International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May 2015

“SUSTAINING A HEALTHY PLANET REQUIRES ALL OUR EFFORTS THIS INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR BIOLOGICAL BIODIVERSITY”

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Extracted from EWT Newsflash 21st May 2015

“Can the planet still bear the growing human population and sustain plant and animal species to the benefit of all? With only one planet and limited natural resources available for the survival of all living creatures, including seven billion people worldwide, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) calls on all South Africans to join us in marking this International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May 2015. The over exploitation and uneven use of our natural resources is a major threat to our biodiversity.

Despite the declining rate of our biodiversity, South Africa remains one of the countries with high levels of biodiversity. South Africa occupies only 2% of the world’s land surface area and yet is home to 10% of the world’s plant species and 7% of its reptile, bird and mammal species. Our oceans are home to about 10 000 life forms representing 16% of the world’s marine wildlife. Our country ranks as one of the top birding destinations in the world and is a sanctuary to more than 9000 plants species and home to the magnificent Big Five, a big draw card for our tourism.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), globally about one third of all known species are threatened with extinction. That includes 29% of all amphibians, 21% of all mammals and 12% of all birds. If we do not address the threats to biodiversity, we could be facing another mass extinction with dire consequences to the environment, economy, human health and our livelihoods.

In line with the International Day for Biological Diversity 2015 theme “Sustainable Development”, there is a growing need for business, civil society and governments around the world to manage and protect the natural capital on which we all depend.

As one of South Africa’s leading biodiversity conservation organisations, the EWT is aware of the importance of integrating the conservation of species, habitats and ecosystem processes and we therefore focus much of our work on protecting both threatened species and habitats. The species we work with often act as indicators of the health of the ecosystems in which they occur. Successful conservation thus means protecting the habitats that support species – including human beings – and in this way entire ecosystems reap the benefits of our work.

To highlight International Day for Biological Diversity and raise awareness of the declining state of our biodiversity and the need to reverse this trend, the EWT will be facilitating awareness sessions and events.” For more information:

Contact:  Lillian Mlambo –  Communications Manager, Endangered Wildlife Trust

  Tel: +27 11 372 3600  
lillianm@ewt.org.za

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