The northern muriqui – a charismatic monkey that with its close relative, the southern muriqui, is the largest primate
in the Americas – is critically endangered. As much as half the world's population of this species
, now down to a few hundred, survives thanks to a small private reserve in Brazil
The role of parks and other protected areas in conserving biodiversity worldwide is paramount, and that will be a key issue at the World Parks Congress (WPC) in Durban, South Africa
, this September. Held once every 10 years, the WPC sets a global agenda for protected areas by consolidating new data and issuing recommendations for improvements. Previous congresses have had a tremendous impact in assisting national governments to create new protected areas, as well as to direct more resources towards biodiversity conservation.
We consider protected areas to be the single most important tool to conserve biodiversity, and they have been a vital part of CI's strategy since our inception. Without protected areas, we will not be able to stem the tide of extinctions. The most endangered species cannot survive outside parks and reserves, especially in the biodiversity hotspots
, where more than 80 percent of the world's most endangered species are found.
People need protected areas, too, because we all depend on the natural resources and ecosystem services they help sustain. Protected areas also provide opportunities to local people
for improved livelihoods through ecotourism
, conservation-based enterprises and other nature-related jobs.
This expanded edition of Frontlines
highlights CI's leadership role in the creation, expansion and improved effectiveness of protected areas. It is inspired by our belief that the Durban World Parks Congress will launch a new era of biodiversity conservation in this first decade of the new millennium. We hope that this Frontlines
conveys the promise that the WPC can offer to biodiversity conservation, and provides you with new insight into CI's strategy and approach.