Empowering Women to Protect and Preserve Wildlife

Article on the Affected Wildlife Species by Climate Change

Climate change often emphasizes the danger to humans, but wildlife is equally affected, if not more so. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently calculated that 12,260 threatened species are at risk of extinction due to the climate change crisis. Three women are dedicated to saving some of the species – the mountain gorilla, the Chinese pangolin, and the leatherback turtle.

Mountain gorillas had been in sharp decline until Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka began working in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1996. Under her care, the population has increased by two-thirds and now stands at 500. Similarly, a similar number of mountain gorillas inhabit the Virunga Mountains, including the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While the mountain gorilla was downgraded from critically endangered to endangered in the 2018 IUCN “red list” of threatened species, Kalema-Zikusoka continues her efforts.

Increasing temperatures in Uganda are leaving mountain gorillas struggling to quench their thirst. This is bringing them down to lower areas of the mountain, resulting in conflicts with farmers for banana trunks with moisture. Kalema-Zikusoka’s team is working on expanding the national park to allow the gorillas to move freely in search of food and water.

Tulsi Suwal, a zoology student from Kathmandu, decided to dedicate her efforts to the protection of the Chinese pangolin when she spotted one outside the city carrying her son on her back. Pangolins are the most poached animal in the world and are also threatened by forest fires, increasingly common and intense due to climate change. Her organization, the Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation, works on fire prevention measures and ecosystem preservation to support pangolin survival.

In the Solomon Islands, Anita Posola worries about rising sea levels and storm surges, causing leatherback turtles to lose their nesting areas. She works to protect the eggs and move them to safer locations to revive their population for future generations to appreciate.

Each of these women have dedicated their lives to protecting threatened species in the face of climate change, delivering meaningful contributions to wildlife preservation.


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