Devastating Human Impact on Nature

Thursday 16 May 2019


Human’s actions are having a devastating impact on the Earth’s ecosystems and habitats. A compelling UN report has revealed that one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction. This poses a serious threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their livelihood and survival.

On the 6th May, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published its report on the current state of life on Earth. The 1,500-page report was compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies. It is the most detailed look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that it poses for humans.

The report painted an alarming picture of species extinctions, wildlife population declines, habitat loss and depletion of ecosystem services confirming that we are losing nature at a dramatic and unsustainable rate.

The report also makes clear that humans are the cause of this destruction. With the human population passing 7 billion, activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering the natural world at an unprecedented rate and cannot be allowed to continued in such a way without devastating results. This poses an urgent threat to all life on Earth – including us.

The report urges governments and policy makers to consider a “transformational change” in looking at the way we live, including how we use energy, grow our food and manage our waste. Without such a radical change, the damage will continue at pace up to 2050 and beyond, threatening human wellbeing worldwide and undermining efforts to tackle poverty and hunger.

A stark warning indeed, but there is still time to protect what is left and to start restoring nature. In 2020, a series of UN meetings will be held where important global decisions will be made on biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development. It is hoped that an action plan for real change for nature and people will be made. A new direction for our planet.

As Richard Vigne, CEO of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, home to the largest population of black rhino in eastern Africa as well as the last two northern white rhinos in the world, so succinctly put it, "The absolute truth is, if we humans don't urgently change the way we interact with the planet & the way we consume, we will soon be left with a home totally bereft of wild things and wild places and we will be much the poorer for it."

Richard Vigne with Mthetho


At Helping Rhinos, with your help, we are already looking at ways in which we can manage the natural habitats and ecosystems in which rhinos are found alongside the needs of the humans who live near by.

Helping Rhinos' mantra, ‘It’s time to change the way we think about wildlife conservation’ was born out of a knowledge and understanding that a healthy environment is paramount for every single living species, that in Africa particularly, illegal hunting and poaching that is driving wildlife species to the very brink of extinction, must be curtailed. We will continue to work hard to deliver this principle.

But despite the threats facing rhinos today, there is always some good news. In April we reported the birth of poaching survivor Thandi’s calf at Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. Mthetho, her third calf, was born seven years after Thandi survived an horrific poaching incident where she was left for dead.

Thandi became the first rhino to ever survive a poaching attack. Her story spread around the world and has inspired many people to get involved in rhino conservation.

Thandi went on to have her first baby Thembi in January 2015, just less than three years after the poaching. Two years on from that in January 2017, Thandi’s second calf Colin was born.

Thandi and Mthetho


If you want to help protect and keep Thandi and her family safe, please visit the link below where you can adopt Mthetho. When you adopt Mthetho you'll help with the roll out of conservation education programmes in the areas surrounding Kariega Game Reserve, reducing the likelihood of community members turning to poaching and will keep the Kariega anti-poaching unit up and running, to keep all the rhinos safe within their area of operation.

Adopt Mthetho