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ELECTION 2022

Change attitude towards helpless biodiversity

OPINION
By Lynet Awuor Otieno | Jan 14th 2022 | 2 min read

Cleared section of Mau Forest, Narok County. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Biodiversity loss is one of the critical issues Africa faces, yet each of the natural resources has a part to play in human existence.

Several living beings, animal, plant and insects, have either been declared extinct or threatened considering their number and the rate at which they are disappearing, normally faster than they are replenished.

Human activity, population growth, and extreme weather resulting from global warming, overexploitation, invasion by killer species and several other causes have been blamed.

Besides the huge commercial activities such as extraction of oil, coal or stones, or gold mining, there is, poaching, all which have led to threat to existence of some of the biodiversity.

Several other animals, fish, birds and insects suffer because their habitats are interfered with, for business, farming, leisure, development or other reasons. As a result, animals invade homes, while some fish move deeper inside the water bodies they inhabit. Yet humans still follow them.

Plants are somehow helpless, and are left to sympathisers and NGOs, or targeted efforts by organisations or departments within Environment ministries. Back home, today, one has to go to forests for some of those plants that were easy to turn to for stomach ache, wounds or rashes.

While adequate attention is apportioned wildlife, with a number of animal orphanages and game reserves, and officers deployed to guard the coast, some of the unprotected animals exposed to cruelty and abuse live in our homes.

Attitude towards the unprotected creatures such as lizards, chameleons and several other harmless insects or creatures has contributed to their suffering. While they may walk in homes, for some, these are enemies that must be eliminated. But it is perplexing how the sight of a chameleon in a museum attracts cameras from the same people that are likely to attack such a creature at home.

In some areas where development has gone closer to hills, families are complaining about invasion by baboons and monkeys that destroy their crops. Such animals face attacks and humiliation by humans, yet throughout generations, the same humans have encroached the apes’ habitats.

The way a dog in the village is treated is a contrast of the life the same animal would live in the city.

Population growth may justify the invasion, but an attitude towards the creatures may, in recognition of their roles in the ecosystem may help keep all alive. Bees, for instance, are very key for plants’ pollination, and a world without them is unimaginable.

The fungi and bacteria around us all have a role to play in human existence, and just that is enough reason to conserve them.

Maybe more knowledge on the importance of a lot of unprotected creatures, in schools, may help change the attitude towards them.

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