The theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day campaign is particularly relevant to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) – especially after the decision at last year’s Conference of the Parties in Manila to add the Lion and the Leopard to the Convention’s Appendices, joining the Snow Leopard and the Cheetah.
Initiatives such as World Wildlife Day are invaluable weapons in the fight to conserve endangered wildlife because of the vital role they play in raising public awareness and making the case for action to ensure the survival of our natural heritage.
Clearly all is not well when the Lion, the “King of the Beasts”, is undergoing dramatic population declines in its African heartlands – and there are similar causes for concern relating to the Leopard, the Cheetah and the Snow Leopard. We know what the pressures are – poaching, habitat loss, conflicts with livestock owners – and we know that the solutions lie in involving local communities in conservation efforts, combatting illegal trade and taking environmental considerations into account in planning processes.
Paris without the Eiffel Tower? Egypt without the Pyramids? Unimaginable! But the African savannah without its Lions or the Asian Mountains without Snow Leopards are both real prospects, unless things change. And things will only change if …