Isn’t the intense gaze of the Cooper’s hawk above captivating? It can relate to both parts of the double theme for this short blog, as a symbol of the wildlife many people wish to conserve worldwide and as a fellow being with eyes that mesmerize.
Today is World Wildlife Day, a day celebrated to honor our earth’s wildlife and the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This year’s theme for this commemorative day is “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation.”
The term “wildlife” can have two meanings. Some dictionaries and organizations use the word to refer to all animals (mammals, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, etc.) that are not domesticated by human beings. Others have expanded the term to also include plants.
Cleared fire line before a controlled burn
I contribute to the goal of wildlife conservation by volunteering at a local nature reserve to help with its upkeep. Our volunteer group, called the “Green Dragons”, removes invasive plants, plants native vegetation, and clears fire lines when controlled burns are done. The photo above shows such a line; it is patrolled by volunteers to watch for and quench sparks that might ignite materials outside the area being burned.
Our Green Dragons group cleared a fire line earlier this week and we were able to relocate several marbled salamanders to an area that will not be burned.
Fellow volunteer Mark also found and relocated a young brown snake.
We hope the weather collaborates and makes it possible to complete the burn before many of the animals begin brooding their young.
One reason so many people want to conserve wildlife and natural areas is because they enjoy watching the non-human life that sustains our planet. We sometimes don’t stop to think about how the animals also spend time observing us.
Fellow blogger Denzil Nature has challenged us to stop and consider the eyes that animals use to see us. Some have eyes that appear at least somewhat similar to ours. The dark eyes of the Eastern chipmunk, black racer snake, and short-horned grasshopper could fall into that category.
And then we have the wondrous insects who have compound eyes so very different from ours. The blue dasher dragonfly provides a nice example of that.
If you want to learn more about how different members of the animal world look at life, check out the wonderful book by Ed Yong, An Immense World. It’s fascinating and you can learn a lot about how various wildlife species experience the world using other senses as well! And perhaps it will inspire you to think of new ways to contribute to conserving wildlife.