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What animals are considered to be wildlife?

Any animal that lives in the wild and has not been widely domesticated by humans is considered to be a wildlife animal. Wildlife animals live in all the natural environments of the world such as forests, oceans, deserts and frozen lands. Examples of wildlife animals are elephants, wolves, whales, bears, birds, fish, alligators or squirrels. Sometimes, a cat or dog has been living on its own outside as a stray.  Even though this animal is able to live on its own, it is not considered to be wildlife because cats and dogs have been domesticated or kept as pets by humans. Also, it’s important to note that plants are an important part of wildlife too, that many wildlife animals depend on!

Why do wildlife need help?

Unfortunately, many human activities have negative affects upon wildlife.  When people cut forests to build new areas or to grow crops, they take away the shelter and food supply of all of the animals that once lived in that forest.  Or when people pollute oceans with plastics or chemicals, they make it an unsafe environment for fish, turtles and sea birds. Wildlife can also become seriously harmed by traps set by hunters, by natural disasters or by diseases. And one of the newest, but most serious threats to all wildlife is climate change.

Who helps wildlife?

In the United States, the government helps to protect wildlife animals and plants by creating laws against hunting endangered animals and by protecting portions of land or waters that are critical animal habitat. There are also many wildlife rescue organizations that help injured or sick animals to make a recovery and return safely to the wild; or to find a long-term home at a place where they can be safely cared for.  

Learn More

Threats to Wildlife in the United States(PDF) Books on this topic(PDF) Service Project Ideas
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