It is almost entirely a man-made disaster. Through poaching, climate change, deforestation and intensive farming, many species of wild animal are either in great danger of extinction, or have already disappeared off the face of this earth. And in most cases it is entirely avoidable, but for human greed.
From 2014 to 2017, over 100,000 African elephants were killed for the illegal ivory trade, while 1,000 rhinos are killed annually for their horns. The shrinking of the polar icecaps through climate change means that by the year 2100, polar bears could be facing extinction. 60% of Uganda’s forests, the natural habitat for a host of animals including chimpanzees, has been lost since 1990 to sugarcane and oil developments. And in the UK, 10% of all species of native wild animals are facing extinction following 50 years of intensive farming.
At Bute Island Foods, an important part of our ethos is the welfare of animals. We believe passionately that animals have the right to live in their own habitats without the ever-present dangers posed by man. That is why we were proud to support an event in May which highlighted the plight of the Vervet Monkey. The event, in Mijas Costa in Spain, was organised by The Vervet Monkey Foundation and included the first public showing of a film highlighting the plight of Vervet Monkeys in South Africa. The Foundation not only cares for orphaned Vervets, those injured or discarded as pets, but also studies a species that is regarded as vermin and subsequently destroyed by the authorities in South Africa. Very little is known about the species, and the Foundation is seeking to stop the rapid decline in numbers. Contrary to what farmers assert in their attempts to justify their killing of the monkeys, they are not detrimental to crops. Farmers pick unripened fruit – mangoes, bananas and avocados – for their markets, yet Vervets will only eat ripened fruit that has already fallen from the trees, and are therefore useless to the farmer.
The Foundation is only one of a plethora of organisations determined to counter the disastrous effects of humans on a variety of species now endangered. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust exists to protect Africa’s wildlife and to preserve habitats for the future of all wild species. Specifically, the Trust finds orphaned or injured young elephants, rhinos and giraffes, raising them in their own protected reserves so that they can flourish and enjoy fulfilled and safe lives. Similarly, the The Gorilla Foundation is a long-established non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation, protection and well-being of gorillas and other great apes through interspecies communication and research.
And, of course, there are many organisations in the United Kingdom that are dedicated to the preservation of of our own indigenous wild animals, as well as domestic animals that are abused by their owners. The Wildlife Trusts look after the habitats of many local species. They recognise that we need nature and it needs us, and are helping to “make life better for wildlife, for people and for future generations”. Little wonder that they have a flourishing membership of over 800,000 who are conscious of the dangers faced by wildlife in all its forms. Bute Island Foods is also proud to support more localised organisations, such as the Pudz Aanimal Sanctuary, where orphaned or injured animals, both domestic and wild, are cared for. They recently started a crowdfunding campaign to expand their operations and help even more animals.
Many of us are passionate about our planet, its people and, just as importantly, its wildlife. If you share the same dream as us, consider supporting a charity dedicated to preserving all forms of wildlife, from habitats to animals themselves. You will not only be preserving species for future generations to appreciate, but, more importantly, helping animals on the brink of extinction.