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想拯救地球?从支持本地动物园开始做起

Robin Ganzert 2018年04月25日

有些动物几乎已经失去天然栖息地,却仍奇迹般绵延数代,动物园和水族馆能帮助延续种族。

上月全球最后一头雄性北方白犀牛离世,给动物保护活动和世界各地的动物爱好者敲响了警钟。 这是大型野生动物群生存环境堪忧的最新警报:全球约有1700种哺乳动物、鸟类、爬行动物、两栖动物和鱼类严重濒危。

为了让人们进一步意识到,污染和过度开发等人类行为威胁生态多元化,每年的4月22日被定为世界地球日。人类得以借机反思,曾同住地球生活的大型野生动物缘何一步步走向灭绝,有哪些方法可以避免地球丧失更多的物种。

2018年的地球日关注消灭塑料污染、尤其是经常流入海洋和航道的一次性塑料。最近网上有一段疯传的视频就反映出塑料对野生动物的威胁。视频的点击量已经超过2100万次,内容是一位美国生物学家帮海龟拔掉鼻孔里的塑料吸管。(视频不但有图像画面,还配有文字说明。)只要你看过这段视频,下一次用塑料管喝奶昔时,你就会不由自主地自我检讨。

但是,除了在餐厅或者酒吧点餐时拒绝用塑料吸管,参与地球日还可以采取一些更主动的方式,比如支持本地的动物园和水族馆,对濒危动物来说这些地方更像现代诺亚方舟。

有些动物几乎已经失去天然栖息地,却仍奇迹般绵延数代,动物园和水族馆能帮助延续种族。一些动物园的标志性动物都属于需要保护的生物,比如大型猫科动物、灵长类动物和熊猫。包括华南虎在内,地球上已经有几十种野生动物在灭绝后完全依赖人工饲养才存活至今。

通过拯救濒危物种,动物园和水族馆也保存了人类和动物之间难以描述的情感联系,它曾经鼓舞着一代代年轻人和怀有赤子之心的人。如果人与动物之间的纽带遭到破坏,濒危物种处境将更加危险。要支持保护动物事业,人们必须首先爱动物,热爱动物就要先了解。城镇化加速发展意味着,动物园和水族馆是大多数人唯一有机会了解濒危动物的地方。在美国,超过1.83亿人每年都去动物园和水族馆,约占全美人口的一半。

动物园可以让最濒危的物种安全生活,在经验丰富的动物学家和饲养员帮助下种群恢复增长。通过动物园的饲养计划,多个物种已脱离濒危的险境,重归大自然的怀抱。阿拉伯大羚羊、美洲鹤、黑足鼬和加州神鹫也在动物园的努力下数量开始回升。在美国华盛顿特区的国家动物园帮助下,野生的金狮面狨数量已经从200只增加到3200只。

动物园和水族馆还能给动物保护行动提供资金支持,每年投入上亿美元进行饲养、生物栖息地和兽医方面的科学研究。世界动物园和水族馆联合会敦促各地动物园,至少将3%的预算用于动物保护工作。大多数动物园都会策划地球日的活动,增进人们对濒危动物的了解。

为了尽可能发挥更大作用,动物园和水族馆应将爱护动物作为最高标准。美国人道协会的人道保护项目会前往动物园和水族馆验收,从而进一步实现目标,确保动物在健康、积极社交、活跃、安全的生活环境,光照、噪声、空气和温度方面也要达到一定水平。具体标准由动物学专家制定。公众显然越来越希望动物享受人道的待遇和积极福利,人道保护项目可提供第三方验证。

地球日提醒人们的有些问题比较大,比如目前太平洋上漂浮着上百万平方英里的废弃塑料。然而也可以从身边做起,支持本地动物园和水族馆,真正为保护濒危物种出一份力,避免其他濒危物种像白犀牛一样从地球上消失。(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

审稿:夏林

 

The death last month of the world’s last remaining male northern white rhinoceros was a red flag for the conservation movement and animal lovers everywhere. It was just the latest reminder of the precarious state of major fauna around the world: There are roughly 1,700 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, or fish that are critically endangered.

Today is Earth Day, which raises awareness about how human actions such as pollution and overdevelopment threaten biodiversity. It presents an opportunity to reflect on the extinction of majestic creatures with whom we once shared the Earth and consider ideas to prevent further species loss.

Earth Day 2018 is focused on ending plastic pollution, particularly the single-use plastics that often end up in our oceans and waterways. The plastic threat to wildlife has been driven home by a recent viral video, viewed over 21 million times, of a straw being removed from the nose of a sea turtle. (This video is graphic and contains explicit language.) It’s difficult to watch and not reflect upon the next time you’re slurping a milkshake.

But there’s something more proactive that Americans can do to celebrate Earth Day besides refusing a plastic straw the next time they’re ordering at a restaurant or bar. They can support their local zoos and aquariums, which act as modern-day arks of hope for endangered animals across the world.

Zoos and aquariums offer a lifeline to animals who have inspired wonder for generations but have little-to-no natural habitat left. These include the most iconic zoo animals—such as big cats, primates, and pandas. Dozens of animals, including the South China tiger, no longer exist in the wild and are only kept in existence because of human care.

By saving species, zoos and aquariums also preserve the indescribable connection between people and animals, which has inspired generations of the young and young-at-heart. If this bond is frayed, it will doom endangered species. To generate support for conserving animals, people must first love animals. And to love animals, people must know them. Increasing urbanization means zoos and aquariums are the only opportunity most people get to knowing threatened animals. More than 183 million people—roughly half of the U.S. population—visit a zoo or aquarium annually.

Safe in zoos, critically endangered species can work to rebuild their populations, with the help of trained zoologists and breeders. Several species have been saved and reintroduced to the wild through zoo breeding programs. The Arabian oryx, whooping crane, black-footed ferret, and California condor have all seen their populations begin to recover as a result of zoos’ efforts. Washington DC’s National Zoo helped increase the population of the golden lion tamarins from about 200 to 3,200 in the wild today.

Zoos and aquariums also help finance conservation efforts, spending hundreds of millions of dollars annually on research efforts in breeding, habitat, and veterinary science. The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums has urged zoos to devote at least 3% of their budgets to conservation work. Most zoos have Earth Day programming today to help raise awareness of their inhabitants’ plight.

To do the most good, zoos and aquariums must be held to the highest standards of animal welfare. American Humane’s Humane Conservation program furthers this goal by certifying that animals in participating zoos and aquariums are healthy, positively social, active, safe, and living with proper light, sound, air, and heat levels. These standards are set by animal science experts, providing the third-party validation of humane treatment and positive welfare that an increasingly discerning public is demanding.

Some of the issues raised by Earth Day seem as vast as the million-square-mile mass of discarded plastics currently floating in the Pacific Ocean. But supporting local zoos and aquariums is a tangible step that has real benefits in protecting endangered species and helping prevent the next white rhino from disappearing from the planet.

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