Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Bamboo Loss Endangers Rare Animals’ Existence

Bamboo, which is a giant, woody grass, is called the "wood of the poor" in India and the "friend of the people" in China because of its diverse use in everything from food and cooking to furniture, paper, musical instruments, boats and houses.
A joint report released on Tuesday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) found that around 600 species are “endangered”, with less than 20,000 square kilometers of native habitat. And some 250 varieties have less than 2000 square kilometers of land (the size of London) left to live in. The report’s findings mean the many vulnerable species that rely almost entirely on bamboo for food and shelter, such as lemurs, giant pandas and mountain gorillas, face an even greater struggle for survival. On the other hand, millions of people rely on wild bamboo for food, furniture and construction material. Worldwide, more than 2.5 billion people trade in or use bamboo. The international market in bamboo products is worth more than US$2 billion per year, i.e. bamboo loss will harm humans as much as animals.
"But it is not too late to do something about this," says ecologist Valerie Kapos, who helped draw up the report, "Now we need to look much more closely at the dynamics of what is going on. We need to look more closely at the processes that are threatening the species, determine which species are the most threatened and take conservation action in the areas where those species are concentrated".
I hope all people would play a role in preserving nature, through research, work, and even daily life activities. And I really wish that those beautiful rare species wont be some history mentioned in “once upon a time” bed stories and fairytales.
More about the report, bamboo and rare species endangered are available in Reuters and Nature .