The loss of biodiversity has become an extraordinary threat with hugely negative consequences for our planet. Preserving ecosystems and protecting threatened species are some of the main fields of action covered by the Parques Reunidos Foundation; for this reason we have come up with this Expert Focus Group on Biodiversity, which will be formed by representatives from academia, the public administration, research insitutes, civil society, and zoological insititutions.
The objective behind engaging this group of experts in an ongoing discussion about biodiversity and species’ conservation y to promote as much collaboration as possible among the different institutions involved as well as fostering and strengthening the role of zoos as indispensable collaborators. The group will tackled topics such as the role of zoos in the fields of conservation, research, education, and animal wellbeing.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a UN-independent panel, has recently filed a report to warn about the fact that a million animal and vegetal species around the world are on the verge of extinction.
For Jesús Fernández, President of the Parques Reunidos Foundation and member of the Expert Focus Group on Biodiversity, “all zoological institutions share a social concern for the conservation of biodiversity and we want to collaborate as actively and efficiently as possible with all other institutions”.
Framed within the action plan signed by all the countries who participated in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the ‘2011-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity’ outlines the following principles: “biological diversity is the pillar of ecosystem dynamics and provides services that are essential for human wellbeing. It promotes nutritional and human health security, provides clean air and water, contributes to local livelyhood and economic development, and is essential to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the erradication of poverty.”
The group is possible through the participation of Enrique Alonso, Permanent Member of Spanish State Council; UNESCO Chair on Spatial Design and the Environment; Honorary Researcher at the Franklin-UAH Institute and the Monterey International Institute of California; Alberto Díez, InfoZoos spokesperson; Pablo Fernández de Larrinoa, program manager for the Fundación CBD-Hábitat Mediterranean monk seal conservation program; Jesús Fernández, President of the Fundación Parques Reunidos; Luis Mariano González, head of Conservation Action at the General Sub-directorate on Biodiversity and Natural Environment, Ministry for Ecological Transition; Pedro Lorenzo, Dean of the Veterinary Science School, Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Xavier Manteca, Professor, Animal and Food Science Department, School of Veterinary Science of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, who will be the group’s moderator; Odile Rodríguez de la Fuente, General Director and President of the Fundación Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente; Julián Santiago, Research Professor at the Instituto Nacional de Investigación Tecnológica Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA); Andrea Torres, biologist for InfoZoos and Felipe Vilas, President of the Madrid Official College of Veterinarians.
The group’s coordinator, Xavier Manteca, stated that “the initiative devised by the Parques Reunidos Foundation to create a focus group among experts in biodiversity with the objective of discussing how zoological institutions can contribute even more to alleviate the current biodiversity crisis is an excellent idea”.