Today marks World Wildlife Day and the 2016 theme is “The future of wildlife is in our hands.” The sub-theme focuses on African and Asian elephants under the theme “The future of elephants is in our hands”.
The major threats to elephants and wildlife as a whole are poaching in which up to thousands of elephants are killed yearly, and climate change which results in habitat loss and hence wildlife loss. Poaching results or is fueled by a ready market for ivory and other wildlife products.
Deforestation and land clearance result in habitat loss and also food source for the herbivores, this in turn sets in a cycle leading to loss and extinction of wild life. Other emerging threats include human-wildlife conflicts, overexctraction of resources like overfishing and also overstating. But as the theme suggests, time to act is now and it is all in our hands.
Need for wildlife conservation:
1. To maintain an ecological balance for supporting life.
2. To preserve biodiversity.
3. To preserve the economical importance of the different species of plants and animals.
4. To conserve the endangered species.
Wildlife management aims to balance the needs of both wildlife and humans and for it to be successful, a multidisciplinary approach must be applied.
The important principles of wildlife management are:
1. Wildlife management must be based on biological data, this ensures accuracy and effectiveness.
2. Management efforts must include or involve the community and the public, since it is our actions that affect the ecosystem and wildlife.
3. Management must be defined to benefit both plants and animals in an ecosystem. (Wildlife includes both plants and animals, all organisms. )
4. Management means conservation, which is wise use, not preservation, none use.
Efforts that can be put in place to conserve and manage our wildlife include:
Formulation of strict acts and regulations to prevent poaching and encroachment of designated parks and reserves and also ensure protection of already endangered species.
Afforesration programs also go a long way in restoration of damaged habitats and food sources and also in combating climate change.
Education and awareness of the public goes a long way in informing on the importance of wildlife to us and how to conserve and manage our wildlife and ecosystems.
Wildlife is a renewable resource, if well managed and given enough time it can regenerate. It is not to late to save our wildlife and most especially our elephants.
Today is also Wangari Maathai day, in her honour lets play our part in ecosystem care and conservation. What is your little thing?