My blogs over the years have covered the perils and forecasts of the many endangered species on this planet. In my post, “Why We Should Be Concerned About The Sixth Mass Extinction?” I reported on the current ‘extinction event’ that is happening in our lifetimes. Think about that! There have only been five periods of heightened animal extinction since the dawn of time, and the most current one is happening right under our noses.
Without man’s intervention at this crucial juncture, we could lose our elephants, tigers, penguins, honey bees — and the list goes on, and on (see below.) The onus is on us to act now, less we disrupt the planet’s balance to an extent never witnessed before.
God’s Test for Humanity . . .
One conservationist that's most concerned is not a biologist, animal behaviorist or researcher. Oddly enough he is not your typical animal advocate either. He’s a member of the Royal Family of England and he is espousing a belief that could become our modern-day mantra.
Prince Harry asserts that saving endangered animals is "God's test for humanity." The fifth in line for the British throne said that if we cannot save elephants from extinction then humanity may be at risk as well.
Urging action by the peoples of the world, the Telegraph reported, in his strongest comments so far on conservation, Harry called for an international body to regulate, appealing to those who own or manage wildlife.
Harry's urging suggests – that while up till now he hasn’t decided on a career for himself – he could follow in his father, Prince Charles's footsteps, and devote himself to conservation full time.
His earliest initiation with the plight of animals started when Harry and his brother, Prince William first visited Africa with their father, after the death of their mother, Princess Diana in 1997.
Recalling the episode, Harry said: "My dad told my brother and me to pack our bags – we were going to Africa to get away from it all. My brother and I were brought up outdoors. We appreciate nature and everything about it. But it became more… “
At this point Harry became more serious.
He said: "This is where I feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world. I wish I could have spent more time in Africa. I have this intense sense of complete relaxation and normality here.
"To not get recognized, to lose myself in the bush with what I would call the most down to earth people on the planet, people (dedicated to conservation) with no ulterior motives, no agendas, who would sacrifice everything for the betterment of nature...
"I talk to them about their jobs and learn so much. (And then) I go home and bang the drum. So that we can all try and make a difference."
Saving the Elephants
Last summer in 2016, Harry was interviewed during the three weeks he spent at the “500 Elephants Project” in Malawi run by an NGO called African Parks.
The initiative’s objective was to transport the animals from an overstocked region to one with less human conflict and more food.
During his time there Harry helped to catch anesthetized elephants and load them on trucks which transported them 200 miles from Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve to the Nkhotakota reserve, where the elephants could thrive and live out their days – free from the threat of poachers.
Going Forward . . .
The prince said: "Everyone has a different opinion; every country has a different way of doing things. But I do believe we need a regulatory body so that everyone who owns or manages wildlife is subject to inspection and rated on how well they look after the animals and how the communities benefit.
"I know I'm going to get criticized for this, but we have to come together. You know what Stevie Wonder said: 'You need teamwork to make the dream work'. I use that a lot."
Harry described places like the elephant parks as "very special places" but they were "islands with a sea of people around them".
He said: "I do worry. I think everyone should worry. We need to look after them because otherwise our children will not have a chance to see what we have seen.
"This is God's test: If we can't save some animals in a wilderness area, what else can't we do?"
If you’re not convinced of the seriousness man is now facing regarding animals headed for extinction, here is a short list of some of the species most at risk:
Africa’s elephant population has crashed by an estimated 111,000 in the past decade primarily due to poaching.
2016 estimates suggest there are 415,000 elephants across the 37 range states in Africa.
The Maned wolf along with other large mammals including the giant anteater, is threatened by the increasing conversion of grasslands into farmland for grazing and growing crops in the Brazilian Cerrado and only 23,600 animals remain.
The Hellbender salamander underwent population declines of 77 per cent across five locations in Missouri between 1975 and 1995.
Degradation of habitat from the effects of agriculture and the recreational use of rivers is believed to be the main cause of the decline.
Orca populations in European waters are under threat from persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Despite legislative restrictions on their use, these pollutants are still present in orcas’ blubber at levels that exceed all known marine mammal toxicity thresholds.
Only 50,000 remain.
The leatherback turtle has become increasingly rare in both the tropical Atlantic and Pacific and only 2,300 breeding females are through to remain.
It declined by 95 per cent between 1989 and 2002 in Costa Rica because of development in breeding grounds and fishing.
European eel is declining due to disease, overfishing and changes to its freshwater habitat that impede its migration to the sea to breed, levels have fallen 95 per cent in the last 25 years.
Yangtze river dolphin
Yangtze river dolphin has declined largely due to incidental mortality by collisions with fishing vessels and entanglement in fishing gear and is now feared to be extinct.
Tigers are facing large declines in Asia with only around 3900 tigers are left in the wild facing threats of habitat destruction, climate change, and human wildlife conflict.
The species is critically endangered.
As few as 70 Amur Leopards are left in the wild, facing threats of habitat destruction and human wildlife conflict.
The species is critically endangered.
Just under 2,000 Giant Panda remain in the wild. Threats include human wildlife conflict and climate change.
The species is listed as vulnerable although, it was just taken off the endangered list in late 2016.
Fewer than 1,000 mountain gorillas now exist in Africa and they are one of the most critically endangered species in the world.
They have suffered devastating population loss in recent decades because of habitat destruction and human wildlife conflict.
It's up to us folks. What can we do to help save these endangered species? Or what initiatives do you know that are underway and seem to be working? Please comment below. This is not a local problem . . . it's global in scope and needs man's involvement and intervention, sooner than later.