Species threatened in every habitat on every continent
One in four of the world’s mammals are now threatened with extinction in the near future. So are one in eight birds, one in five sharks, one in four coniferous trees, and one in three amphibians.
By and large, the cause of this decline is human activities. The land we use for living space, farming, mineral and aggregate extraction, fuel; the things we buy; and the waste we produce – all these contribute to the main causes of species loss:
- Habitat loss
- Unsustainable trade
- By catch
- Climate change
- Invasive species
- Human-animal conflicts
© naturepl.com/Andy Rouse / WWF
- Species forming a key element of the food chain
- Species which help the stability or regeneration of habitats
- Species demonstrating broader conservation needs
- Species important for the health and livelihoods of local communities
- Species exploited commercially
- Species that are important cultural icons.
These species fall into two groups:
- Flagship species - iconic species that provide a focus for raising awareness and stimulating action and funding for broader conservation efforts. These include: Elephant, Leopard, Rhino – African black and white, Tiger, Wild dog, Lion, and Cheetah.
- Footprint-impacted species - species whose populations are primarily threatened because of unsustainable harvest practices, e.g., wildlife poaching, illegal logging and overfishing. These include Zambezi teak, Ansell’s shrew, Black lechwe, Shoebill, Southern ground hornbill, Devils craw.
2020 Species Goal
By 2020, populations of the most ecologically, economically and culturally important species are restored and thriving in the wild.
This was as a result of increased poaching levels because rhino horn was valued for Chinese medicines and other uses like jewelry and knife handles. Until recently, as a result of conservation efforts, their numbers are slowly rising following reintroduction and restocking efforts in the Mosi-O-Tunya Game Park near Victoria Falls and North Luangwa National Park.
© WWF / Martin Harvey
The African wild dog is not only one of the endangered species in Zambia but also in Africa. The major threat to African wild dogs in Zambia is snaring and human wild life conflict. Their feeding habits which involve moving from one place to another in search for food exposes them to risk of snaring.
As a result of their movements, it is hard to confine the African wild dog in protected areas such as parks. Usually when they leave the parks to find food on local farms, they are killed by farmers to protect their livestock.
WWF is involved in the conservation of African wild dogs in Zambia in partnership with the Zambia Carnivores Project(ZCP). ZCP's conservation interventions in South Luangwa involves restoring the populations of African wild dogs through human wildlife conflict mitigation and de-snaring. ZCP receives support and funding through WWF Zambia from WWF Netherlands.
Elephant-Human conflict is another factor contributing to the dwindling of elephant populations in Zambia as the animals are killed in retaliation when they kill people and destroy their crops.
© Martin Harvey / WWF