Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Heartache and hope

Sigh. So much is going on this world that just makes me want to hang my head in despair. But really we can't afford to do that, can we.

I want to share this web site that I check out every day, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Every day they have a species highlighted that is in some way threatened in its continued survival. They list species from the entire living kingdom: fungi through primates. Most of the time, in my informal survey, the reason listed for the organism’s plight is habitat destruction. And, most of the time, that habitat destruction is human-caused, in one way or another.

Yesterday, I was stunned to see Grevy’s Zebra on the list. When I was in my 20’s I went to Kenya and went on a safari to Samburu National Park. I got to see Grevy’s Zebra next to the more common Plains Zebra. Grevy’s Zebra have narrow stripes and almost look brown. Apparently, only about 750 Grevy’s Zebra remain in the wild. Habitat loss and hunting account for part of this population decrease. Efforts are underway to protect this zebra, so there is hope.

When I see these threatened species I know the answers for their protection are not simple, people around the world are just trying to survive. In Kenya, safaris and eco-tourism are huge so that is why the Grevy’s Zebra have a good chance. Here in the U.S. we have a big impact on the land. But instead of being overwhelmed by what we need to do we need to remember that, as my friend, the super walker, said “every little bit counts.” So I can start, or continue, by walking and taking the bus more.