Henry David Thoreau in 1862, said “In the Wilderness is the Preservation of the World”. Gifford Pinchot in 1947 said, “The first great factor about conservation is that it stands for development”. The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) on their own in 1987, went further to state that “Sustainable Development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their owns needs”.
From these quotes we can rightly situate the meaning and importance of Wildlife Conservation as the Protection, preservation, Managing and Studying of Wildlife and Wildlife Resources of Plants and Animals for the greatest good of the greater number for the longest time.
This is the ideal but what we have now is a far cry from this. The present generation of humans is seriously compromising not just the ability of the future generation to meet their own needs, but they may have triggered the sixth extinction according to some scientists. Humans by their activities are causing severe depletion of ecosystems and habitats and the plants and animals that depends on them, through Deforestation, Pollution, Landscape Fragmentation, uncontrolled consumption of Wildlife resources for Food, Timber, medicine, fibre and trade and the greatest threat of all is Climate change,which is also caused by man through fossil fuel consumption, industrialization, Urbanization and has led directly to high Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the main substance implicated in causing climate change.
Humans and wild plants and animals now face a great challenges for survival because of climate change. More frequent and intense drought, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and warming oceans are occurring and these directly harm plants and animals, destroy the places they live, and wreak havoc on people’s livelihoods and communities.
Safeguarding wildlife in the face of climate change is now our biggest conservation challenge. To ensure that wildlife can continue to thrive in a warmer world that we humans have created, we need to make conservation “climate-actions” by working in new places or protecting plants and animals that haven’t needed our help before.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
A 3-prong approach of Education, Research and Environmental Decision Making is recommended by conservationists to prepare ourselves and the Wildlife in Mitigating and adapting to the effects of the climate change and building resilience against the impacts.
We need to build a generation of young people that will understand how our changing climate will affect our wildlife species and the habitats on which they depend and begin to take action on behalf of the environment.
Examples of practical things we can do include:
- Robust urban tree and forestry programs;
- Green-roof systems;
- Water saving landscaping;
- Backyard gardening;
- Invasive species management;
- Wetland conservation/restoration efforts;
- Wildlife-friendly development patterns in building our roads and infrastructures;
- Networks of parks and wildlife conservation areas;
- Species and Ecosystems Conservation Programs; and
- Wildlife and Climate Change Educational and Awareness Programs.
Let me conclude by saying as stakeholders, we must Partner with local communities, scientists, non-governmental organizations and governments to seek further science-based solutions for adapting to the immediate and projected impacts of climate change, which are not limited to food and water shortages; and Increase in Agricultural Pests and Diseases.
First Posted on July 3, 2016 by felixwildlife