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Wildlife Preservation

The wildlife is one of our greatest resources and it shouldn’t be left to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) or any other international body alone to fight for their preservation. If wildlife is an asset for all of us, then we can share the responsibility of looking after it. In this article we will look at how we are benefited by wildlife and why their preservation is linked to ours.

1. Food production
Only about two dozen animal species have been domesticated for this purpose. But certain wild plants (wild berries) and wild animals (fish, crab, wild ducks) are also considered a source of food for humans.

2. Genes
We are not talking about complicated biotechnology issues here. Wild plants are an important source of genes that can give useful properties to our conventional crops such as corn and tomato. For instance, a wild relative of potato was found in Peru and when its genes were made to interact with those of the normal kind, the result was a disease resistant variety. The thing to remember here is that wild varieties have often evolved to withstand difficult conditions, such as drought, disease and pests. So they are more resistant and strong, ensuring their survival. This is why their genes are particularly useful for farmers who want a good harvest.

3. Biological control
In agriculture, one method to destroy crop pests is to release their natural enemies in the area. Such control agents are not domesticated animals but insects growing in the wild.

4. Natural products
There are many uses of wild plants. Not only do they cure various ailments, they can provide nutrients and their extracts can repel bothersome insects (as Neem with mosquitos) and act as pesticides (Calabar bean in Africa) . About a quarter of prescription drugs are taken directly from plants or they are chemically modified plants substances. Examples of such drugs are morphine, codeine, quinine, atropine and digitalis. This is with only about 1% of the world’s rainforests tested.  Antibiotics are isolated from marine animals such as seas slugs and sponges.

5. Fibers and wax
Silkworms have worked tirelessly for us for hundreds of years and we have the fabrics to show for it. Shellac is a wax produced by insects that associate certain tree types. They are used to make paint and varnishes.  

The list goes on….But there’s more to wildlife than the ways in which we use them. Wildlife is part of the ecosystem-the complex chain of prey and predator and the surrounding environment. Imagine a spider web with hundreds of threads, all inter connected. Such is our connection with wild life. By removing one group, be it plant or animal, we shake up the system in a way that is hard to restructure. So, the role of wildlife is that it’s an essential part of the whole system of life on earth. 

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