Today, 3 March, is World Wildlife Day. This year the theme is “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet,” as a way of highlighting the role forests, forest species and ecosystems play, especially as carbon sinks, in sustaining people on the planet in particular traditional forest communities.
Despite this forest ecosystems face a multitude of global crises: climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss and added to all this now the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today on World Wildlife Day today, we focus on the importance of promoting forest and forest wildlife management not only for forests and forest plants and creatures but for humankind as well, including promoting traditional practices and knowledge that contribute to a more sustainable relationship with these crucial natural systems.
Photo: The forest of Lolgorien high up on the Oloololo Escarpment on the northern boundary of the Masai Mara. The Maasai believe in one God whom they call Ngai. Ngai is neither female or male and the creator of everything. In the beginning Ngai (which also means sky) was one with the Earth and owned all the cattle that moved in it. One day the Earth and sky separated and Ngai no longer lived among humankind. The cattle needed the Earths grass, so to prevent them from dying Ngai sent the cattle down to the Maasai by means of the aerial roots of the sacred wild fig tree, and instructed the Maasai to look after them. To this day cattle continue to play an important role in the lives of the Maasai.