In the past I have donated, and still do, to many different charities, but animal and environment conservation efforts have been my primary focus. I love animals, and this goes back since I was a little kid. My dad used to take me to the zoo a lot and I have always enjoyed being so close to these magnificent creatures. Once, when I was five years old, I tried to climb into the Cheetah exhibit because I wanted to pet her. My dad pulled me out in just the nick of time as I was almost all of the way in. That could have been very, very bad. But since an early age, I have loved animals.
It wasn't until I was about fourteen years old that I got a donation request in the mail asking for money. The organization was Defenders of Wildlife and they were requesting money for a wolf conservation effort. That envelope was kicked and moved around on my desk (Yes, I had a desk and a phone when I was 14 and I was the man) for about a week when I finally made a donation. I remember how good it felt to donate to a cause and how I wanted to do it more and more. If you have not done so I encourage you to try it at least once; you'll be surprised and how rewarding charity is. After that donation, more and more donation requests have come in over the years and I have expanded my charity outreach and monetary donations to a bevy of various organizations over the years. I am a monthly sustaining donor to a bunch of them and I try to give a portion of my paychecks to a cause I believe it.
Why do I feel the need to write this and share with you? One reason is because a lot of these organizations need help more than ever; with the still weak economy, global hostilities at an all time high, overpopulation and other man-made problems, environmental/animal charities tend to be forgotten.
The most important reason I write this is because of how close to extinction a lot of these animals are. It is absolutely heartbreaking. 96 elephants are killed every day in Africa for their ivory. 22,000 sharks are killed every HOUR because of their fins. Rhinos are on the brink of extinction because people think their horns can be used for medicinal purposes, which the civilized world knows, that they cannot.
It is so heartbreaking to see that elephants and other species can be extinct by as close as 2020. I do not work for an animal or conservation charity so I can say with conviction and ease...fuck these people. Who does that? Who is still buying ivory? This is not 1890 anymore where big game was fashionable and exotic animal byproducts were considered a luxury. Please, if you still buy ivory, I hope you get tusked in your kidneys. And who believes rhino horns can cure diseases? Hopefully whatever "disease" they are trying to cure by slaughtering animals will just wipe out the infected. Idiots.
But how can you help? What can you do? There is quite a lot actually you can do right from your computer. Get involved in legislature, read what the president and the senate is doing about the global poaching crisis. Ask them questions, read their blogs.
Visit great organizations' websites such as the African Wildlife Foundation (www.awf.org), Wildlife Conservation Society (www.wcs.org), World Wildlife Foundation (www.wwf.org) and the Ocean Conservancy (www.oceanconservancy.org), amongst others. Follow them on Twitter, sign up for their email alerts and like them on Facebook. These channels and methods of communication will keep you informed on what is happened on the ground level, federal levels, and global levels.
It's pretty grey right now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of these organizations there have been tremendous strides and victories in the fight for the conservation and preservation of endangered species and threatened lands. Animal protection statuses, increased numbers, anti-poaching patrols and preserved lands to name just a few.
It's not just "some other charity" at this point. It is a global threat that has the attention of many world leaders and citizens. Help them. Be the voice for so many species that are on the verge of being gone forever. Do the right thing.
If animals could speak for themselves, they would. But they can't. So we need to.