Helping endangered animals involves understanding the causes, nature and extent of the danger that an animal species faces. Having established this, we must work out what the human contribution to the cause of the danger is. We must then work out what we can do to rectify the danger so that that the species is preserved.
Action with understanding
Understanding the causes of endangerment
We must make sure that we understand why a species is endangered.
Loss/destruction of habitat
Danger generally derives from loss of habitat, which means that food supplies, shelter and breeding opportunities become limited. Sometimes habitat problems are nothing to do with human activity. For example, koalas only eat eucalyptus leaves, so they are vulnerable to damage to that tree. Humans also contribute to destruction of habitat, for example in Borneo, where orang utans are under threat from logging and deforestation.
Understanding the human contribution
We have to determine what humans are doing and who is to blame.
We might identify problems of criminal activity, such as illegal logging. We might also find that the activity is legal in its own country, yet ethically wrong. The activities of irresponsible companies and governments will come to our attention.
Fur / ivory trade
The key to helping the animals is to locate the web of economic activities that are threatening them and determine that we will respond to it. This means identifying retail outlets that might be profiting from trade that threatens endangered species,, for instance trade of fur, ivory or crocodile skin.
Using our knowledge
Knowing that a species is threatened by human economic activity enables us to make purchasing decisions, refusing to buy from companies that endanger animals.
We may join boycotts of some companies. However, we must also be vigilant so that materials from irresponsible companies do not slip in unnoticed. We must check the labels very carefully. We might also put pressure on irresponsible governments that tolerate danger to habitat (by swamping them with letters and petitions).
If you want to help to save animals, donate to animal charities working for endangered species. Some charities buy up areas of forest and keep them as reserves.
We need to be aware of companies that pollute the environment and pressurise them through a refusal to purchase from them. Some people might become shareholders and speak up at shareholder meetings against irresponsible policies.
It is also important to prevent trade in endangered species. There is a problem with reptiles being smuggled into Europe as exotic pets, although they are totally unsuitable for this. We should discourage people from keeping these creatures as pets so that they can stay in their proper habitat.