The region of West and Central Africa is the second-largest rainforest in the world after the Amazon. However, this region is also marked by political instability, mining activities, and a rapidly growing population.
Furthermore, the region is plagued by the consequences of our insatiable appetite for consumption, leading to extensive deforestation. This rapid deforestation is causing an unprecedented loss of biodiversity, which is essential for a healthy planet, not only in Africa but worldwide. One of the animal species affected by this issue in Africa is the pygmy hippopotamus.
Long ago, in 1879, Blijdorp made a promise to contribute to the preservation of the pygmy hippopotamus. One of our former directors once brought the first remains of a pygmy hippopotamus to Europe, and today, an example can be found at Naturalis. Collaborating with IBREAM, Blijdorp is engaged in research on the pygmy hippopotamus in the wild and within the zoo. Increased knowledge is essential for this mysterious species, about which we still know very little. In the wild, there are estimated to be only 2,000 to 2,500 individuals left. We aim to closely monitor these last remaining specimens. Such a unique species should not vanish unnoticed.
The impact of the unstable situation in West and Central Africa is significant and affects the entire world. However, what most people may not realize is that you can also make a contribution from the Netherlands. Diergaarde Blijdorp raises awareness about the impact of Western consumption patterns. For instance, did you know that there are components from African mines in your phone? And that our unused clothing in Africa accumulates into towering mountains and pollutes the sea? We are not here to point fingers but rather to join hands to bring about change.
In collaboration with our partners, we aim to make visitors aware that prolonging the use of devices and buying new items less frequently can benefit the world. By reporting on recycling and emphasizing its importance, we can work as a society towards a better future.
We also inspire manufacturers to create "longer-lasting" products, aided by legislation where the polluter bears the cost. Diergaarde Blijdorp, of course, also scrutinizes its own purchasing and usage behavior. We lead by giving the right example.
Raising Awareness of Overconsumption