A staggering number of animals may become historic memories in the not-too-distant future as more than one million species face extinction.
The United Nations released the results of a three-year study that showed a significant portion of 8.7 million species on the planet will vanish within decades.
“No-one will be able to claim that they did not know,” – Audrey Azoulay
Featuring the work of 400 experts from 50 countries, the UN presented its stark findings at the UNESCO headquarters last month – the first report since 2005.
“No-one will be able to claim that they did not know,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay says. “We can no longer continue to destroy the diversity of life.
“This is our responsibility towards future generations. It is as vital as fighting climate change.”
Changes in land and sea use, the direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasion of alien species were analysed over the past 50 years revealing 25% of animal and plant species are now vulnerable.
“Marine plastic pollution in particular has increased tenfold since 1980, affecting at least 267 species including 86% of marine turtles, 44% seabirds and 43% marine mammals,” the report stated.
Experts believe there may be no South China tigers left in the wild today, with only 100 in captivity in 2015.
“We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” – Sir Robert Watson
The number of Bornean orangutans has halved in the past 60 years as a result of humans destroying their habitat. Meanwhile, giant pandas are vulnerable, Asian elephants are endangered and Hawksbill sea turtles are critically endangered. The last remaining male Sumatran rhino passed away in May 2019 and koalas have been deemed “functionally extinct”.
“We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide,” Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Chair Sir Robert Watson says.
But all hope isn’t lost. Some of the world’s leading companies are doing their bit to save the planet.
4 big businesses helping to save animals
With brands including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Veuve Clicquot and TAG Heuer under its wing, LVMH announced a five-year partnership with UNESCO to support the Man and Biosphere biodiversity program.
The billion-dollar company will support the intergovernmental scientific program with hopes it achieves the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Closely monitoring traceability and compliance of materials used and reducing CO2 emissions are some of the efforts measured to combat climate change.
Tiffany & Co.
In attempts to protect threatened African elephant populations, Tiffany & Co. launched its Tiffany Save the Wild collection where 100% of profits are donated to the Wildlife Conservation Network.
Since the jewellery empire established its namesake foundation, more than US$75 million has been donated in grants to several not-for-profit organisations focusing on responsible mining, and coral and marine conservation.
As the ocean is facing its biggest threat in history, the luxury US brand committed more than US$1 million in 2018 to protect and restore Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
It may be synonymous with bringing smiles to children’s faces, but Disney is also playing its part in saving the wilderness.
The Disney Conservation Fund supports 76 organisations working to protect the magic of nature for future generations to treasure.
More than US$75 million has been donated to charities working in 120 countries to support over 2,000 conservation projects in desperate attempts to save wildlife.
The brainchild of Jeff Bezos has donated more than US$100 million to charities including World Wildlife Fund through its sister site AmazonSmile.
Giving customers the power to choose which charity they would like to support, the program offers the same shopping experience as its main website with the addition of donating 0.5% of the purchase price to a variety of foundations.
“AmazonSmile is a way for customers to support their favourite charity every time they shop with Amazon, at no extra cost,” the website states.