By Era Environnement
On November 28, 2023, CNN is holding the third annual Call to Earth Day. The American TV channel involves schools, individuals and organizations around the world to raise awareness of environmental issues and engage in education to protect the planet. On television, on the US private channel’s website and on social networks, journalists tell stories about solutions to protect wildlife and the relationship between man and nature. CNN presents portraits of people with unique profiles.
For this year’s Call to Earth Day, CNN highlights the crucial link between cities and wilderness. In a half-hour special, “Our Shared Home”, on TV, featured on social media, CNN teams highlight the link between cities and wilderness. Its objective: to show the relationship between man and nature. This special issue raises the debate and brings solutions on conflicts between man and nature in cities, but also in rural areas.
A program to compensate for farm losses
CNN recalls that earlier this year, India overthrew China as the most populous country in the world, marking an impressive rise. Even though only 5% of its territory is occupied by nature, India stands out as home to the largest concentration of tigers and Asian elephants in the world. Year after year, thousands of situations confront local communities with these majestic mammals, causing damage, injuries, and too often, tragic losses on both sides.
In the documentary broadcast on CNN, Dr. Krithi Karanth, conservation biologist and Rolex Award winner, an award recognizing humanitarian actions , encourages local people living near national parks to take care of wildlife despite the challenges “Charismatic megafauna coexists with an extremely dense population, which sometimes embark on devastating raids on crops and livestock.”She stressed the urgency of the situation.
As Executive Director of the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS), Dr. Karanth has spent the past two decades facilitating rural communities’ access to a program that compensates for their losses. This pragmatic approach significantly mitigated the hostility of rural communities towards wildlife. “It doesn’t solve the problem entirely, but at least it calms people down and prevents retaliation with anger and frustration towards, for example, large animals,” demonstrates the biologist. In conducting his research, Dr. Karanth visited 3,000 villages in conflict zones, seeking ways to minimize the impact of wildlife on rural communities. “I come back with deep admiration for these individuals, because despite repeated trials, they understand the need to find a way to live with wildlife,” she underlines.
“Finding a balance between development and nature conservation is a real challenge”
Singapore, one of the world’s fastest-growing cities, is under constant pressure on its natural resources in the face of a dense urban population. The city is home to the Raffles Langur, ranked among the 25 most endangered primates in the world, with only a few hundred surviving in the wild. Dr Andie Ang, a primatologist, is firmly committed to a rescue mission. “Finding a balance between development and nature conservation is a real challenge,” she explains. And she adds: “However, I am confident, because we have reached a stage where we recognize the importance of preserving these habitats to coexist harmoniously with our wild neighbors.”
According to Dr Ang, one of the greatest threats to langurs is habitat fragmentation. The city’s green bridges facilitate the passage of animals from one refuge to another, but it remains crucial for the survival of the species that the forests remain intact. For Ryan Lee, Director of Wildlife Management at NParks, these bridges have a proven track record. “This reduces the number of animals killed on the roads and improves the mobility of primates in Singapore,” he describes.
In Tasmania, small penguins live alongside the locals. In collaboration with local conservationists, the expanding University of Tasmania is transforming its parking lots into havens with native plants and artificial burrows for penguins. To the view of Perviz Marker, a volunteer with the Friends of Burnie Penguins association, despite the loss of some colonies in the southeast of the country, many colonies are still alive “thanks to the care of the coast and the commitment of the community.”
As Tasmania moves towards a more sustainable future, the transition to clean energy production poses a significant threat to the island’s natural habitats, CNN brings out. According to environmentalist Bob Brown, this dilemma is twofold. “We face a double challenge, two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, the mass extinction of species that is accelerating due to our destruction of nature, and on the other hand, global warming that is accelerating due to our consumption of fossil fuels and deforestation. ” But the activist remains optimistic.” We still have untouched natural areas, both in the oceans and on land. Preserving these treasures is the responsibility of our generation, as no future generation can go back and undo the consequences of our current actions.”
Robbins Island, located off the north coast of Tasmania, ranks among the windiest places on the planet and could soon be home to one of the world’s largest wind farms. While this prospect can help provide clean energy to the country’s electricity grid, environmentalists fear the impact on the habitat of valuable species, including the Tasmanian devil. Greg Irons, director of Tasmania’s first and only wildlife rescue centre, describes the uniqueness of the region: “We are a kind of Noah’s ark for Australian wildlife, a final refuge for several species that once inhabited all of Australia, and now only survive in Tasmania.
The broadcast on CNN of these portraits raises the debate on the situation in Gabon in Central Africa. According to Sosthène, Ndong, representative of the eco-guards of Gabon, the situation between man and wildlife has not changed. Former water and forestry minister Lee White promised compensation to communities whose crops were damaged by elephants”. The political landscape in Gabon has changed following the coup. The establishment of a transitional government should, according to the protagonists, allow a better integration of local concerns. At present, local people living near forests face enormous challenges related to the relationship with animals, land and business space