The world faces the largest extinction event in its history according to Wildlifeline, a UK conservation charity launched this weekend.
Wildlifeline, whose patron is the supermodel Helena Christensen, longtime friend of U2, estimate that 27,000 species are lost annually, the majority of which are down to the ill-considered actions of humans.
'We destroy their habitats. We pollute their territories. And we hunt illegally.' explained Tammy Marlar, Wildlifeline Director. 'Tigers, sharks, leopards, gorillas, orangutans, black rhinos, Asian elephants and sea turtles now find themselves staring down the barrel of extinction. 'Some 73 species become extinct every day of every year.'
The new charity is both campaigning and fund-raising in its aim of saving endangered species and protecting areas of critical habitat worldwide. Wildlifeline point out that future viability of human life is inextricably linked to that of fauna and wildlife which means governments must set aside protected areas and enforce protection.
Along with Helena Christensen, other well known names who have offered support to Wildlifeline include Stella McCartney , Sting, Pat Cash, Midge Ure and Simon and Yasmin le Bon.
Christensen travelled to Swaziland to get a glimpse of the battle being fought on behalf of endangered species.
'When you stand amongst six elephants, you get an intense feeling of their strength. I have such respect for these animals and for the people who have devoted their lives to save them. These beasts have walked the earth for thousands of years; now humans have almost destroyed their existence.'
Wildlifeline aims to implement a range of emergency programmes worldwide and has carefully costed its protection programme. To keep a four man team in the Russian Far East protecting Amur leopards from poachers costs £20,000 a year. Around £150,000 a year will secure proper policing of the world's fourth largest marine reserve around the Galapagos Islands.
If you would like to learn more, visit www.wildlifeline.org
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