When we think of endangered animals, our thoughts immediately spring to exotic species such as orangutans, tigers and the rhinoceros – native to far-flung countries with no connection to the UK. Indeed, it is sadly true that numerous species are now fast on the road to becoming extinct. Around 40% of the world’s species are already on the endangered list with 2464 registered as Critically Endangered in 2014. Creatures such as the Sumatran orangutan, lowland gorilla and black rhino are disappearing in the wild. According to the WWF there are now only around 3200 tigers left outside of zoos and only around 720 wild mountain gorillas.
In Madagascar, the Silky Sifaka is one of the rarest mammals in the world and only around 1000 Ploughshare tortoises are left in their natural habitat. It is important, however, to realise that here in the UK too we have our share of endangered animals and it is every bit as important to protect their welfare as that of more exotic creatures. Our native red squirrel has a remaining wild population of only around 140,000 and even our beloved hedgehog has declined in numbers over the last 70 years. In both Madagascar and the UK, conservation projects have been set up to protect wildlife and their habitats.
Destruction of natural environments and animal habitats in both Madagascar and the UK have contributed to the loss of native species and despite the differences in landscape between our countries, the same biodiversity issues apply. Increasing populations in both nations have put pressure on nature. Building projects, industry and food production for these populations have steadily destroyed many areas where plants and animal life have flourished for generations. Whether a tropical rainforest or British woodland, the effect on nature is the same with species struggling to survive and eventually being pushed out of existence.