Monday, November 30, 2009
Zoos warn of mass extinctions from climate change
Photo By: http://www.flickr.com/photos/albertoalerigi/
Zoos and aquariums are warning they will be the last place on Earth where people will still be able to see species ranging from polar bears to corals, unless global leaders manage to halt climate change.
Governments must set targets limiting levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, to prevent a mass extinction of wildlife, according to a statement signed by more than 200 zoos.
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums want governments to set a target of stabilising CO2 in the atmosphere at 350 parts per million (ppm) to prevent the gas causing temperature rises which will do irreversible damage to habitats such as coral reefs. CO2 levels currently stand at around 385ppm.
Paul Pearce-Kelly, senior curator at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), said: ''From seahorses to golden-headed lion tamarins, zoos and aquariums play a crucial role in breeding endangered species for reintroduction into the wild.
''However, the climate change threat to the natural world is so severe that we're rapidly losing suitable habitats for these species.''
WAZA president Dr Mark Penning said: ''The urgent protection of ecosystems, which act as natural carbon sinks, is vital if humanity is to avoid the fate of runaway climate change.
''Our only hope is that world leaders respond to this reality and take appropriate action.''
He added: ''Climate change is not just
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