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Biodiversity conservation implies protecting every one of the species that populate our planet. Yet, “synergies between the private and the public sectors are necessary to garantee these species’ protection”. Such is the opinion of Luis Mariano González, Head of the Conservation Initiatives area at the Biodiversity and Environment General Subdirectorate of the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition.
Spain has been the first European country to launch an action plan to fight against wildlife illegal trafficking and international poaching, supported by five ministries. In spite of this, the Ministry of Ecological Transition presents some worrying data: 198 wildlife species risk extinction in Spain; 626 are under Special Protection Regulations.
“Administrations are cannot encompass everything. Our conservation laws, in this case those pertaining to natural heritage and biodiversity conservation, state very clearly in their first articles: the main objective is to include private initiatives in the mandate and mission for conservation of biodiversity established by public administrations”
As a matter of fact, zoos have been actively engaged in fighting wildlife illegal trafficking for a while. The do so through financial donations and professional support but, looking into the future, Luis Mariano González points out that zoos should also take part in rescuing and harboring confiscated wildlife. Indeed, zoos “can be very helpful by hosting and then returning individuals in the best conditions to their natural habitats”.
Luis Mariano González also believes that the 2003 Law on Zoos has served to show the value of the work that takes place at zoos, as well as to modernize and bring their role in society up to date. “Everything that goo zoos are doing to defend conservation is irreplaceable, both economically and professionally.”, concludes González.
Luis Mariano González is a member of the Experts’ Focus Group in Biodiversity launched by the Parques Reunidos Foundation, which also has among its members: