People have been standing up for animals and their habitat for centuries and all too often one can find oneself focusing on everything that alarms, frustrates and upsets us. So this article features heart-warming stories that should uplift and inspire us all.
The conservation movement can be traced back to a gentleman called John Evelyn who presented his work called ‘Sylva’ in paper to the Royal Society in 1662. It was one of the most influential texts on forestry ever written.
Today more than ever before conservationists are aware that habitat, the intricate web of ecosystems of flora and fauna that exist in the natural environment, must be protected in its own right and that natural habitat is vital to ensure the survival of all species – big and small including our own species – Homo sapiens.
Following its early beginnings the conservation movement was revived in the mid 19th Century with the application of scientific conservation principles to the forests of India. Conservation then and now has three core principles:
- That human activity damages the environment.
- That there is a civic duty to maintain the environment for future generations.
- That scientific and empirically based methods should be applied to ensure this duty is carried out.
Conservation has been important in the past and is all the more necessary now with ever increasing numbers of humans on this planet and the more frequent occurrence of droughts and floods, the melting of the polar ice caps and the accelerating rate of plastic and chemicals accumulating in and clogging our waterways, seas and oceans.
10 success stories to lift our hearts and give us all ‘hope’….
Saving the Saiga Antelope
Once widespread on the steppe lands of the former Soviet Union this strange looking antelope, the saiga, has suffered two major population crashes in recent years. Against the odds with the intervention of conservationists and with the help of local people and national governments the species is back from the brink of disaster.
Akagera National Park
Early this year 20 black rhinos were successfully reintroduced to this park in Rwanda. The rhinos were moved to Rwanda from South Africa and are testament to Rwanda’s commitment to try and restore the diversity of its National Parks.
The team works together to help the tranquilized rhino into its crate ready to be transported to Rwanda.
Suriname – South America
A conservation corridor has been protected to help ensure the survival of what is part of the Amazon Rainforest to preserve the livelihood and lifestyle of indigenous people in an area of this forest the size of Austria.
A superhighway has changed course to avoid disturbing pristine virgin forest. The 260 km highway was planned to run through Cross River National Park. The highway has been re routed and natural habitat and wildlife saved, including gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants.
After 10 years of effort and 3 attempts in parliament the ban on plastic bags was finally passed earlier this year. This will help local governments to clean up their counties and it will decrease the amount of plastic accumulating across the Kenyan landscape and in waterways, seas and oceans all around the world. Kenya joins more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags including China, France Rwanda and Italy. Without a doubt a great step forward.
A freshwater turtle that was once close to extinction now has a new lease on survival. Former egg collectors and traders are now paid to monitor and protect the freshly laid eggs. 10% of the turtle eggs are then hatched in captivity to help ensure their survival safe from hungry birds and lizards ready for release into the ocean. To try and help those local people who can now not feed their families by harvesting the turtle eggs, duck eggs have been introduced by way of exchange to make up for the loss.
A basket of duck eggs given in exchange for leaving the turtle
eggs in their nest.
The introduction of ‘no take zones’ for 3-4 months a year in the seas around this country has allowed fish stocks to recover. On one day in 2009 the haul of fish and octopus had dwindled to 600 kg. Earlier this year, those same fishermen, joined by others from the nearby village of Ambavarano, pulled in 5 tons of octopus — in three hours. In the off season the people, traditionally reliant on fishing, have been encouraged to keep a limited number of sheep and goats.
A local fisherman in Madagascar – a new future ahead with ‘no take’ zones.
Here the Worlds largest temperate rainforest is being conserved. The Great Bear Rainforest - 64,000 square km is being protected from logging and its population of black bear and its salmon runs are now under stewardship for future generations.
A bear fishing in The Great Bear Rainforest
Restoration of large carnivores in US and Europe.
In south west USA the number of black bears is growing and they have now reached healthy numbers. Europe has seen the increase of wolves along with the Persian Leopard in Caucasus.
Wolf numbers are increasing across Europe
The Persian Leopard
The Ozone layer and Acid rain
Once both were significant problems. Now multilateral agreements forged between countries and around the globe have allowed scientists to chart the restoration of the ozone layer and a measurable reduction in certain areas of acid rain.
And …..The Paris Agreement
This is the beginning of a realisation that the planet is going to need unparalleled levels of co-operation to change human activity and decrease the speed at which the earth’s atmosphere is warming up. At the same time natural habitats: wetlands, forests and grasslands will be needed more than ever before to act as carbon sinks to help in this battle.
…..These stories show that conservation can win through.
So what lies ahead for the future….As always money is necessary and in a nut shell, conservationists reckon $80 billion would achieve a significant improvement in the rate at which conservation could improve the state of the World’s wildlife. This seems a lot but, as Mike Hoffman of the Zoolological Society of London pointed out recently, it is only 20% of what the world now spends on soft drinks……
IDEAS & THOUGHTS
On behalf of