The BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh gives a new home to bears that grew up in horrible conditions to extract their bile.
The Mekong River bursts with color and life, hosts rich aquatic life and boasts one of the world’s most diverse and productive inland fisheries. However, massive hydropower projects are threatening the future of the Mekong ecosystem. That’s why communities living along the Mekong River Basin have joined hands to push for change.
The Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest shared by Bangladesh and India, is threatened by coastal erosion, climate change, and deforestation. Many of those living near the Sundarbans exist below the poverty line, depending heavily on the forest’s resources. The Bangladesh Environment and Development Society (BEDS) helps these vulnerable communities benefit from ecological restoration in a unique way.
We are excited to arrive in the Annapurna Conservation Area, to spend the next few days hiking the Annapurna Circuit, enjoying a landscape cradled within the Himalayas and observing one of Nepal’s iconic ‘Conservation Areas’ through our ecologist glasses. What we found simply amazed us: remote villages and monasteries showcasing a beautiful intertwining of Hinduism and Buddhism, the shifting landscape from jungle and terrace farmlands through dense alpine forests and rugged slopes to the abode of eternal snow, constantly surrounded by epic views of the Nepalese Himalayas.
The Annapurna Conservation Area is the first protected area in Nepal that has allowed local residents to continue living within the boundaries after its establishment as well as play an integral part in the conservation of local nature.
Although rather small in size, Nepal is home to an outstanding diversity of plants, animals and ecosystems in a remarkable physical setting. The altitude varies between 60 m ASL in the subtropical Terai Arc to Mount Everest at 8849 metres. Within this range and diverse habitats, Nepal hosts almost 12,000 different species of flora, iconic animals such as the snow leopard, clouded leopard, bengal tiger, one-horned rhino, asian elephant, red panda and the pangolin. But what about those species and areas which don’t make the spotlight? Friends of Nature Nepal, a small team of passionate conservationists has been venturing into uncharted territories, rediscovering long-unrecorded species and stands up for the protection of many underrepresented or neglected species.
Many of the world’s conflict zones are located in places where biodiversity is high. The Caucasus, being one of the world´s 36 biodiversity hotspots, is no exception.
‘Conservation and peacemaking has the potential to go hand in hand’. We took away this lesson from our journey in the Caucasus, where we met leading organisations and individuals in Georgia and Armenia working for the protection of the endangered Caucasian leopard.
As we see from the example of the Caucasian leopard, aside from all other things, biodiversity needs to also be protected from the consequences of armed conflict. However, it also offers an opportunity for people to come together, resolve conflicts, join in the protection of shared natural heritage and ultimately, build peace. And maybe, the Caucasian leopard can lead the way on this journey.