Pretoria – The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has just published a new coffee table book on South African animals at risk of extinction.

The authors hope to awaken conservation consciousness and environmental awareness.

One of the authors Dr Theresa Sethusa says that it is the simple, everyday decisions that will make a massive difference if we are to be cohesive as a nation.

“It is not the sole responsibility of the government to conserve nature, together we can do it – one simple decision at a time,” she told the FBIP.

Humans extract much from nature in their day-to-day living, from food, water and fuel – to regulatory services like clean air, soil fertility and flood control.

In addition, Dr Sethusa highlighted the importance of the natural world to cultural identity (e.g. the Bakwena clan – those who venerate the crocodile or Babina Tlou – those who revere an elephant), where large cultural clans proudly identify with certain animals due to their bravery, wisdom and/ or other behavioural patterns.

“It is important to recognise that if we extract unsustainably and use natural resources at a high rate, not giving the earth a chance to recover, our children and children’s children will not be able to enjoy the ecosystem services we are accustomed to,” she said.

Every animal plays a role in the ecosystem, losing one species may affect the survival of another, including keystone species whose absence would drastically affect ecosystem integrity.

The book has been written for the South African public, nature enthusiasts, and conservation ambassadors alike. Readers can look forward to stunning photography and engaging content.

The book can be downloaded free of charge at the SANBI Institutional Repository.

Hardcopies can be purchased from the SANBI bookshop for R707.00