War VS Wildlife?


The revolutions of the Arab Spring, concerning developing nations in both North Africa and the Middle East, began in 2010 and are continuing through Syria today. Not disregarding the humanitarian concern in said countries, the additional implications of this conflict on wildlife and the natural environment are unquestionably important.

By Tabrisius (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Tabrisius (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

A paper from the University of Reading (2003) discusses these ideas, concentrating on countries including Germany, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The author highlights both the direct impacts of conflict, such as the destructive physical scarring from bombs and other explosives, whilst other impacts concerning the creation of refugee camps, infrastructure necessary for weapons transport and testing, and land abandonment, all raise further problems for wildlife.

Environmental NGOs in Palestine have been set up to preserve environment, protect natural resources, and build a capacity for agriculture. However, due to long occupation of Israel, many are poorly funded and lack the resources for smooth functionality; few employ many staff and function efficiently. A recent VICE article highlights the lack of resources for environmental education and promotion, where a make-shift museum resembles a taxidermic nightmare.

Indeed Afghanistan is reported to have seen a depletion in protection of wildlife amidst the conflict of war; after the IUCN classified list of endangered species grew, protection was enforced in 2006 to prevent further depletion, funded by the US.

By Carine06 from UK (Mountain gorillas  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Carine06 from UK (Mountain gorillas Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The DRC, rife with political and socio-economic problems, has seen over 5.4 million people lose their lives. Those suffering form hunger and poverty expanded into protected areas for bush meat and escape, threatening some endangered species such as mountain gorillas.

In contrast, the success of Myanmars international isolation, in terms of its rich and diverse ecology, are well documented. Reports now promote the importance of Myanmar as a model for sustainable development, nurturing the growth of tourism and economic development for the benefit of biodiversity. It is hopeful that in the wake of war and conflict, concern is given to both humanitarian welfare, as well as the protection of the ecosystems which many rely on.

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