Funday Times

The Call of the Wild

By Patricia Valicenti/ Sardine Features

The animals of the mountains come out of the woods to converse with Little Wolf, for he is another species that makes up the diversity of life on earth, often called biodiversity. But this natural world in which we all thrive is disappearing before our very eyes.

African Fish Eagle
(Haliaeetus vocifer) has a call that is both penetrating and unforgettable, as its Latin name implies. It is known as the Voice of Africa.
Copyright: Francis Apesteguy/ Sardine Features

To draw attention and spur action, the United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity, inviting one and all to help safeguard the natural world around us. Threats to the species that make up biodiversity include habitat destruction, over-exploitation, development and pollution, explains the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

One species is using the planet’s resources at a frighteningly fast rate: we, the human species. We exploit mountain slopes for their minerals and tear down forests to make room for housing and agriculture.

The good news

However, amid the gloom and doom about the fate of the earth’s biodiversity, there is plenty of room for hope.

  • Wildlife conservation efforts around the world have brought species back from the brink of extinction, notably the American bald eagle and the California condor. Similarly, the Mexican grey wolf is the object of a vast conservation and re-introduction program, spearheaded by the U.S. government.
  • Volunteer programs for youth both locally and internationally that can lead to environmental careers and vocations. For example, the Earth Watch “teen teams” of 16 and 17-year-olds go on
    expeditions to help scientists and naturalists to observe and conserve species.
  • Conservation organizations, and even newspapers, are taking their efforts one step further by
    purchasing wild forest to protect habitat. The Cat Survival Trust bought a rain forest in Argentina where wild cats roam, safely, now. The Rocher des Aigles (the Rock of the Eagles) has done the same in Mexico, in the lush forest of Nanciyaga, the traditional habitat for the highly
    endangered harpy eagle.
  • Newspapers also help youth with both action and awareness. For example, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s leading paper, bought property on a river as part of the community campaign among young people it led to successfully save the Rospuda River from a new highway that would have destroyed it, and Express & Echo, a small daily in the United Kingdom, encourages and awards school efforts in support of the environment.
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