There have seen a few great articles going around about backyard biologists who have, through time and dedication, brought species back from the brink. The California pipevine swallowtail is one example of how one man, Tim Wong, single handedly saved a species from extinction. And there’s a man in India, Jadav Payeng, who planted acres and acres of forest by hand and now endangered species live within the forest he’s made. Build it and they will come. Animals need safe habitat afterall, and if that’s provided for them then anything’s possible.

Well, I just wanted to let you know that I save endangered species all by myself too. The western painted turtle, Oregon spotted frog and Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly would be way worse off if not for my efforts.

Ok, well, Michelle helps too. She’s our endangered species technician so I guess I have a bit of help… And neither of us would be able to do what we do without Wildlife Preservation Canada and our valuable donors. But really it’s just me, and sometimes Michelle, saving endangered species. Except, I forgot. Without the Greater Vancouver Zoo we wouldn’t have a place to house our endangered species or water for them or food…

Michelle hard at work in the field, looking for Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies.

But!

Aside from that, it’s all me. Just me. Saving species. Well, OK, except when I get stuck. Then I have a whole team of experts behind me. Each species I work with has a dedicated recovery team. The members of those teams are experts in their fields – animal biology, wildlife surveys, habitat restoration. We consult each other and encourage each other and work together to solve the issues facing endangered species.

Our summer student, Vancy, excited that one of our rehabilitation turtles is showing signs of impovement.

So yeah, besides all the people I just mentioned, it’s just me. Flying solo. Saving endangered species one population at a time. All by myself.

At this point you might be wondering what exactly it is I’m trying to say.

Let me explain.

There are some pretty amazing stories out there about single individuals that have helped endangered species or habitats on their own. They use their knowledge, time, and resources to do something amazing. But the reality is, most of the time, saving endangered species is a team effort.

Wildlife Preservation Canada believes in a hands on approach and all of the three species I work with have a captive breeding and head starting component. That part is my job. But that’s not species recovery. My work would be for nothing without all the other organizations and people I work with that tackle issues facing the wild populations and the habitat they live in.

Field biologist, Kendra, shows us how to acclimatize tadpoles to get them ready for release.

You might be someone who will affect change directly, like Tim Wong or Jadav Payeng, or you might be someone like me who works as part of a team, or you might be a volunteer or a donor. All of those things make a difference to species recovery. So thank you for supporting all the work I – uh, I mean, – WE do to save endangered species.