Universal Efforts Introduced by WCS to Prevent Turtle Extinction
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) finally announced on April 11, the launch of a new strategy that brings into play all of the expertise and the resources from its aquarium, zoos, global conservation and global health programs. The cooperation of all these parties will attempt to take responsibility for the constant survival of the most endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles all over the world. The plan which appeared in a 2011 report by WCS and other organizations, consists of preventing at least half of the turtle species from going extinct.
It wasn’t long ago when a few animal conservationists released reports that more than half of the world’s 330 different species of tortoise and turtles were bound to be extinct in a few years’ time. The population of the turtles are greatly affected by habitat loss and extreme climate change brought about by global warming and overexploitation. Turtles are considered to be symbols of natural heritage because they hold an essential role in several cultures. Many Southeast Asian cultures use turtles for food, medicine, and pets. Furthermore, they are substantively nested in the food web; sea turtles feed on sea grass on the ocean floor which keeps the grass short and healthy. A sea grass that’s healthy is vital for many crustaceans, shellfish, and fish species, especially because it serves as their breeding ground. WCS will aspire to lessen threats to turtles that are highly endangered by working closely with pertinent governments as more than half of the world’s species of freshwater tortoises and turtles’ population are slowly but surely becoming extinct.
WCS will continue to reintroduce and breed a few species, improve colonies for others, and safeguard sub-classes with field work. In addition, WCS will make use of its aquarium, conservation field program, four zoos, and its health program to approach this challenge. According to Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, Vice President of Species Conservation at WCS, the only way for them to be able to successfully address the threats to the world’s endangered turtles is to gather all the resources and the vast knowledge across the whole of WCS. The organization has a long history and current extensive expertise which positions them to rise to the challenge in conserving the threatened species of tortoises and turtles.
Bronx Zoo Director and WCS Executive Vice President, Jim Breheny said that the protection of freshwater turtles and tortoises has been the Wildlife Conservation Society’s mission from the very start: to bring its knowledge for achieving its goal of safeguarding species from complete extinction. Furthermore, the zoological health staff of WCS will ensure that the tortoises and turtles they will breed at their zoos are in the best of health before they are released into the wild. They will also make certain that diseases are not brought in to the wild population over the course of their release.
At present, WCS constantly works with several US government agencies in favor of turtle conservation. The organization has even asked the US Congress to fully fund the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Without Borders Program for projects on conservation of freshwater turtles and tortoises around the world.
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