The World Wildlife Fund has enlisted an army of new members to call for the protection of the Amazon rainforest: half a million ants. The ants at a German zoo in Cologne will hold leaves bearing cut-out slogans.
As reported by The Local in Germany, the World Wildlife Fund collaborated with the Cologne zoo to organize this unique demonstration ahead of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s state visit to the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff. The leaves held by the horde of leafcutter ants will feature slogans in German such as “Save the Amazon” and “Help, Merkel.” The reason for this demonstration is that both the WWF and the zoo want Merkel to bring up the issue of rainforest conservation during her Brazil visit.
Leafcutter ants are an indigenous species to the world’s largest rainforests, including the Amazon. The Amazon, which stretches across the countries of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, is the largest rainforest in the world. It supports an immense variety of species including the leafcutter ant, poison dart frogs, and jaguars. However, the valuable ecosystem is rapidly being destroyed by human activities such as deforestation and illegal mining, as reported by Geo TV. Christoph Heinrich, a board member of the WWF in Germany said, “The German government should use this meeting to redouble collective efforts at protecting the Amazon tropical forest.”
Although this demonstration will certainly not be very large in scale, its impact may be huge for the conservation of the Amazon rainforest and may inspire conservation efforts for other biological hotspots around the world as well. As a symbol, the leafcutter ants holding their source of sustenance have the potential to remind people — including Merkel — that species are deeply connected to the habitats in which they live. If people come together in conservation efforts — as the ants have — instead of razing trees and building industries, we can save the Amazon before it’s too late.Whizzco