Habitat for wildlife is under threat across the world. Endangered animals from Asia to Africa, from Europe to South America, the Arctic to the Antarctic are increasingly finding their very survival hanging by a thread. If we want to save the earth, in all its wonderful diversity and richness, then it is vital that we take collective and international action now.
Thankfully, many people are fighting back on behalf of endangered species. The World Wildlife Fund is among many organisations which are looking to preserve environments and habitats for increasingly rare species. This wildlife conservation society works across the world, and in a variety of different environments.
Work is being carried out by conservation organisations in the Amur-Heilong region, which lies on the border between Russia and China. The temperate forest of the area is a precious resource on its own, well worth saving, but it is also essential to the continued existence of the Amur leopard. Conservation workers engage with local communities to help keep areas of forest untouched by logging and other commercial activities.
One of the most challenged rare species is the Amur Leopard, with only 35 or so individuals estimated to be left in existence in the wild. This beautiful animal, distinguished from other species of leopard by the widely spaced rosettes with thick borders on its coat, is considered the world’s rarest big cat. It is found in the Russian Far East, with some individuals in China and perhaps North Korea.
Orangutans are one of the great apes, of which only two distinct species survive. One population, on the island of Borneo, number 55,000, while the other, on Sumatra, consists of around 7,500 individuals. Those numbers may seem large, but when compared to an estimated total population of around 230,000 just over a century ago, the kind of pressure this primate is under becomes clearer.
Often, the needs of local populations of people can seem at odds with the needs of local animals, especially when it comes to habitat. Much of the wealth of developing countries comes from their rich natural resources. Business development can often create opportunities for wealth which ruin natural habitat irretrievably.
Thankfully, many global conservation organisations are working alongside both governments and local business interests across the world. They work to try and ensure that resources are used sustainably, in the long term interests of both people and rare animals.
The home environment of the orangutan is the rainforest. These orange coloured creatures spend much of their time in treetops. Long arms, wider than their bodies are tall and often stretching for over two metres across, enable them to swing in the trees. They can also eat while hanging from branches.
Protection of their forest environment is crucial to their continued survival in the wild. Poaching is a problem, as well as illegal logging. Conservation organisations work to establish protected areas of forest, linking together these protected areas wherever possible. They also work to try and restore areas of degraded forest back to their former glory.
International anti-trafficking organisations work to prevent animals being captured as pets or killed for meat. Many orangutans are still sadly found being sold in markets each year in Java and elsewhere in Asia.
Hopefully, with care and thought, enough of the natural world can be saved. This great animal planet of ours has so much diversity. We do not want to see more magnificent animals like the Amur Leopard go the way of recently extinct animals such as the Thylacine or the Quagga. Thankfully, many committed people are working to make sure that both the habitat for animals, and the needs of the local people, are being protected.