World Wildlife Day 2017

Today is World Wildlife Day, it is celebrated on the 3rd of March each year to raise awareness of endangered animals and plants. Some of the animals that need our urgent help in the wild are tigers, lions and elephants.

Tigers

The Sumatran Tiger is the smallest out of the tiger species. Due to research of tiger fossils it has been estimated that they could be more then 2 million years old. Because of poaching, habitat destruction and tigers being used for medicine we have lost 97% of wild tigers. One of the organisations that does wonderful work and conservation projects is 21st Century Tiger that are based at ZSL London Zoo. They fund projects including anti poaching and monitoring tigers in Russia and Parsa Wildlife Reserve in Nepal http://www.21stcenturytiger.org/2016/08/02/increase-in-tiger-numbers-nepal/ Organisations like 21st Century Tiger give tigers some hope for the future. Their projects have helped tiger numbers increase in Nepal the past 3 years which is great news for tigers and will hopefully help the survival of the species.

Lions

In the wild Asiatic Lions live in Gir Forest National Park in India, this lion species is also known as the Indian Lion. One of the differences between the Asiatic and African Lions is the Asiatic has a shorter mane. In the 1900s Asiatic Lions were hunted for sport which caused them to be nearly extinct. Since 2010 their numbers have increased from 100 to 500 in the national park and Gir Conservation Area. Even though numbers are increasing they are still endangered from threats such as disease. Some of the lions have had cubs which is good news and will hopefully help the survival of the Asiatic Lion species. ZSL have got together with the Wildlife Institude of India and Gujarat Forest Department to help protect Asiatic Lions in their natural habitat and set up patrolling system with forest rangers.  If you would like more information on how ZSL help lions visit https://www.zsl.org/conservation/regions/asia/protecting-asiatic-lions-in-the-gir-forest

Elephants

The Elephant is the largest land mammal living on Earth, they live in Nepal, India and South East Asia. Due to habitat destruction, human conflict and being poached for their ivory they are critically endangered and have declined by 50% in Asia. As there is still a demand for ivory tusks, everyday 100 elephants loose their lives which is shocking and very sad. It is one of the reasons why these special mammals could become extinct. The EU have recently confirmed elephants could be extinct in only 25 years because of the ivory trade. One of the organisations who do great work is Chester Zoo's conservation Act for Wildlife, they do projects in the UK and overseas including teaching people to live with elephants in their natural habitat. One of their campaigns is We Never Forget in memory of Bala and Hari from Chester Zoo who unfortunately passed away from the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus, the virus affects young elephants around the world. Through the campaign they are funding research to try and help elephants in zoos and the wild so less are affected by this horrible disease. In the future they hope to find a cure for the virus. For more information please visit www.actforwildlife.org.uk