Chester Zoo has joined 150 leading conservation & health organisations in pledging support for the “Thriving Together” campaign, which aims to improve access to family planning services around the globe.
As the human population continues to expand almost universally across the planet, the numerous resources provided by the natural world are becoming increasingly stretched to the point of their disappearance due to over-exploitation.
Not only does such consumption threaten the vast biodiversity that shares these resources and ecosystems, it also jeopardises the future of the human communities currently dependent on these resources for food, water, medicine, and economic development.
The need for resources continuously drives human expansion into wild areas, driving conflict between people and the wildlife with which they compete.
Across the world, Chester Zoo, together with our in-country partners, supports the development of sustainable livelihoods to drive human-wildlife coexistence and to prevent extinction. These include livelihood initiatives in our projects on Asian elephants in north-east India, tigers in Nepal, lemurs in Madagascar and Andean bears in Bolivia.
In areas like these, increasing human pressures as a result of an unsustainably growing population are the greatest challenges facing environmental and human health. We are dedicated to supporting initiatives that will tackle such issues.
The Thriving Together campaign is a Margaret Pyke Trust led alliance that aims to improve the availability of family planning methods around the world. The organisation has 50 years’ experience in family planning, and remains the only member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with such expertise.
Chester Zoo supports the rights of individuals to choose whether, when, how often and with whom they wish to bring children into the world.
Family planning contributes to women’s empowerment, improves family and general health, advances education and life opportunities, and, by slowing population growth, eases pressure on global ecosystems.
Through our field conservation work we seek to enable local communities and wildlife to thrive together in order to prevent extinction. This is frequently challenged by expanding human population that is a result of poverty and lack of access to appropriate family planning advice and resources. Tackling these issues is an integral part of ensuring that conservation efforts are effective and sustainable. This is why we endorse this vital initiative.
Dr Simon Dowell, Science Director, Chester Zoo.
Together with 150 organisations operating in over 170 countries, we fully endorse this approach that seeks to benefit planetary health in its entirety, both human and wildlife alike.