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Bindi Irwin's essay: Edited

Edited Version of Bindi Irwin's essay submitted to the US Department of State's e-Journal.

Give Wildlife a Fighting Chance. Bindi Irwin

Often when people hear the term ‘wildlife conservation’ they think of distant woodland creatures. But wildlife conservation hits much closer to home that you might think — no matter where you live. Because wildlife conservation is ultimately about us: people. 

Like many wildlife conservationists, I believe that the greatest threats to the world’s animals stem from one incontrovertible fact that seems to be the ‘elephant in the room’ that we don’t like to discuss: We humans are consuming Earth’s resources — including its wildlife — faster than they can be replaced.

FACING THE ELEPHANT

As we buy more, eat more, drink more and waste more, the animals with whom we share the Earth pay the price. Shrinking habitats, depleted rivers and oceans, and increased poaching threaten to wipe many animal species from the face of our planet forever. 

Losing a species has an effect on far more than just the animals themselves.

When a species becomes extinct, the plants and other animals — including humans — that share its environment are affected.

Some scientists believe that at we may be approaching Earth’s sixth mass extinction. Mass extinctions are periods in Earth's history when unusually large numbers of species die out within a relatively limited time frame. The previous five periods of massive extinction were caused by natural events, such as asteroids or volcanic eruptions. Today large numbers of species are dying because of human causes: destruction of natural habitats and consumption of wild animals for food and consumer products. 

CREATURES, NOT COMMODITIES

One of the greatest messages my family and I try to communicate is the nonconsumptive use of wildlife. We do not want to see our wildlife — our elephants, crocodiles, kangaroos and sharks — being purchased, eaten or worn.

We try to discourage people from ever purchasing products made from endangered animals, such as ivory trinkets, tiger skins, or medicine from rhino horn. When people stop buying these products, the killing of these animals will stop.

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