Goodbye, panthera leo persica?

Here is a challenge for you: Can you make a list of 100 animals and plants?
When you are done, cross out 20 of them. They might become extinct faster than you think.

One fifth of world’s animal and plant species are threatened to become extinct, the latest scientific study shows. It was a joint effort of some 174 authors from 38 countries – seems like a report you can trust to me.

They found out that about 50 species of mammal, bird and amphibian move closer to extinction each year. The reasons are easy to guess: agricultural expansion, logging, over-exploitation and invasive alien species.

There is some good news as well. This study is the first one to provide clear evidence that conservation efforts actually work. If nothing had been done, the status of biodiversity would have declined by nearly 20%!

The report shows that in total, “survival societies” all over the world helped to improve the status of more than 60 species.

I was especially delighted to read that Przewalski’s Horse is now living in the wild again. I remember reading in “The Animal World” by Igor Akimushkin, a popular Russian book for children written in 1970-s, that those unique animals were about to become extinct… Have a look at them at this video, aren’t they beautiful?

But still, “the current level of conservation action is outweighed by the magnitude of threat”. Sadly, saving more species means more money involved… Money that governments and businessmen often prefer to have to spend on something else.

But in fact everyone can support the initiative. If you are in London, one of the easiest ways to help is to spend a day in ZSL London Zoo. We went there last Friday, and enjoyed it.

It gives you goose bumps when you meet all those animals and think about the power of Nature/God who created them. Animals there are weird and amazing, scary and cute, tiny and huge, transparent and extremely colourful; every single one unique and perfect.

But it is a waste of time to try to verbally describe them… You should see them with your own eyes. Here are some pictures from our trip, though, taken by Stefanie Söhnchen, my pretty – and witty! – German classmate.

By the way, on the 26th of October something joyous happened at the Zoo: first-time mother Mjukuu, a western lowland gorilla, gave birth to the healthy baby =) The species is marked as “critically endangered” by IUCN.

Related links:

IUCN’s (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) press-release on the study

BBC’s abridged version of it

ZSL London Zoo

Stefanie’s blog (more pictures from ZSL London Zoo there)

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