Wildlife conservation is a hot topic that many environmental organizations are working hard to improve. How much have we done to protect the wildlife in the UAE? How much damage have we done to the wildlife already? Why is wildlife so important? Tempo explores the issues…
What have we done to cause danger to wildlife?
Wildlife is under the threat due to different kinds of human activities and changes in natural habitat. We have destroyed the homes of wildlife, invading their space, and spreading diseases that are detrimental for these species. As this is the biggest issue of our generation, global warming also has a negative impact for wildlife. For example, polar bears are dying by drowning because their homes are melting due to global warming.
How has the wildlife population changed?
The World Wildlife Fund reports that in the last 40 years, fifty-two percent of the world’s animals have vanished. In 2012, wildlife was down by about thirty percent, but in 2014, that percentage grew to about half of the entire animal population. Habitat loss killed many animals such as tigers, reducing the population from 100,000 tigers in the 20 th century to just 30,000 in the 21 st .
Why is wildlife so important?
Wildlife is vital for the balance of nature. If species become extinct, they cannot be replaced. Without animals, people’s livelihoods can be endangered as we depend on animals to earn money and for our survival. In the end, it all comes down to humans. The reason why wildlife is in danger is because of human activities such as over-consumption and overproduction of natural resources. We should protect the species that are alive and perhaps even help to recover the endangered animals.
What is the world doing to conserve wildlife?
There are so many global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that exist to protect the wildlife such as World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC).
World Wildlife Fund
The WWF is the best-known organization for wildlife conservation, and they work with animals in almost all regions of the world, from the Amazon to the Coral Triangle in the Western Pacific Ocean. They also work on global issues such as food security and climate conservation. They are focused on seventeen animals that are critically endangered. WWF aims to empower people to protect wildlife, stop wildlife crime, catalyze innovations in technology for wildlife conservation, and to elevate the wildlife’s worth.
They empower people to protect wildlife by working with the local population. Stopping wildlife crime is difficult but the WWF uses advocacy and communications to build awareness about illegal crimes such as ivory poaching and wildlife trade.
What is the UAE doing to conserve wildlife?
The Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi (EAD) takes care of more than 50,000 animals throughout the Emirates. They check the health of the wildlife, the regulations that protect them, and areas that need more attention for conservation. The EAD have vaccination programs and health screening for these animals to keep them safe and away from diseases. The Arabian Oryx is a good example of what the UAE has done to conserve wildlife. These animals had been near extinction but the EAD restored some of the Oryx populations and now the UAE is home to fifty-eight percent of the total population of Arabian Oryx.
The dugong population in the UAE has also seen great improvements. “Dugongs are notoriously shy and elusive to humans,” the EAD states, however the EAD has managed to tag a few of them and now it is estimated that there are more than 7,000 dugongs in the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea. In Abu Dhabi, the EAD established two protected marine areas with sea grass beds where dugongs thrive. Although animals such as the Arabian Leopard are at the brink of extinction, the EAD has preserved parts of its mountain habitat. Another species that has been restored is the Hawksbill Sea Turtle.
Hawksbill Turtles on Saadiyat Island
Alongside the Saadiyat Beach at the Park Hyatt and St. Regis is a protected marine area for the Hawksbill Sea Turtles. Once critically endangered, they have now found themselves a nesting place on Saadiyat Island where they come back to lay their eggs every year.
The Hawksbill turtles are famous for their brown and yellow carapace plates that can be manufactured into luxury goods. This turtle is a victim of illegal wildlife trade as their plates are rare and fetch high prices. In the past century, the population of these sea turtles has declined by eighty percent. Yet the loss of the Hawksbill turtles is disastrous to the ecosystem as their presence helps to keep the coral reefs alive and vibrant
We owe it to the earth to keep wildlife alive.