Background Memo

International Wildlife Conservation

As species populations continue to change and the rapid growth of the human population increases it is imperative take a look at the problems facing wildlife and the implications which this has on the planet. Illegal wildlife trading, habitat destruction, competition and environmental changes have threatened or endangered a vast array of animal species. There has been a 60% decline in the size of animal populations in the past 40 years, according to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018.

But what is wildlife conservation?

Wildlife conservation is the practice of protecting plant and animal species and their habitats (National Geographic). Wildlife is a key component of the ecosystem. This means it plays a major role in the stability of the Earth. In 1961, the world’s leading conservationist signed the Morges Manifesto which prompted the establishment of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (History 2020). The WWF is an international fundraising organization which collaborates with conservation groups to support worldwide impact. Conservation organizations find solutions to save an array wildlife through science and legislative initiatives. The goal of wildlife conservation is to ensure the survival of species and educate the world on how to live sustainably amongst these species.

What impact does conservation have?

Conservation efforts protect ecosystems and culture, ensuring humans can continue to benefit from the natural resources of the plant while saving the planet. As the human population grows, we will require more resources and consume them faster. Without conservation efforts the loss of species can in turn cause the loss of resources.


Conservationist face a slew of challenges. Wildlife trafficking has escalated to an international crisis. This has a significant effect on the national interests of the United States and other nations (Wildlife).

Governments have permitted mining or drilling of natural resources to damage the ecosystem. This has had a devastating impact on habits and habitants.

Many conservation issues are interlinked. Human population growth for example has led to changes in once-open areas for agriculture settlements and infrastructure development (Wildlife).

The United States Endangered Species Act may be under attack as policy changes are proposed. Defenders of Wildlife suggest that the presidential administrations plan would further imperil endangered species by “blinding federal agencies to the broad consequences of their actions” (Endangered).

It is the purpose of National and international organizations to support conservation efforts and work with governments to establish and protect habitats.

Who has a role?

Government representatives, businesses, scientists, landowners, users and producers of natural resources are all major stakeholders. By protecting public lands such as parks and reservations, stakeholders can promote and support conservation efforts. They help lobby and write legislation such as the United States Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 (National Geographic).

Key players

The WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization. Working in nearly 100 countries it collaborates with people around the world to develop and deliver solutions which protect communities and wildlife (About 2020).   Wildlife Conservation Society, The Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, Project Aware, Four Paws, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, International Fund for Animal Welfare, National Wildlife Federation.

About Us. (2020). Retrieved September 12 19, 2020, from

History. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from

National Geographic Society. (2020, March 26). Wildlife Conservation. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from

The Endangered Species Act: What’s at Stake? (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2020, from

Wildlife Trafficking. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2020, from

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