At Leica, we have always believed in the power of connecting with the world as it truly is. For generations, our cameras and sport optics equipment have sought to bring the natural world into sharp focus; to communicate the beauty of our world. Now, we are committed to helping protect and conserve the natural world. That is why we have recently partnered with The European Nature Trust (TENT) – an organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of wild areas in Europe.
From the bustling biodiversity of Romania’s virgin forests, to the dehesa of Spain and Portugal where Iberian wolves and lynx make their home, to the Highlands of Scotland, TENT and Leica will be active collaborators in the journey to restore European ecosystems.
Over the next year, Leica and TENT will be announcing ambassadors chosen from TENT’s conservation projects from across Europe. The ambassadors are all inspirational conservationists dedicating their lives to the protection of wild nature. Though they work across a range of ecosystems and key species, one thing unites them: a shared vision for a wilder Europe.
According to the European Environment Agency, Europe’s nature is experiencing a serious and continuing decline. The expansion of urban areas, unsustainable farming practices, forestry and pollution have led to a net loss of biodiversity. Currently only 15 per cent of the EU’s habitats and around 27 per cent of Europe’s species have “good” conservation status , according to the EU Habitats Directive. When we pluck species from ecosystems, like rivets from a complex machine, we degrade their health. In turn, the ecosystem services nature provides to us – the water we drink, the carbon that is absorbed in forests and wetlands, or the sediments that rivers filter – all reduce.
Yet, the projects led by Leica and TENT’s ambassadors are glimmers of hope. Thanks to the conservation movement, the number of species with “good” conservation status has actually increased by 4 per cent from the Habitat Framework Directive’s previous reporting period of 2007–2012. Carnivores are making a significant comeback across Europe: wolves have expanded their permanent range in the Italian and Iberian peninsulas, and have now recolonized France, Switzerland, Germany and Poland. The Iberian lynx has recovered from a historic low of 100 individuals in two isolated populations to more than 1,000 across the Iberian peninsula. European bison and beaver have been reintroduced to key parts of their former range; and the restoration movement is gathering pace.
Leica and The European Nature Trust, through our partnership, will be uplifting those working to restore the natural processes on which we rely. Through the partnership, the ambassadors and the NGOs they represent will be provided with elite optical equipment to support essential work to study, understand and protect nature.
Announcing our first two ambassadors
- Mario Cipollone
Mario Cipollone is the team leader at Salviamo l’Orso and Rewilding Apennines . His mission is to secure a future for the Marsican brown bears of Italy.
- Pedro Prata
Pedro Prata is the team leader at Rewilding Portugal . His mission is to bring back natural processes across the degraded landscapes of rural Portugal.