Some believe that in order to survive, you’ll need to change yourself to fit in with the pack. The world of wildlife, though, shows us that couldn’t be any more untrue.
As someone who grew up always surrounded by animals, whether at home or AZA-accredited zoos, I have a lot of love and respect for them. However, I wasn’t fully introduced to their multifaceted world until I met the red panda. Red pandas are a completely unique species; nothing quite like them exists on this planet. That’s because they, as with every species, have an “ecological niche,” a specific role to fill in their ecosystem, something to contribute to their community. Their world is one where being different isn’t just accepted or celebrated, but necessary for survival.
So, when a species becomes extinct, no one else can replace them, and that void leaves their world, as well as ours, unbalanced. That’s why, at 12-years-old, I founded Green Firefox to raise money and awareness for endangered species. Today, I have an additional mission: to share this world of wildlife with others, this world that encourages them to embrace their individuality. I visit this world through photographing and painting our planet’s diverse fauna. You too can immerse yourself by inviting these animals into your home and life, whether they’re on a photo decal made with recycled fabric or a hand-painted ornament that can be up year-round.
It’s important we protect these animals because they remind you to save your spark, to save what makes you special and unique. While we all share the same planet, everyone can’t be the same because we each have a part to play. If you want to help save wildlife and this planet, then you can start by saving your spark, because when you extinguish it, you might as well have gone extinct, too. – Makenna Connolly, founder and CEO