The Long Run For A Wildlife-Diverse World

The 3rd of March is UN World Wildlife Day in which we not only acknowledge and celebrate the value of wildlife for the planet and humankind but also urge for its protection and call for action on wildlife crime. From the birds that you see in your garden to the mighty lion while on safari, wildlife can have the power to inspire and surprise us. Many of us depend on wildlife as a resource for our livelihoods and yet some species are under serious threat of extinction. Nonetheless it’s in human nature to overcome challenges and change things for the better. The Long Run is fully committed to this cause and, aggregated, 50,000 species, 9684 endemic or endangered, are protected by our members.


Wildlife is an important part of a sustainable world and central to The Long Run’s 4Cs:

Conservation: Each single species of wildlife has its role in conserving a healthy ecosystem able to support us, from elephants that clear wooded lands into open grasslands suitable for cattle to the tiny worms and beetles that help fertilize our crop fields.

Community: Wildlife has been at the inception of our civilization, without it no cattle would exist, neither our beloved cats nor dogs. How would fishing villages exist without fish?

Culture: Each culture place connotation to wildlife and build stories about it, from the Chinese Zodiac animal signs to fairytales and common sayings like “brave like a lion”.

Commerce: Wildlife has been a resource for humanity for millennia; bush meat, fish, fur and more recently tourism depend on healthy populations of wildlife to contribute to our livelihoods.

Whenever we talk about wildlife there are some iconic species that always come to mind and that are often in the headlines. Elephants and rhino have been directly hit in recent years by the poaching crisis and their populations are rapidly decreasing. It is important to note that not everything is lost and everybody can contribute to improving the situation. Critically, especially for rhino, efforts are being made by our members like Toka Leya and Mombo Camp to address this with their white rhino monitoring programme.  Shark are another iconic species, where another Long Run member, Soneva Fushi, has actively helped the ban on shark-fishing in the Maldives. Human-wildlife conflict can also be an important threat to wildlife populations, but initiatives like Campi ya Kanzi’s “Wildlife Pays”, where losses on cattle from predation are reimbursed and former Maasai warriors become “Simba Scouts” to protect lions and warn herders of the presence of these cats, represent important steps to raise awareness on the value of wildlife and reduce conflict; consequently, no lions were killed in the area in 2014.

While most of us have heard of lions, elephants, tigers and other iconic species, others that go under the radar are also facing the same challenges. In Tanzania, GER® Chumbe Island Coral Park is dedicated to the protection of the Ader’s Duiker, a small antelope that is virtually extinct in its former range in coastal East Africa and now only survives in Zanzibar and a few surrounding islands, including Chumbe Island. Member Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, Chile, is also contributing to the conservation of another endangered ungulate, the South Andean Deer, of which the global population is estimated at less than 1500 individuals. Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve is also a safe haven for a small amphibian, the Darwin’s Frog, endemic to the temperate rainforests of Chile and Argentina, it dwells and reproduces in the leaf-litter of such forests and its specialisation on undisturbed habitat requires pristine forests to survive. Africa is best known for its large herbivores and mighty big cats, but a hidden pearl in the middle of Brazil, The Pantanal, is the stronghold for South America’s biggest cat, the jaguar. GER® Caiman Ecological Refuge’s work not only focuses in protecting this species by monitoring the jaguar population and ecology but also on slight habituation of a few individuals to vehicles to become ambassadors so that these rather elusive ecotourism species are more accessible for sightings. Protecting jaguars also benefits other multiple endangered species like Hyacinth Macaws and Blue-fronted Parrots that share the same habitat. The commitment of Caiman Ecological Refuge and other members like Lapa Rios, Pacuare Lodge and Amazon Yarapa River Lodge represent small but important steps in the wider “Jaguar Corridor” to ensure the viability of jaguar populations in Central and South America.


We may encounter many challenges to protect our wildlife but these will be overcome and anybody can join the cause, from buying sustainable fish at the supermarket to visiting destinations that support conservation.


Want to do your bit for World Wildlife Day?

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