Posted on 21st September 2020 by Media Relations
Biodiversity is what underpins all life on earth. The recently released Biological Diversity Outlook Report tells us that urgent action is needed to sustain life as we know it. Humanity stands at a crossroads with regard to the legacy it leaves to future generations.
Biodiversity delivers services to support our ecosystems. Crop pollination, water purification, flood protection and carbon sequestration all rely on biodiversity and are vital to human well-being and our health. According to a report prepared by the OECD, these services are worth an estimated $125-140 trillion (US dollars) per year, i.e. more than one and a half times the size of global GDP.
We are not living in harmony with nature, 96% of the world’s biomass is humans or domesticated plants and animals. 70% of all birds on earth are poultry and at least 40% of the known invertebrates that are studied are endangered. Climate change, land clearing, introduced pests, illegal wildlife trade and pollution are some of the major causes of the decline in biodiversity. Catastrophic events like the Australian bushfires have a devastating impact on biodiversity through population decline, habitat fragmentation and degradation.
Australia is one of only 16 megadiverse countries on earth. Shockingly we rank 2nd in biodiversity loss.
Despite the devastation released in the report, Taronga believes there is still hope and we must continue to deliver the urgent actions needed. The report highlights progress in island conservation with more than 200 successful on-island eradications including Taronga’s efforts on Lord Howe Island and points to a related study that shows that at least 28 mammal and bird extinctions were prevented by conservation actions in recent decades, many of which have relied on zoo-based conservation efforts, like that which saw the Takhi reintroduced to Mongolia. If this study were to include reptiles and amphibians, Taronga’s efforts would add another 7 species to this list of rescued and conserved species.
In addition to the services that biodiversity provides to our ecosystems and our own personal health, Taronga believes that biodiversity is beautiful. It provides the colours, sounds, songs and inspiration to our planet and joy to the way we live. We must do everything we can to protect it.
Like Taronga, there are plenty of dedicated individuals and organisations in the fight, and there are choices we can all make that support a biodiverse and thriving planet. One of the major risks to the biodiversity decline is people not knowing what stands to be lost, so a small thing you can do is share this message.
If you’d like to find out more about what Taronga is doing to support our biodiversity, or want to join us in our conservation efforts, please visit here.