“The evidence is crystal clear: Nature is in trouble. Therefore we are in trouble.”

These are the words of Sandra Díaz, one of the co-Chairs of the Global Assessment report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in a summary of the report released on Monday.

At Wellington Zoo we are deeply concerned but not surprised by this assessment and the findings of the report, and we believe we all need to act now to help protect endangered species.

Of the estimated 8 million species of plants and animals on Earth, the report estimates that up to 1 million may be threatened with extinction, many within decades. The main reasons for this are human activity resulting in five main areas of negative impact: (1) changes in land and sea use; (2) direct exploitation of organisms; (3) climate change; (4) pollution and (5) invasive alien species.

The report’s authors make the point state it is not too late to make change to benefit the planet’s biodiversity. Both transformative change at the international and national policy levels, and change in individual behaviour is needed if we are to save many of the unique wild creatures with which we share the world. It has never been more important that people care about wildlife and the wild places we share.

Tawaki penguins

Wellington Zoo treats hundreds of sick and injured wildlife each year at The Nest Te Kōhanga, including Tawaki Penguins

Conservation is at the heart of what we do at Wellington Zoo, and we care deeply about the future of the planet. We are carboNZero certified, we belong to the Australasian Responsible Palm Oil Network, we are a retail supporter of the Forest Stewardship Council, and we support conservation organisations worldwide including those that combat poaching and illegal trade in wildlife. In 2019, we will be looking at other ways in which we can work in Wellington and worldwide to bring about the change that is needed to ensure the animals we care for at the Zoo will always have a future in the wild. There are more than 700 million visits to zoos and aquaria around the world every year, and we want all of our visitors to leave inspired to make change, and with a renewed connection to nature.

Wellington is undoubtedly the best little capital city in the world. We are poised to be the first predator-free capital city, and we could be a zero carbon capital. We want to be part of a future where we can have Kiwi and Wellington Green Geckos in our back gardens and healthy eco-systems in our harbour. And for that, we all need to be a part of the change that stops this global crisis getting worse.

Wellington Zoo staff, Amy Saunders in Laos working with Free the Bears

Amy Saunders in Laos working with Free the Bears, one of Wellington Zoo's conservation partners

Three actions you can take this week to make a change: