Wildlife faces current and future challenges with extinction, pollution, poaching and more. The World Wildlife Day site explains how "our collective conservation actions can be the difference between a species surviving or disappearing." Just three years ago, the United Nations General Assembly created World Wildlife Day to bring awareness to threats on animal and plant species across the world. The global holiday also recognizes the importance of conservation and protection of wildlife and natural habitats.

Are you interested in doing your part to support World Wildlife Day? One solution is to visit national parks, zoos, gardens or wildlife sanctuaries in your area. In Texas, the following destinations welcome visitors and care for different types of animals.

Texas State Aquarium

Located in Corpus Christi, the Texas State Aquarium has a variety of exhibits for its visitors to enjoy. In addition, the aquarium helps injured and threatened species around the Texas area through its Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Program. The program provides medical care and refuge for birds of prey, shorebirds and sea turtles harmed by net entanglement, diseases, human harassment and more. Once the animals are nursed back to health, they're released into their natural habitat.

Crowe's Nest Farm Animal Life Center

The Crowe's Nest Farm Animal Life Center is a nonprofit that promotes hands-on education and teaches people about conserving Texas' wildlife and agricultural resources. The 100-acre farm is home and sanctuary to more than 200 animals – some of which are "unwanted, abused and orphaned." Also, Crowe's Nest Farm encourages students, teachers and other groups to tour the area and appreciate Texas wildlife.

Cherokee Trace Wild Animal Park

East Texas' Cherokee Trace Wild Animal Park allows visitors to drive through and observe animals such as zebra, bison and deer. Since visitors have the ability to drive through the park, they must follow strict rules to avoid disturbing the animals. Some of the rules include keeping doors closed at all times, staying on the driving route and maintaining a speed limit of 10 mph. With about 300 acres of land, the park mimics natural habitats to accommodate animal species from different parts of the world.

Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge

For more than 20 years, the Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge has educated people about endangered species. Now, the refuge cares for more than 35 big cats. Its goal is to "provide rescue and rehabilitation of big cats that have been abused, neglected or displaced." The refuge is about 140 acres, but plans to create a quarantine area and expand natural habitats. Also, the facility will add an animal care building, where staff members can closely monitor each cat's health and well-being.

Are there other ways to contribute to World Wildlife Day?

Donating to nonprofits directly impacts wildlife conservation efforts. One of the many organizations is the Student Conservation Association (SCA), which encourages younger generations to protect our environment, wildlife and natural resources. This past year, the SCA had more than 8,000 volunteers and protected about 616,000 animals.

Also, if you want do even more to protect our world's plants and animals, the World Wildlife Day site lists multiple ways to take action.

  • Spread the word on social media by using #InOurHands or #WWD2016 hashtags.
  • Discuss wildlife protection solutions in schools.
  • Volunteer at a local wildlife organization or refuge.

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