World Wildlife Day – The Time Is Now

 

Today is World Wildlife Day and conservation efforts have never been in more need of our committed and urgent attention. Any person that believes we can live without wildlife and bio-diversity is grossly naïve as to how the world works and operates. Ignorance is bliss, however we will not have that luxury when it is too late.

Take lion, for example. To most the fate of lions is nothing more than a moral debate as to how we should be allowed to use these animals, viewed as nothing but a commodity to be used for the benefit of humans. How much money can be made from their butchered skin..? How much money can be made from the sale of their bones..? How much money can be made from the joy of shooting them..?

Few comprehend the massive impact, which these animals have on the world in which we live. Even fewer appreciate that by killing and limiting an apex predator you are throwing the entire natural law into turmoil. Almost no one, most notably governments recognise the subsequent impact this has on lives. To African tourism, lions are the superhero. Arguably the single most photographed animal on the planet, this species along with others like it, are responsible for sustaining the livelihoods of countless communities around Africa through tourism. In addition the lions have a crucial effect on the ecology of their environment.

See an extract below from an article written by Cheryl Lyn Dybas published by Africa Geographic.

“The lion plays a pivotal role as Africa’s top carnivore,” says Luke Hunter, president of Panthera and also a PNAS co-author. “The freefall of lions we’re seeing today could completely change Africa’s ecosystems.” In West Africa, for example, he notes that a loss of the big cats is linked with population explosions of olive baboons. High numbers of the omnivorous baboons have led to declines in small ungulates and an increase in raids of farmers’ crops by other predators, including lions.

 “Throughout history, humans have tried to exterminate large carnivores, and failed miserably in predicting the ecological consequences,” says Hunter. “There will be more such effects if we don’t heed the signals.” –

According to CITES more than 100,000 elephants were illegally slaughtered for their ivory between 2010 and 2012. Equally, there seems no feasible solution to halt the slaughter of Rhino given all the dirty hands involved in this devastating trade. And remember, if they can get to the rhino, they can get to anything in the same area. When Rhino’s are gone… the rest will follow. Pangolin’s, are for example the most highly poached animal on the planet. Devastated by human greed and ignorance.

The biggest threat to wildlife is the complacency of those that can and should be making a difference, i.e. you and me. We waste so much time talking in ignorance about whether wildlife, biodiversity and ecology deserve our protection. A trivial debate when we consider the consequences without it. Wildlife is being strangled but nature will never cease. The wrath of nature will be felt once we have eradicated our wildlife. The knock on effect is too large to comprehend for most simple lives, consumed by technology addictions and a world of immediate gratification.

Braulio F. de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said: “wildlife is also the basis of biodiversity. Biodiversity in the wild is just as important to human wellbeing as biodiversity in plants and animals used for human consumption. Wildlife is incremental to forestry, fishery and tourism livelihoods around the world. Quite simply, biodiversity keep ecosystems functional providing the ecosystem services to allow people to survive, get enough food, and make a living.”

“The conservation and sustainable use of wildlife is therefore a critical component of sustainable development, and should be part of a comprehensive approach to achieving poverty eradication, food security and sustainable livelihoods,” he said.

Only through collective consciousness and deliberate intention will we be able to turn the tide on this desperate situation. The world is unravelling before our very eyes. How long will we pretend that climate change does not exist and that we can live in a world without nature. We are a part of nature in every way..abuse it and nature will not lose..it will evolve… the same cannot be said for humans if we continue on this path to destruction. The time is now!

Brad Leontsinis

About the Author

Brad Leontsinis

Through his guiding career, Brad developed a passion for wildlife photography and believes strongly in the idea of conservation through photography. “I believe through the power of imagery, we are able to tell compelling stories about the moments which matter most.” Brad is fantastic at helping people with their own photography and ensures the only things more vivid than the memories you leave with, are the images that tell your stories.

 

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