society

When pictures tell stories of threat to planet

Threat to wildlife is a threat to us, more efforts required to protect animals, says Nat Geo editor

18:56 November 24, 2017
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Kathy Moran
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Sharjah: Despite facing days of frustration, bad luck and threat to their lives, wildlife photographers bring us the most perfect glimpses into a world that not many have a first-hand knowledge of. But what are mere pictures to us are, to wildlife photographers, stories of life itself, which is under threat for many species of wildlife.

According to wildlife expert and National Geographic Magazine’s senior editor Kathy Moran, despite sincere conservation efforts around the world, at least 100 species go extinct each day.

“These pictures the wildlife photographers capture offer a narrative of the daily struggles the animals go through and the existential threats they face due to a variety of issues. The pictures tell stories of the threat our planet is facing and are attempts to create awareness,” said Moran, who presented a show on the efforts of wildlife photographers on the third day of Xposure 2017.

A 30-year veteran in the industry, Moran has been lucky to work with many photographers and be able to see both the beauty of wildlife and the threat it faces, from a close range.

Though a variety of threats surround wildlife today, ranging from poaching, loss of biodiversity to deforestation, the biggest threat faced both by animals and humans together is plastic, according to Moran.

“We know that plastics don’t degrade, that they float throughout the oceans. If we don’t get serious about addressing this, then we will all hurt,” said Moran, speaking to Gulf News.

She acknowledged that though many countries, including the UAE, are using a biodegradable grade of plastic, the big issue is dealing with the plastic removal and disposal.

“Plastic is out there and we can’t get it out, so even if we find completely biodegradable grade of plastic and start using it today, it doesn’t get rid of the tonnes of plastic that are already in the environment.

“Plastic in the sea breaks down into tiny particles which all of the creatures in the ocean consume and we are consuming them, so we are ingesting the plastic every time we eat fish,” she added.

Challenge

The biggest challenge, said Moran, is to make people believe in the urgency of conservation. “We have to overcome deforestation, biodiversity loss and climate change. We can’t expect any one country to do it, it’s a collective responsibility,” she said.

Hailing the UAE’s efforts in conservation programmes, she said: “When we look at the conservation efforts in different parts of the world, including in this region, we can see that if serious efforts are made and people come together, the programmes can be successful. We can see that in the breeding of the Houbara bustard and the reintroduction of gazelles and oryx here in the UAE.”

She also lauded the UAE’s efforts in protecting and rescuing sea turtles.