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Ancestors to All Kinds

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Over the last 40 years wildlife on earth has been reduced by more than fifty percent. This wave of extinction seems to have gained its own momentum. In my view we need to be good ancestors to our own kind, but crucially we need to be “ancestors” to as many other species as possible. If not, the regional collapse of ecosystems that has started in the last few years, will surely scale up even further.

Some are showing the way against all odds. These are my friends working in the last remnants of rainforest in India. Over 35 years they have been on search-and-rescue missions over a region of a 1,000 kilometers. They have been collecting the last surviving plants of many species, keeping them alive, and even learning how to multiply many of them. This team of self-taught ecologists has achieved what many academics thought impossible.

With the plants they have rebuilt sections of rainforest—on former coffee plantations—to a high level of the original biodiversity. And with the plants the animals have returned. Elephants, frogs, snakes, monkeys, otters, birds, insects, etc. They have done so against local political militia, investors seeking land for eco-resorts, climate change, and supported only by private donations. Because of these factors they are reluctant to public exposure, so I will not name them. But this is photograph was taken earlier this week. It shows the oldest part of regrowth and one of the many sheds where new arrivals are waiting in pots, while the team learn enough about the new plants to be able to place them in one of the many different biomes they have created.

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