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Friday, May 23, 2003

In a speech given on International Biodiversity Day entitled "Our Choice: How Many Species Will Survive The 21st Century?" Dr Peter Raven the Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden said:

"We are using the Earth's productive systems at an unsustainable rate"

"We are likely never to have seen or to be aware of the existence of most of the species we are driving to extinction" and that

we need "a stable population, a globally sustainable consumption level, and acceptance of social justice as the norm for development".

At the same meeting Dr. David Macdonald the Director of Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) said:

"There may be as few as 20,000 lions left across Africa."

"The lions we're looking at in Hwange are killed by farmers, and by trophy hunters, and it's mainly males who die."

"Lions live in extremely complex societies. If you kill one male, the lion who replaces him will usually kill his cubs.

"And we found males serving three, four or five prides of females, not just one. So the take is completely unsustainable because the consequences of one kill just cascade.

"We've managed to get the hunting quota halved, and local youths are getting the conservation message across in the villages."