Poachers in Africa are encroaching on wildlife land and killing rhinos in travel hot spots now devoid of visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
How the WWF is protecting great apes in Central Africa
A meeting between environmental, scientific and government organisations has yielded a programme to protect gorillas and chimpanzees.
The populations of our closest animal relatives, gorillas (Gorilla gorillas) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are in constant decline, threatened by poaching, loss of biodiversity and human diseases.
According to a new report national parks and reservations divided amongst Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo protect only 21% of western lowland gorillas and chimpanzees.
Even though timid progress in conservation strategies made in the last decades has slowed the process of their disappearance, these primates remain threatened by human population growth, the expansion of extractive industries, intensive agriculture and the illegal trade in wild animal meat. This without taking into consideration the unsatisfactory enforcement of existing laws and corruption that plague many African countries.
To revert this trend, environmental organisations such as the WWF, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Wildlife Conservation Society have presented a new decades-long conservation plan.
The programme, “Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of Western Lowland Gorillas and Central Chimpanzees 2015–2025“, individuates 18 areas, for a total of 655,800 km2 of forest, that are considered of primary importance to conserve the great apes. They must thus be given priority in protection and preservation interventions, including in funds allocation.
There areas cover half the geographic expanse in which the primates live and are home to more than three quarters of the surviving great apes. The environmental organisations also ask that supplementary measures be put in place, such as more thorough law enforcement, more effective management of great apes’ habitats outside of protected areas and better territorial planning at the national level.
The new conservation strategy represents the evolution of a previously created action plan, launched in 2005. It was developed on the occasion of a conference which saw the participation of environmentalists, scientists and representatives from six of the countries where the great apes live.
Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio has contributed two million dollars to a fund to protect Virunga National Park in Congo from threats such as terrorism, the coronavirus and poaching.
Bangladesh suffered widespread damage as a result of Cyclone Amphan. Yet the Sundarbans mangrove forest acted as a natural barrier protecting the country from further destruction, as it has done countless times before.
For the first time in seventeen years, Iceland’s two main whaling companies won’t resume whale hunting. The announcement concerns this year’s season but could carry into the future.
The relationship between the coronavirus and wildlife is complex: while the pandemic may lead to a reduction in the illegal trade in wild animals, it may also encourage it in other respects.
The largest coral reef in the world is severely threatened by climate change, but researchers are developing strategies that could contribute to saving the Great Barrier Reef.
NGO Free the Bears has opened a mountain sanctuary for moon bears in Laos. With the government’s help, it aims to close all bile farms by 2022.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a planetary wake-up call from the Earth to humanity. On Earth Day, over 500 organisations launched a global call for urgent action with the health and wellbeing of all peoples and the planet at its core.
Pollution in India has fallen drastically without the fumes of cars and factories. It’s been thirty years since the Himalayas were last visible from such a distance.