World’s smallest waterlily saved from extinction

Thermal Lily

Photo: Oli Scarff / Getty Images

What happened:
The world’s smallest waterlily saved from extinction by Spanish born surfer-dude Carlos Magdalena.

This tiny waterlily was official extinct in the wild just two years ago, as its habitat in Rawanda suffered from over-exploitation.

Fortunately, the Royal Botanic (Kew) Gardens just outside London had saved seeds from the plant. Various methods were tried without success at regrowing the plant, until Carlos Magdalena, a Senior Botanical Tropical Horticulturist born in Spain, was able to recreate the lily’s natural hot-springs environment and regrow the species.

The whole process took months to find just the right conditions. “I feel really feel happy and relieved when I managed to successfully grow the plant. I realized then that it wasn’t going to disappear forever” said Magdalena.

Major Players:

Carlos Magdalena

Carlos Magdalena
Biodiversity Hero

Georgina Mace

Georgina Mace

Stephen Hopper

Stephen Hopper

Why its important:

The fight for other species of plants continues. The St Helena Boxwood, previously thought to be extinct in 1867, was rediscovered in 1998. In addition to a small wild population, is now conserved as plants and seed at Kew.

Kew is working to preserve biodiversity, which in essence is, valuable genetic material. Says Professor Stephen Hopper, director of Kew Gardens, “If you lose that diversity, you risk losing the chances we have of surviving on this planet as things like climate change comes into play”

Global Whisper’s Take:

If someone can step up and save even the smallest of plants, namely a waterlily that measures a centimeter wide, it provides hope that there are champions out there who will step up against careless overextension. We need those who will fight to preserve this rich biological diversity and balances we’ve been gifted with. If not just to enjoy the benefits of diversity, then also to learn from each species, and serve as a healing reaction to short-sighted human overextension.

What you can do:
UN’s convention on biological diversity will be held in Japan this October. Their website is here.

Georgina Mace, highly decorated vice-chair of the Diversitas program, says “We will certainly miss the target for reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010..” Many Governments are coming up short with UN goals set last year. Ask your local government to support meeting targets set by the conference this year in Japan.

Whenever possible, Purchase goods and services from companies that are environmentally responsible. You can’t always believe company’s claims for being ‘green’ but a little research can shed some light on practices.

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