Friday, 6 July 2012

Something to Say: Peace, Panda

The Concerned Bloggers' Association are focussing on the issue of endangered animals this month. I may or may not have had a hand in the selection of this topic. And I may or may not have immediately gone out and picked up these tiger stripes, knowing that I was going to paste them onto Kitti, and then paste Kitti onto the top of this post. Whether you think my picture is the worst thing ever, or the best, I hope she caught your attention. And don't worry; the panda is coming up later.

There is an awful lot that could be said about endangered animals and the organisations that work to protect and conserve them, but I imagine you've seen/heard/read a lot of it already. Every other day, there is an advert on ITV trying to emotionally blackmail you with music composed by Hans Zimmer to donate money to save this or that animal. On the in-between days, a little man appears at your door with a pile of leaflets and forms under one arm, and a horde of toy whales under the other, begging you to sign up to save something's life, and he won't go away until you have, even if you tell him you are halfway through your dinner. 

At the moment, we're all feeling a little out-of-pocket, and the phrase 'charity starts at home' is more popular than ever. And that is completely understandable - and made a thousand times worse when you flick on the TV or open your newspaper and feel bombarded with charity ads for just about every cause under the Sun. I don't think it would be unfair to say that we, as a society, are emotionally jaded. And as proof of that, I don't think I have got teary over the Children in Need programme once in the last ten years - if I ever did. And they work really hard to make you cry.

But there is the thing; just because the television rattles on and on (kind of like me) does not mean the issues aren't real, and important. That goes for all of them - though our focus, now, is endangered animals. There is no real way that we can help them all - but there are little things we can do that, adding up, could make a big difference.

According to the All About Wildlife website, these are the top ten endangered animals, globally:

  1. Ivory-billed Woodpecker
  2. Amur Leopard
  3. Javan Rhino
  4. Greater Bamboo Lemur
  5. Northern Right Whale
  6. Western Lowland Gorilla
  7. Leatherback Sea Turtle
  8. Siberian (or Amur) Tiger
  9. Chinese Great Salamander
  10. Kakapo Parrot
Did you even know half of those animals existed? Me neither!  And at this rate, we might never get to see them, even through the eyes of David Attenborough. There are also lists assessing the population of global marine species, as well as endangered plants - which is equally important! Anybody with internet access can find this kind of information - and they can also find out what we can do to help. 

The page linked as 'endangered plants'  lists some suggestions of real, practical things you can do - at home! - to help conserve plants across the world. The marine species assessment page, too, talks about conservations projects and shows you what experts and those in the know are doing about the problems at hand.

In terms of the animals, I imagine you already know what to do. But here are the links for the World Wildlife Fund (here!) and Save the Tigers (here!), which are just two sites I know of that can help to make a difference to the animals in that list - and many others that don't quite make the top ten, like the pandas that feature so often on the TV.

As I have said, there is no way that each of us can help every one. But if we give a little, just to the one...I don't know...that captures our imaginations, or our hearts, the most - or, maybe, the one that you didn't even know existed! - then maybe we can make a difference. And we're so diverse, we'll probably cover the spectrum.

And okay. I give in. Here it is. The panda.


 Only for the Concerned Bloggers' Association would Kitti get so dressed up and cutesy. If you would like to be involved, please contact Marleen Vaughan.


All questions, comments and feedback are welcome. Thank you.