Lutra 53(2)_Verboom_Editorial_2010

The bat, the weevil and other ‘species’

The International Year of Biodiversity, as declared by the United Nations, is coming to an end. Worldwide, there have been many biodiversity conferences, lectures, celebrations, competitions, even ‘bioweeks’, all meant to increase understanding about biodiversity issues. Ever since scientists first drew attention to the pressure on the world’s biodiversity caused by human activities, public awareness of the significance of biodiversity has gradually increased, as has recognition of the need to maintain it. This implies a corresponding increase in public knowledge of the diversity of the natural world. After all, why should people be worried about the extinction of a species if they have no idea that it even exists? People only care about what they know. Yet, despite media attention to biodiversity, there is evidence that knowledge about nature is deteriorating. A British survey revealed that primary school children were better at recognising....