Today is World Animal Day. With that, we would like to take a little time to celebrate the wonderful world of wildlife. This world is a colourful and diverse one, ranging from bears and lions, the kings of the animal kingdom, to the smallest plants and insects, as well as everything else in between. That is to say, wildlife is varied and never fails to amaze and surprise.
Wildlife can be found pretty much everywhere and anywhere. When most people think of wildlife, the first image that pops up is that of the sub-Saharan Big 5. However, there are many more astounding examples of nature in different areas too. Across Europe, wildlife is undergoing a mini-renaissance. Bears and wolves are slowly making their way back into parts of Europe where there have not been seen for a long time. This resurgence will help strengthen the resilience of ecosystems and provide more diverse experiences for everyone in nature itself.
It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.
Gratitude to Wildlife
The pristine parks that we have come to admire are indebted to the role that wildlife play. For instance, wolves have helped restore the natural balance in Yellowstone National Park, one of the most famous Wilderness areas in the world. The ecosystem was missing a top apex predator, meaning that the populations of deer and elk got out of control. As a result, they overgrazed on the willow trees, increasing erosion and damaging waterways. However, the reintroduction of wolves, has had a positive effect throughout the whole ecosystem. They have prevented the deer and elk populations from overgrazing on willow trees, allowing the reintroduction of beavers. The beavers and their dams have created new habitats for other species of animals and helped maintain healthy willow stands. This just proves that if wildlife is allowed to flourish unabated, it can reinvigorate whole ecosystems.
Furthermore, this virtuous cycle can be seen across other ecosystems too. There is a role for every animal, however small or seemingly insignificant a species is. In the case of insects, the ecosystems services they provide to us, in terms of pollination for food crops and the breakdown of dead matter, are indispensable. Every animal, be it big or small, has a role to play in the sound functioning of our planet.
Animals are an intrinsic part of the the parks that we hike through and enjoy spending our free time in. Moreover, they help create such environments, with Wilderness areas and national parks just a few examples of what wildlife, in their most pure form, are capable of. For this, let us respect their role in the world and appreciate their contribution to our well-being on World Animal Day 2020.