I’m currently working my way through my bookcase, reading all the books I have had since childhood that I haven’t quite gotten round to reading. In the last few months I’ve ticked off The Diary of Anne Frank, Little Women and Jane Eyre. Surrounded by the books that have been my faithful companions for the last decade or so, I started thinking about other favourite things from when I was a kid. One of the things that springs to mind is my parents playing their vinyl records for us to dance around to. The sounds of The Beatles, The Pretenders and The Eurythmics could be heard blaring out in our living room many a Saturday of yesteryear. Whilst I am partial to a good bit of classic British pop, one of our favourite records was the soundtrack to The Jungle Book. Timeless classics like Ooh ooh ohh, I wanna be like you, the bare necessities and trust in me. It got me thinking – what would The Jungle Book be without the wildlife? And more importantly what would our rainforests be like without it?
Rainforests are synonymous with the wildlife that lives in them. It’s hard to imagine a rainforest without picturing monkeys and gibbons swinging through the trees, birds swooping through the canopies and tigers prowling through the undergrowth. But this image could be a thing of the past in Sumatra as news comes in of its wildlife taking two serious blows since the start of 2012.
Last week the Director General of Protection and Nature Conservation in Sumatra announced that in 2011, 40 Sumatran tigers had been killed. This figure alone is bad enough, but when you take it in the context that there’s thought to be less than 300 Sumatran tigers left in the wild then this is over 10% of the remaining population. The tigers in question were thought to be killed due to either conflicts with local communities or by poachers who sell the skins for a incredibly high prices.
And it’s not just the tigers that are suffering. On Tuesday it was announced that the Sumatran elephant has now been placed on the list of critically endangered species. The move was taken after half the population was lost in a single generation. The main cause of the rapid decline is thought to be deforestation, with 69% of the elephant’s habitat being lost in the last 25 years.
So what would our rainforests be like without the wildlife? Areas that were once so full of life they practically hummed, now eerily quiet and still. A rather desolate picture, but all is not lost. The time to act is now! By working with our local partners, we’re protecting and restoring areas of rainforest in seven different countries to ensure that all the amazing wildlife found in rainforests still has somewhere to call home.
And you can do your bit to help too. Become a Rainforest Guardian and from as little as £2 a month you can help us protect the rainforests and step up to make sure that this story has a happy ending.