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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > October-December 2018 (84) > WHY WILDLIFE MATTERS

WHY WILDLIFE MATTERS

President of the African Wildlife Foundation, Kaddu Sebunya, tells us why we should care

Humanity’s remarkable ability to self-destruct is one of the most inexplicable yet enduring paradoxes of life. We are perhaps the only species endowed with the capacity to understand nature yet so terribly poor at managing it.

A recent study by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States observes that since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83 per cent of all wild animals and nearly half of plants. In Africa, we have seen lion go extinct in 26 countries and the elephant population is a tenth of what it used to be at the start of the 20th century. The main threat to wildlife has been the systematic destruction of habitat. We are losing 100 trees per minute. People cut down 15 billion trees each year and the global tree count has fallen by 46 per cent since the beginning of human civilisation. Scientists argue that at the current rates of deforestation, rainforests will be gone in a century.

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Special Wildlife Issue, celebrating Africa's fauna • Big Cat lovers • Understanding elephants • In praise of primates • Painted dogs • Snakes • Birds • The wildlife in forests, deserts and rivers... and much more!