Introduction to Conservation at Woburn Safari Park

Global Crisis

The world is in the midst of a global extinction crisis with significant declines in animal numbers and loss of their habitats, and this is advancing at an unprecedented rate. Conservation is not simply about avoiding species extinction but about ensuring long term protection and maintenance of viable landscapes, habitats and ecosystems. 

The impact of climate change

Climate change is a large-scale, long-term shift in the planet's weather patterns or average temperatures. The effects are increasing global annual temperatures, changes in rainfall and volatility of weather; warm Octobers and rainy Junes!

This also means sea level rises, retreating glaciers and melting sea ice. There has been a significant change since the industrial revolution and it is widely accepted that this is due to the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. To find out more, the met office is a great place to start: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-guide/climate-change

Habitat Destruction 

Habitat destruction is the process in which natural habitat is rendered unable to support the species present. In this process, the organisms that previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity.

Habitat loss is probably the greatest threat to the variety of life on this planet today. It is identified as a main threat to 85% of all species described in the IUCN's Red List (those species officially classified as "Threatened" and "Endangered").

The amazon rainforest alone creates 20% of the earths oxygen and holds 1/5th of the worlds freshwater, at the current rate of deforestation, the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in 40 years.

Pollution

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. The five main types of pollution we all encounter are air (increasing burning fossil fuels for example), land-non recycled rubbish, particularly e-garbage with the cost of electronic goods, we are throwing away more than ever.

Pollutants in water can have devastating effects on all communities reliant on it, both man and animal. Light and noise pollutions also disrupt natural cycles.

Plastic constitutes 90% of all the rubbish found floating in the oceans. The U.N environmental programme estimates that every square kilometre of ocean contains 120,000 pieces of floating plastic.

Water pollution is the leading cause of deaths worldwide - this equates to 14,000 people daily, with nearly 2 billion people consuming contaminated water each day.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

Wildlife trade is any sale or exchange of wild animal and plant resources by people. This can involve live animals and plants or a diverse range of products needed or prized by humans—including skins, medicinal ingredients, tourist curios, timber, fish and other food products. Most wildlife trade is probably within national borders, but there is a large volume of wildlife in trade internationally.

Conservation Efforts

Conservation and protection of endangered species requires a coordinated effort by both zoos and field conservation initiatives. In zoos this conservation begins with the protection of endangered and vulnerable species through coordinated and managed breeding programmes.
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Fundraising and Conservation Activities

The Woburn Estate and Woburn Safari Park have a long history of conservation work both in-situ (in the species wild habitat) and ex-situ (captive breeding programmes of endangered species, fund-raising for conservation charities, research and education).

  • Read about the endangered species living at Woburn Safari Park and the captive breeding programmes that are designed to protect the future of these species
  • Read about how you can get involved and join us for upcoming charity events at the park
  • Read about conservation projects we have supported or are currently supporting

Other useful links:

http://www.traffic.org/ TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is the leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

http://www.environmentlaw.org.uk/rte.asp?id=205 covers all environmental laws including pollution, wildlife crimes such as shooting birds and disturbing bat roosts.

http://www.fauna-flora.org/ FFI's mission statement: Fauna & Flora International's work spans across the globe, with over 140 projects in over 40 countries, mostly in the developing world.  Mission statement: "We proudly stand up for biodiversity and aim to show just how relevant it is to all of those who share the planet."

FFI was the organisation that directed funding towards the anti tiger poaching patrol unit that Head of Conservation, Hayley Potter went out to Indonesia to work with at the end of last year. Read more: http://www.fauna-flora.org/explore/indonesia/ or click here to read more about Hayley's trip to Indonesia; Trekking for Tigers.