Visible health benefits linked with protecting endangerd species
Conservation of wildlife is an issue that needs to be taken more seriously. There are over 16,000 endangered species in the world, and 84 of those species reside in New Jersey. An endangered species is characterized as a species that is likely to become extinct due to factors that threaten their survival. One of the best ways to help these endangered species is through volunteering, which offers many additional benefits to the volunteer as well as the animals. Recent studies have shown that volunteers receive additional physical and psychological benefits that can increase their health. Some of the health benefits that have been recorded are lower mortality rates, increased physical longevity and a decreased rate of developing depression at a later stage in life. A study showed that 96 percent of volunteers reported an enriched sense of purpose and 94 percent reported an increase in mood and self-esteem.
There are many local volunteer opportunities that affect the endangered species of New Jersey. A volunteer opportunity located here at Rutgers University, known as “Got Bats?,” is raising awareness of the importance of bats for the environment. Bats are some of the most beneficial animals for humans, worth approximately $23 billion a year to the agricultural industry of the U.S., because they eat so many insects. Bats are also commonly known to take roost inside your house, and evicting them may result in them not surviving the winter months. The “Got Bats?” program installs bat houses on your property to provide refuge for the bats, or for long term roosting, to reduce the number of deaths due to eviction from households. This program is also very simple to get involved with. All you have to do is fill out a reporting form at www.wildlife.rutgers.edu and they will come install a bat house in your backyard.
Lauren Simon is a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior majoring in biochemistry.