Community involvement is indeed necessary for sustainable wildlife

06Nov 2020
The Guardian
Community involvement is indeed necessary for sustainable wildlife

​​​​​​​Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal species, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans.  Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems. Deserts, forests, rainforests, plains, grasslands, and other areas,-

-including the most developed urban areas, all have distinct forms of wildlife. While the term in popular culture usually refers to animals that are untouched by human factors, most scientists agree that much wildlife is affected by human activities.  

Humans have historically tended to separate civilization from wildlife in a number of ways, including the legal, social, and moral senses. Some animals, however, have adapted to suburban environments. This includes such animals as domesticated cats, dogs, mice, and gerbils. Some religions declare certain animals to be sacred, and in modern times, concern for the natural environment has provoked activists to protest against the exploitation of wildlife for human benefit or entertainment.

The global wildlife population decreased by 52 pc between 1970 and 2014, according to a World Wildlife Fund report. Stone Age people and hunter-gatherers relied on wildlife, both plants and animals, for their food. In fact, some species may have been hunted to extinction by early human hunters. Today, hunting, fishing, and gathering wildlife is still a significant food source in some parts of the world. In other areas, hunting and non-commercial fishing are mainly seen as a sport or recreation. Meat sourced from wildlife that is not traditionally regarded as game is known as bush meat. The increasing demand for wildlife as a source of traditional food in East Asia is decimating populations of sharks, primates, pangolins and other animals, which they believe have aphrodisiac properties.

Africa can learn from China’s efforts to conserve its wildlife resources, a pan-African wildlife conservation body has said.

Fred Kumah, vice president of external affairs at African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) said that China has used a combination of conservation measures and community engagement to achieve wildlife conservation success which is an area Africa needs to keep in focus.

“The lessons from giant panda recovery are already present in Africa and being implemented across key endangered species,” he said, adding: “Very critical to the recovery was the engagement of communities, both in protection and in projects that ensured benefits to communities as well as increased the habitat space of the species.”

The official said a keen focus on securing habitat space, preventing further loss and fragmentation of wildlife space is going to be the next and most important factor in securing wildlife populations going forward in Africa.

He added that most African countries need species recovery plans aimed at wildlife species identified as endangered or vulnerable because they will help in mobilising stakeholders in support of actions that will lead the desired results.

He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging to all aspects of society, especially the conservation sector where isolation measures have impacted revenues from nature tourism and protected areas.

“There is certainly an increased threat to biodiversity loss as communities turn to other forms of livelihoods sources to meet their needs,” he revealed.

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