By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Mountain lions, wolves, migratory songbirds and nearly all wild animals are struggling to survive as roughly 6,000 acres of habitat in the United Statesare lost each day while climate change alters the availability of food and cover. This year the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust marks its 25thanniversary of addressing wildlife’s most urgent need by protecting the vital habitats wild animals must have to survive.
The Trust now protects 116 sanctuaries across the U.S. and Canada, spanning over 20,000 acres. Its network of sanctuaries grows by establishing voluntary but permanent land conservation easements with private landowners which will be binding on all future owners of these protected lands. The Trust also acquires title properties through purchase or donation.
“The habitat protection provided by the Trust is now a more urgent priority than ever,” said Andrew Rowan, president of the Trust’s board of directors. “The latest research reports that only 4% of the globe’s terrestrial mammalian biomass is wild with the other 96% consisting of domestic animals or humans. We are building upon the Trust’s 25 years of achievement with a sharp focus on strategic land conservation to protect wild animals’ vital habitats.”
The Trust’s protection of habitat includes a steadfast commitment to humane stewardship, which means valuing the life of all animals, whether endangered, threatened, rare or common. On all Trust-protected sanctuaries, the Trust prohibits commercial and recreational hunting and trapping, a promise that no other national land conservation organization makes.
The Trust has developed and is implementing a new Strategic Conservation Plan. One aspect of the plan is to secure new habitat around already-existing sanctuaries, creating more connectivity for wildlife. Key considerations in assessing land for permanent protection are:
Connectivity among protected areas;
Significance as an underrepresented habitat type among protected lands
Biodiversity, particularly for species restricted to small portions of the country
Far ranging predators like wolves, mountain lions and grizzly bears cannot survive without large connected areas of healthy habitat. Sensitive species, like greater sage grouse and pygmy rabbits also need protected habitat.
“To ensure a future for all wildlife (including the few remaining large mammals) we must save as much habitat as possible before it’s too late,” said Rowan. “The rapid rate of species loss and diminishing numbers of even common species means the years ahead will be especially critical for our mission.”
For more information, go to wildlifelandtrust.org.