Print Edition - 2019-05-11  |  On Saturday

The future of life on Earth lies in the balance

  • the guardian

May 11, 2019-


Wildlife trade

“The world is waking up to the fact that pangolins are facing extinction as a result of the illegal wildlife trade. Sadly, their natural defence is a gift to traffickers. When threatened they roll into a tight ball. This protects them from predators in the wild, but enables criminals to transport them with ease, just like footballs. To save these remarkable creatures, we need to spread the word and push to stop this illegal trade.”

Paul De Ornellas

Chief wildlife adviser, WWF


Polar ice cap melting

“The Arctic is in meltdown – it is warming over twice as fast as the global average. Climate change means that walrus, polar bears and people may soon face an ice-free Arctic ocean during the summer, unless we take urgent action now. Though it may seem remote, the impacts felt in the Arctic are not limited to national borders … Nature is crying out for help in every corner of the planet, and it is time for us to listen before we lose the wonders we take for granted.”

Rod Downie

Chief polar adviser, WWF


Wildlife corridors

“Tigers can travel over 100km to establish their own territories, so these connecting habitats are critical for wild tiger population recovery, and to help achieve the global goal to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, from as few as 3,200 in 2010. However, they are under pressure from habitat loss and poaching. It’s crucial that we do all we can to maintain and connect their habitats, and protect tigers from being hunted.”

Rebecca May

Tiger conservation manager, WWF



“Every year millions of hectares of pristine tropical rainforest are lost for the production of beef, soy, timber and palm oil. These magnificent forests store huge amounts of carbon and are home to some of our planet’s greatest wildlife. Their protection is critical to stop runaway climate change and halt the sixth mass extinction.”

Jack Harries

Film-maker activist and

WWF ambassador

Plastic pollution

“Nature is our life support system and without it our lives on this earth would be impossible and unimaginable. We have to stop seeing the natural world as something to be exploited and taken for granted. Nature matters to me and it should matter to you. We need to put more value on our natural assets and stop destroying our precious planet.”

Chris Packham

TV presenter, naturalist and

founder of Wild Justice

Land degradation

“Humankind has already seriously altered three-quarters of Earth’s land surfaces – with no hint of respite. If we are truly to live within the sustainable bounds of our extraordinary planet and leave the space for nature that it so desperately needs, we have to step back and be more considerate about the way we treat our world. More than that, we must actively work to repair the blatant damage we have done. And we have to do that immediately; starting today.”

Mark Wright

Director of science, WWF

Freshwater habitats

“River dolphin populations in Asia are plummeting due to human activities such as dam building, fishing, boat traffic and pollution. We cannot allow that to happen to one of the Amazon’s most charismatic mammals. We need to act fast to save this species and avoid the fate of the baiji, the first river dolphin species driven to extinction by humans. Our freshwater habitats – including lakes, rivers and wetlands – are the most threatened of all our global habitats.

Damian Fleming

Director of conservation, WWF


“We are overfishing our oceans at an alarming rate and choking them with plastic and other pollutants. If we want to see healthy seas that will continue to provide us with food, we need to stop this over-exploitation, protect our incredible marine environments and make sustainable fishing the norm, as we see here.”

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Chief and vice-president of Fauna and Flora International

Published: 11-05-2019 12:11

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