Can you imagine a zoo where nearly half of the animals have disappeared and their enclosures are empty? In the past 40 years, the number of wild animals living on Earth has dropped by 40%. Although we may not readily see it, the impact of human activity has undoubtedly caused an irreversible loss of wildlife. The consequences of our actions on the environment can no longer be justified! Today we consume 150% of what we can actually produce sustainably. This means that global consumption requires the resources of 1.5 planet Earths! Therefore, practicing nature conservation is necessary to balance the needs of both people and wildlife for the future.

Where does nature conservation come from?

Nature conservation has a diverse history. As far back as ancient Greece, Hippocrates (460 B.C. –370 B.C.), the father of modern medicine, first analyzed human’s relationship to our surroundings in his book Airs, Waters, Places. Indigenous peoples, nomadic cultures, and pastoralists around the world have  practiced forms of conservation in daily life. Modern nature conservation began in the mid-19th century with the advent of scientific observation in North America, Europe, and India.

Today, conservationists combat the forces that are destroying nature by trying to ensure the survival of all biodiversity on Earth. As experts in multiple disciplines, they study the impacts of social, political, and economic pressures on wildlife. On the ground, nature conservationists protect the environment by drawing attention to harmful industries, for example, the illegal tiger poaching in the small Himalayan country of Nepal. The protection of endangered tiger population in Chitwan National Park is an example of a successful conservation project. 

In the Middle East especially, nature conservationists are entrusted with the Earth’s most precious and meaningful resources – nature.

What conservation projects are currently underway in our region? Recent reports and images from the Gaza Strip fishing zone describe threats to the Giant Devil Ray (Mobulamobular), which grows up to 5.2 meters (17 feet) in the South East Mediterranean Sea. Conservationists identified the rare Devil Ray as a target of the local fishing industry and began educating fishermen and consumers about its protected status. On land, conservationists working at the Mashjar Juthour Park in Palestine have facilitated community access to previously unavailable areas by creating wheelchair accessible trails and training volunteer guides. The Palestinian Wildlife Society (PWLS) is protecting species across Palestine by rescuing and providing aid for animals, in cases of unlawful harm to animals, such as cruelty. In this vein, PWLS currently provides opportunities for environmental conservation education and capacity building by hosting workshops for Palestinians interested in careers in environmental conservation.

By embracing nature conservation local efforts, future protection of biodiversity in the region will be guaranteed. You are encouraged to experience these efforts firsthand.

For more information, please click on Protected Areas to find out about the reserves open for your enjoyment.