Earth’s biodiversity — the number of microorganisms, plants, and animals, their genes, and their ecosystems is declining at an alarming rate, even faster than the last mass extinction 65 million years ago.
In fact, two thirds of the terrestrial species that exist today are estimated to be extinct by the end of this century.Â Humans are an integral part of this extensive network of life. We depend on biodiversity for goods and services; we impact biodiversity via rapidly expanding human population growth, consumption of resources, and spread of disease; and we study biodiversity in order to understand, conserve, and protect it.
According to a new study released last week from CNN, the number of mountain gorillas, which are a critically endangered species, has increased by more than 26% in regions in eastern Africa.
“The mountain gorilla population has made an absolutely remarkable recovery. We are very pleased to see yet another increase in the numbers of this critically endangered species,” said Allard Blom, a director with the World Wildlife Fund.
The year 2011 was declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations to raise awareness and strengthen the sustainable forest management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.
We are losing the world’s tropical rainforest at an alarming rate, with major repercussions for the entire planet.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, an estimated 13 million hectares of the worldâ€™s forests are lost every year, mainly as a result of converting forest land to other uses. At least 1.6 billion people directly depend on forests for their livelihoods, the majority of them poor inhabitants of areas next to forests; while an estimated 60 million people, mainly members of indigenous and local communities, live in forests.
Around the world species of big cats, such as jaquars, snow leopards and tiger are declining drastically due to habitat loss, poaching, disease, and human-wildlife conflict.
About the Wildlife Conservation Society
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.
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How Your Click Helps Big Cats
Your daily click helps the Wildlife Conservation Society fund the research and on the ground conservation projects that protect critical habitat and save species from extinction. In 2009 alone, with your help, Wildlife Conservation Society has:
–Developed new software to track endangered tigers through rapid identification of tiger individuals by their unique stripe pattern
–Helped create new national parks in Camaroon and Afghanistan
–Led camera-trap photo censuses of endangered jaguars in Ecuador and cheetahs in Algeria, providing basic population data critical to understanding and protecting these magnificent big cats.
Although a California-based organization, the Oiled Wildlife Care Network is currently helping to lead the effort to care for oil-affected marine mammals and sea turtles in Louisiana, in partnership with NOAA-NMFS and the USFWS.Â Volunteers are being recruited on a state-by-state basis and updated on the Deepwater Horizon Facebook page. If you would like to obtain volunteer information, please call 1-866-448-5816.
This yearâ€™s event will celebrate the incredible diversity of life on Earth as part of “The 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.”
According to Wikipedia, World Environment Day (WED) is a day that stimulates awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and public action. It is on 5 June. It was the day that United Nations Conference on the Human Environment began. The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was from 5-16 June 1972. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. The first World Environment Day was on 1973. World Environment Day is hosted every year by a different city with a different theme and is commemorated with an international exposition in the week of 5 June. World Environment Day is in summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
This yearâ€™s global host, Rwanda â€“ a country of exceptional biodiversity that has made huge strides on environmental protection â€“ will lead the celebrations with three days of keynote events.
Thousands of activities will also be organized worldwide, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events and much more!
Watch “Save Rainforests Save Lives” which reminds us that the rainforests are our best hope for finding cures for cancer, AIDs and other life-threatening diseases.
What Medicines Do The Forests Provide?
It is astonishing to think that of all the drugs we consume today most of the common ones are derived from the rainforests, even more astonishing is that only a small amount of the total number of plants have been screened for medical use. The following is a list of drugs that the plants have provided a basis for : the contraceptive pill, antibiotics, tranquillisers, dental cement, heart and ulcer drugs. In fact one in four products from the chemist contain chemical compounds derived from rainforest plants. 70% of anti cancer plants originate from the rainforests and the US National Cancer Institute identified 3,000 plants with properties in fighting cancer. From 1960-1990, the survival rate for child leukaemia rose from 20% to 80% when ‘The Rosy Periwinkle’ plant from Madagascar played a major contribution in fighting this form of cancer. The Cinchona tree from Peru has been effective in treating malaria; the Guatemalan wild yam is a major contribution to the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill; Resperine from South East Asia, from the shrub Rauwlfia Serpentina is used for treating hypertension. Cement used in dentistry comes from the balsams of Latin America. And the ‘Benzoin Tree’ of Malaysia produces a yellow substance that is used for antiseptic and to treat bronchitis. This is the Earth’s own medicine cabinet with many more cures for illnesses hidden within the forests. With the pharmaceutical companies making billions of pounds and dollars each year, it seems that it is in their interest that the forests no longer survive, but the forests provided the basis for all of man’s drugs and we should start preserving them now.
American Tortoise Rescue, which is a turtle and tortoise rescue organization founded in 1990 in Malibu, California initiated World Turtle Day in 2000. This group brings attention to turtle conservation issues and creates awareness on how each of us can help protect these gentle but at risk animals.
MAY is the month that turtles emerge from winter hibernation and start looking for their mates and nesting areas.
The Humane Society has suggested 12 actions you can take to honor the turtles and tortoises.
Help Stop the Asian Turtle Crisis. The majority of Asian turtle populations have been critically diminished by over-collection, particularly for delicacies in restaurants and live animal markets. Dealers are now targeting turtle populations elsewhere, such as in the United States and Europe, to meet the Asian demand. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has identified this as the “Asian turtle crisis,” and it has spearheaded efforts to protect turtles from the trade.
Get Turtles out of U.S. Live Animal Markets. Turtles are among the most popular offerings at live animal markets in the United States. They suffer terrible abuse in filthy, neglectful conditions, and they are slaughtered by being cut apart while conscious. The vast majority of market turtles are taken from the wild, contributing to declining U.S. turtle populations. Tell state wildlife agencies that you’re concerned about the increasing collection of wild turtles and tortoises to supply animal markets in the United States and abroad.
If wildlife is being sold for food in a live animal market in your state, contact your local and state legislators, asking that they ban the practice. You may also find it effective to contact state and local health departments (check the Centers for Disease Control web site for listings), which are responsible for sanitary conditions at live animal markets. Finally, contact state wildlife agencies about the dangers that non-native and diseased market animals may pose to local wildlife if released.
Don’t Pollute or Litter. Pollution makes its way into bodies of water and wild areas, poisoning turtles and tortoises and destroying their habitats. Always properly dispose of any hazardous materials such as paint or oil. Garbage, such as plastic bags, kills many pond turtles and sea turtles who either ingest it or become entangled in it. Reduce the amount of garbage you produce and dispose of it properly.
Protect Turtle and Tortoise Habitat. Become active in your local conservation commission or parks and recreation department, and work to preserve turtle habitat.
Stop Turtle and Tortoise Exploitation. Avoid activities such as turtle races. They involve taking turtles out of their natural habitats and exposing them to many dangers, not to mention an enormous amount of stress. Races can harm individual turtles as well as entire local wild populations.
Give Them a Brake. If you see a turtle or tortoise crossing a road, gently pick him up and carry him across in the direction he was headed. (Be watchful for cars in the process.) If the turtle is a large one, or a snapping turtle, use a stick to nudge him gently across the road without getting too close.
Enjoy Turtles and Tortoises in the Wild. Never keep wild turtles or tortoises as pets or buy them from a pet store. The trade in reptiles as pets is responsible for tremendous animal suffering and serious damage to turtle and tortoise populations. Learn to enjoy these animals by observing them in their natural habitat, where they belong. If turtles or tortoises live in your yard, why not keep them happy by building a pond and by landscaping with plants that provide protection and food? Edible plants such as tropical hibiscus, dandelion, geraniums, and Chinese lantern can be quite appetizing.Â (Make sure that your plants are free of pesticide and herbicide residue.) Piles of leaves, vines, and downed trees make perfect hiding places.
Do Not Disturb. Steer clear of the beach at night during the summer. Your presence will frighten nesting sea turtles back into the sea, preventing them from laying eggs and jeopardizing any eggs they have laid. Click here for information about what to do if you find a sea turtle that you think may be in trouble.
Turn Out the Lights. Do not shine bright lights on the beach at night. Oppose coastal development such as condominiums, houses, resorts, and hotels; they tend to expose beaches to excessive artificial lighting, which discourages female turtles from approaching the beach to lay eggs. The light also draws hatchlings away from the ocean, disorients them, and exposes them to predation and deadly dehydration.
Report Crimes. Tell local authorities if you see any person harassing or poaching a sea turtle, her eggs, hatchlings, or nests — or those of any other endangered turtles and tortoises. These activities are violations of U.S. state and federal laws.
See What You Can Do. Several groups are involved in research, conservation, and advocacy work to protect turtles and tortoises. Join one of these groups to stay informed. (See the off-site links below for just a few.)
Spread the Word.Educate others about the importance of protecting turtles and tortoises from commercial exploitation and abuse in your community and throughout the world. Be a voice for turtles.