A&F Staff Writer
Taylor Speagle, a senior psychology student at UNC Asheville, said while she loved seeing the news about species moving away from the red zone on the endangered list, especially the giant pandas recently, there still remains quite a bit of work to do if the world is ever going to be a better place for all animals.
Their homes are destroyed.
They were relocated from their natural habitats to zoos where their life span is decreased by several years.
Their food supply was cut short.
For years, the giant pandas were in the red zone of the endangered species list — leaving them just one step away from being wiped from the world completely.
“I do know that there is such a long way to go and I wish more people would realize that and realize the part they can play,” said Speagle.
Thanks to the efforts of conservationists around the world, including the World Wildlife Fund, who worked closely with the government to establish panda reserves and sustainable living communities that don’t harm the environment, the giant panda is no longer listed as endangered.
“I’ve been a part of the WWF for a few years now and although money can be a little tight sometimes, I always make a donation because of news like this,” said Haley Hahn, a sophomore secondary education student at UNC Charlotte. “Animals hold the biggest place in my heart and knowing there are people out there trying to save them makes me excited to keep seeing animals leave that red zone.”
According to the World Wildlife Foundation’s website, the WWF was founded in 1961 after the limited number of conservation groups around the world failed to meet the funds needed to provide the change they desired.
It was established as an international fundraising organization which would later collaborate with existing groups to bring the substantial financial support needed to generate the conservation movement on a worldwide scale.
In the 55 years since WWF established, more than $1 million have been spent in conservation practices. In 2015, more than $1.2 million went toward animal rehabilitation, habitat reconstruction and outreach programs.
The organization helped a handful of species thrive after hunting, climate change and habitat destruction left them at the top of the endangered species list.
“I am in awe of all they’ve accomplished so far and it makes me excited to see what the future brings for the WWF, our environment and our species.” Hahn said. “The world deserves our love and they do a good job spreading it.”
As a former biology major, Hahn advocates for saving the planet’s natural resource and the animals that come with it.
“People truly don’t even realize that every little thing we do has a counter effect. One thing leads to another and that thing leads to another and so on and so on,” Hahn said. “I hope we all learn sooner rather than later that these species won’t stay around forever if we keep destroying their homes and such.”
Dana Majewski, a freshman at Montclair State in New Jersey, said she wishes people would realize that as well. From an 18-year-old point of view, she worries one day her own children will not have the chance to live in a world where polar bears, panda bears and red foxes exist as well, simply because society won’t stop until it is too late.
“I feel lucky right now knowing they’re still out there and that I might be able to see them at some point, but what about my kids?” said Majewski. “What if they don’t ever get to see the beauty of those species because we don’t realize just how badly we’re endangering their lives until they actually become endangered?”