Saturday 27 November 2021 - 10:16:07 pm

Suriname’s sloth specialist calls for action to save ecosystems


DUBAI, 10th October 2021 – Experts from Suriname have been calling for a balance between sustainability and progress at a forum held in association with Dubai Cares and RewirEd at Expo 2020 Dubai, ending a week of Climate and Biodiversity talks.

The panel included Monique Pool, a wildlife conservationist and CNN hero. Known as the Sloth Lady of Suriname, Monique rescues, rehabilitates and releases sloths, anteaters and armadillos.

Monique revealed she has a specific aim for taking part at Expo 2020 Dubai: "I hope to find investment in speciality honey, produced in Suriname’s forests, so we can protect a variety of exceptional species." Underlining the importance of her work with marine biodiversity and coastal communities, she said: "I hope to make people aware of just how beautiful Suriname is, both on land and in the marine areas."

Monique was joined by Professor Sieuwnath Naipal, who is well-loved in Suriname for his work with the mangrove forests.

He specialises in preserving mangroves and increasing their growth to protect the coast from erosion.

Professor Sieuwnath said. "The Amazon produces a lot of sediment that passes along to our [Suriname’s] coast and if we can develop new technology to build the mud up to protect ourselves from rising sea levels, we can create new land for biodiversity and for mangroves, which are very important for mitigating climate change and offers much more for humanity. Mangroves have 10 to 12 connections to the Sustainable Development Goals so if we can create new land, it will be for the world; not only for Suriname."

Future for Nature Award winner Els van Lavieren, a primatologist studying wildlife and ways to combat the illegal animal trade in Suriname’s forests, joined the panel, along with Dick Lock, a reptile and amphibian expert.

Climate and Biodiversity Week at Expo 2020 gathered young changemakers and climate leaders from areas of science, policy and business, providing a forum for a diverse range of perspectives on how to ensure a climate-safe future for all.

A total of 10 Theme Weeks will be taking place throughout Expo, as part of the Programme for People and Planet, a platform seeking collective and meaningful action to address the world’s most critical challenges and opportunities.

WAM/Hassan Bashir/Hazem Hussein