Conservation Includes Saving The Wildlife

We speak each and every week regarding the newest companies and projects that are focusing on ‘going green,’ as well as restoring, preserving and saving our world for the next generation to enjoy. In the mail today, however, the annual World Wildlife Federation ‘gift’ catalog arrived, which made me want to take a moment to speak about the incredible animals that are the most beautiful aspect of our ecosystem. The wildlife that surrounds us are not just animals that provide stunning views into another culture or land; they are also a major part of our world and, without them, entire habitats and systems will quite literally fall apart.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which has its home base at the Bronx Zoo, is a much-needed organization that was founded in 1895 and now manages over 200 million acres of wild locales around the world; with over 500 field conservation projects operating in sixty countries. This incredible Society also runs five facilities in New York City: the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo. Add these beloved places together, and they provide over 4 million visitors per year a chance to walk beside these animals and stare at them in awe.

This is one place that speaks volumes about how  conservation is just as important for our creatures as it is for the land and habitats surrounding them. In other words, protecting or saving a habitat doesn’t mean a great deal if the animal species that should be there are no longer in existence. Our wildlife – truly extraordinary creatures – must be here for future generations to enjoy, so that everyone can understand and recognize the importance of the animals to the lands we are trying to restore.

Now, many nations have government departments that are dedicated to wildlife conservation – working to implement laws and policies that will protect wildlife. But the numerous independent, nonprofit organizations also spend their time, effort, energy, and true passion for wildlife to save species and spread the word that the negative effects of human activity are increasing in some areas…and need to be stopped.

It is still incredibly sad to note that, after a great many decades of work, there are still many on the endangered species list. These populations are in danger of becoming extinct for several reasons: Either they are few in number or are threatened by the environmental or predation parameters, as well as the trials and tribulations that come from misuse or downright harmful human practices.

The statistics of endangered species around the globe are more than a bit frightening. It seems that with every ‘success’ comes more failure. One of the worst places, if not the worst, is India – where there are over one hundred and thirty thousand endangered animal species. This incredibly high number accounts for almost 9% of the world’s mammals – with 45 families and 13 orders – out of which, around 89 species are listed as threatened.

One of the most stunning creatures in the world is among the critically endangered species in India – the Siberian Tiger. Frighteningly, there are only about 350 adult Siberian or Amur tigers left in the wild, and India can claim almost none. 95% of them exist in the Russian Far East. Within the tiger’s range in Russia, the largest protected area is the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve, that has been a stronghold for the Amur tiger since it was built in 1935. Thirty tigers live there today. Currently, they run the Siberian Tiger Project, and their goal is to collect the best possible scientific information on tiger ecology for use in future conservation plans that are desperately needed.

Asian Elephants are still victims of the much-talked about and never-ending (apparently) ivory poaching community. However, the decreasing numbers seem to be even more damaged by their loss of habitat.

Another species on the endangered list in India is the Golden Leopard (with black marks.) The number of this species has been reduced to under fifteen thousand, with the main reason behind their decline being loss of habitat.

When it comes to loss of habitat, various issues come into play all over the globe. One reason that habitats are being lost comes from the spread of agriculture, whereas in other regions it comes from overpopulation difficulties where humans are ‘spilling over’ onto land that was once used as reserves for the creatures. When it comes to the list of endangered species, many are found in India, from large to small. Various species of shrew and fruit bats – all the way up to larger animals like the Snow Leopard and Rhinoceros are being lost.

So as we sit back and view our world, and all the work we are doing to regain and rebuild various ecosystems, we need to take into account the issues that effect the loss of habitats. Climate change is a huge issue. Because many types of plants and animals have specific habitat requirements, climate change causes disastrous losses of species. Plants and wildlife are sensitive to moisture change, so the lands for these particular species can simply disappear. Also, pesticides and other toxic chemicals that are widely used, are making the environment toxic to certain plants, insects and rodents.

Unregulated Hunting and poaching still causes a major threat to wildlife, as well as the mismanagement of forest guards which compounds this particular problem.

Over-exploitation of resources is also a major difficulty in some countries, where wild populations have been shattered for food (i.e., over-fishing).

A great deal of work is being done, and some of the most amazing information appears every once in a while that makes the conservationist’s heart race with joy. One example is the recent film (back in May) showing a group of elusive apes. For the first time in history, camera traps actually captured footage of Cross River gorillas, which are the absolute rarest of the great apes. Even field conservationists who are devoted to studying this species rarely ever spot them, so when footage occurred showing eight gorillas strolling through the woods (with a very powerful demonstration caught on film by a silverback, it was truly a sight to behold.)

It is my wish that one day there will be no such thing as an ‘endangered species’ list. That one day, with work, passion, love, determination and cooperation between countries – all the species that were placed here for a purpose will find their home again and thrive!

To see the video, head to:

HuffingtonPost.com

–and–

To see the incredible work of the Wildlife Conservation Society, head to:

wcs.org

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