The war against extinction
If human beings are one of nature’s greatest manifestations, we have also become its worst nightmare. We are capable of both good and bad – and the bad things are bringing about a serious imbalance in the natural world: by destroying forests, hunting animals (despite their laws against this) for their meat or for commercial ends, intensifying economic and industrial activities that cause pollution and degrade ecosystems, and over-exploiting natural resources, humans are weakening the environment and endangering wild animal and plant life. Biotopes are being destroyed, species are dying out. One bird in 8, 1 mammal in 4 and 1 amphibian in 3 are currently endangered. Sadly, for some it is already too late. For others, all is not lost: in situ* conservation projects combining habitat protection, scientific research and the sustainable development of local communities are contributing to the protection of species that are in a bad state.
Zoos, including La Palmyre, play an active role in the conservation of endangered species, either by helping finance such programs or by providing them with scientific, technical or logistical support (sending zoo vets, keepers or ethologists to work with them, buying materials, creating educational materials...).
Methods differ but the aim remains the same: to conserve animals whose survival is directly endangered in the short term by deforestation, hunting, increased human activity and habitat destruction.
The Zoo de La Palmyre has a special interest in several in situ conservation programs. Most of them involve primates, both because these constitute 27% of the animals at the zoo and because they are among the most endangered animals in the wild.
We also support programs that aim to protect an animal species weakened in its natural environment, usually but not always one represented at the zoo itself, to improve living conditions for local populations and to raise their awareness about the conservation of their environment.
*: in their natural environment
Photo credit: ©Florence Perroux.