Protect local wildlife from going extinct

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 28, 2018

Pearl River County is home to a number of federally endangered and threatened species. These animals, if not properly taken care of, could go extinct and disappear from the world forever.

There are several ways to be mindful of these species. If one is seen in the wild, do not approach it or try to disturb it. When fishing, if a protected species is caught, handle it as gently as possible and release it back into the wild. At home, try to be environmentally friendly on a daily basis by recycling unwanted glassware, cans, plastics, etc. instead of just throwing them away. Also, be mindful of littering. Throwing a piece of fruit out of the car window may seem harmless, but can actually attract wildlife to the roadside, leading to a higher risk of a vehicle colliding with one.

Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Research Coordinator Dr. Matt Roberts said if a protected species is encountered, the best practice is to admire it from afar, and leave it alone.

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While it is important to protect endangered and threatened species, it is also good to be mindful of more common wildlife as well.

Encourage children to leave animals, such as lizards, birds and frogs be – as both the child and animal could easily be harmed. Be sure to never kill animals needlessly. Only hunt and kill an animal if they are in season, and there is the intention of eating it later on. If a baby animal is wandering close to you or your home, do not approach it or try to handle it. Many mother animals will abandon it if they smell a human scent on their offspring. Alternately, humans can put themselves at risk of being attacked by a protective parent by trying to capture or handle its offspring.

By being environmentally friendly and respectful to animal species in the wild, perhaps residents of Pearl River County can play a part in preventing these animals from going extinct.