Wildlife in War Zones: United Nations Resolution
WILDLIFE IN WAR ZONES: UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTION
In a pioneering initiative, The Earth Organization, a South African based international conservation group, today submitted a ground breaking draft resolution to the Secretary General of the United Nations calling for Zoos, wildlife conservancy areas, marine parks and associated veterinary and research facilities, to be declared illegitimate targets of war. The resolution also calls for the recognition of certain deliberate and irreversible acts of environmental or animal life destruction during conflict as war crimes.
Zoos and parks are fast becoming the modern Noahs Ark enabling the world to appreciate, preserve, study, and better understand our biodiversity until a lasting and sustainable solution is achieved, said Lawrence Anthony, the Founder of the Earth Organization. There is a clear duty of care on states in which armed conflict occurs to protect their biodiversity; and the safety of such facilities and of the conservationists and veterinarians who maintain and operate them must be guaranteed by the international community.
Anthony continued, We have entered an era of planet wide extinctions of species of historical proportions as a direct result of human activity. Armed conflict is only one expression of the failure by human beings to properly protect their natural environment and its dependant life forms.
The document recognizes the evolution of zoos and protected areas from amenities which house charismatic wildlife for public enjoyment, to vital bastions of biodiversity and the last refuge of critically endangered species.
The resolution also calls for conservation and environmental experts to be present at all future UN peace talks and conflict resolution negotiations. Wildlife and the environment always suffer during armed conflict and must be represented at all peace talks, said Anthony.
Anthony is an international conservationist and author perhaps best known for his rescue of the Baghdad Zoo during the Coalition invasion of Iraq.