skins, eyes, and other body parts in China and Vietnam, where tiger organs are used to make an array of traditional folk medicines. In those countries the complete carcass of a single tiger can be sold for as much as U.S. $50,000, which means that a poacher who kills a wild tiger can earn enough money to support his family for several years. Because of this huge incentive, poachers—illegal hunters—are willing to take great risks to kill tigers.
Begin by lying on your belly, hands on the mat under your shoulders. Slowly push your chest backward, keeping your knees in place, so that your bottom sticks up in the air a little with a gentle backward bend in your spine.
An alternative is to start from the cat pose, then slowly lower your chest down to the mat by bending your elbows and keeping them hugging your ribcage. Keep your bottom up. After you have found this position, you can stretch your arms forward.
Fun in this pose:
- Slowly and quietly, sneak forward like a tiger… and when you’re ready, pounce on your prey!
Chinese Giant Salamander
Humans are eating the world’s largest amphibian into extinction
The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianas) is the world’s largest amphibian, growing to lengths of up to 6 feet (2 meters). It used to be common throughout central, southwestern and southern China, where it lives in streams in the forested hills and lays up to 500 eggs at a time in underwater burrows guarded by the male. However, the Chinese giant salamander has now almost completely disappeared due to its over-exploitation as a food source.
Come into Plank pose. Keep your arms straight, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your toes tucked in and your whole body completely straight, from your heels to the top of your head.
Fun in this pose:
- Stick your tongue in and out like a lizard
- Walk like a lizard taking small steps with your toes and hands
Double Salamander (Partner Pose) - One person comes into a salamander pose and the other partner gently puts one hand at a time on each of the base salamander ankles, and then using one leg at a time, bring one foot to each shoulder of the bottom salamander, coming into plank pose on top.
In Africa Save Animal’s Habitat
Again, a major cause of species dwindling and extinction is loss of habitat because of farming, housing and industrialization. In this game, we are going to try and help the animals by keeping our forest standing for as long as we can...
Count to Tree… While we try to make most of the games non-competitive, sometimes competition can be a fun way to make the children stay longer in a pose. In this game we all stand in tree pose and start counting slowly from one. Whoever can stay on one foot the longest, without putting the other foot down, wins that round and is declared as the animal saver of the day!
Northern Sportive Lemur
Here’s the scarcest of Madagascar’s fast-dwindling lemur species
It is very difficult to say that one lemur species is more endangered than another. There are around 100 species of these primates, all of which live on the Island of Madagascar, off the southeast coast of Africa. Virtually all of them are declining dramatically in population, mostly because of habitat loss due to logging in the forests where they live—but also because of illegal hunting. Many lemur species are listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Researchers recently reported that there may be fewer than 20 of the Critically Endangered northern sportive lemurs left in the wild. According to the IUCN, the northern sportive lemur lives on and around just one small mountain at the northern tip of Madagascar. This lemur is a tiny creature, weighing less than two pounds. It has large eyes to give it better night vision.
Lemurs like to sunbathe and that’s why their pose looks like this: Sit on your mat, feet apart on the ground. Bring your hands under your knees and spread your fingers apart, palms facing up.
Fun in this pose:
- Lift your feet up and balance on your bottom
- Do the same pose lying on your back and enjoying the warm sunshine!
Western Lowland Gorilla
Disease and illegal hunting are wiping out this gentle giant
There are two lowland gorillas native to West Africa: the western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla), which is the most numerous of the four gorilla subspecies, with over 100,000 individuals in the wild, and the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla diehli), of which only a tiny population of a few hundred remains. Both are listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered because of the fact that their populations have declined by over 80 percent during the past 25 years—and are projected to continue dropping over the coming decades. Causes for the increasing scarcity include habitat loss and illegal commercial hunting by poachers, who sell gorillas for food in West African markets. But the largest killer of gorillas has been a deadly illness—the incurable ebola virus—which has ended the lives of up to 90 percent of these great apes in some forest areas.
Begin in a wide stance with knees bent out to the sides, ideally 90 degrees so that they are right over your ankles. Pound your chest with your fists as you roar like a gorilla.
Fun in this pose:
- Bring your fists to the floor and walk like a gorilla!
Two Gorillas (Partner Pose) - Stand back to back with a friend keeping around a foot between you, spread your legs apart and bend down, holding onto your Gorilla friend’s hands. Can you see your Gorilla friend? You can also swing from side to side like two Gorillas and make Gorilla sounds.
Still Water & Breathing With Trees Meditation
Continuing to quiet time with some quiet competition… Everyone lies on the floor completely still. If someone moves, they have to step over to the side. In this game, rather than saying “don’t move”, we invite the action of stillness which makes it more fun and more effective.
Now, breath deeply and try to feel how with your breath you connect to your friend, the animals, the trees and to the whole universe. We constantly breathe each other’s air and we nourish each other in this way. We and all the other animals inhale oxygen and exhale more carbon dioxide - the flowers, grass and trees breathe in carbon dioxide and in return exhale more oxygen. We all support each other and we are all interconnected through our breath and through our every choice and every action.
Slowly sit back in the circle and have each participant share one thing that they are going to do differently when they return home today to make sure that we care for our animal brothers and sisters and co-exist for way longer together.
Spread the word... Share what we have learned together in this class about what individuals can do in order to help conserve our endangered wildlife.
Join the Inner Circle for more class plans!