Every year tens of thousands of species and attendant ecological actions, fine-tuned by time and place, disappear at the hand of man. These losses strip away the redundancy and certainty of nature and diminish the lives of millions of people. If these trends continue, the world will become a dismal place indeed, with silent springs and hot summers and little left to excite the senses except the weeds. Without doubt, the extinction crisis looms as one of humanity’s most pressing problems.
In response to the crisis, Mr. Ted Turner and his family launched the Turner Endangered Species Fund in June 1997. This private, non-profit charity is dedicated to conserving biodiversity by ensuring the persistence of imperiled species and their habitats. We at the Turner Endangered Species Fund work on diverse ecological issues aimed at conserving individual species as well as restoring functional ecosystems. Our activities are guided by the principles of conservation biology, and we endeavor to contribute to the distribution of reliable scientific and policy information.
We invite collaboration, and work closely with state and Federal agencies, universities, and private organizations. We operate on the belief that many minds wrapped around a problem builds a certain route to success. Whether we seek to manage an extant population or restore an extirpated one, our goal is population persistence with little or no human intervention. We believe that intact native species assemblages are indicative of a healthy landscape, and a high degree of ecosystem integrity.
The Turner Endangered Species Fund has achieved much, and is widely recognized as an effective force in conservation…..but more can be done! This work will be challenging because private stewardship of biodiversity is an evolving yet essential approach to conservation. The problems involved are complex, and effective solutions require broad-based sociopolitical, biological, geographical, and fiscal considerations. Many of our projects will be controversial, slow to succeed, and fraught with uncertainty, and some may fail. The difficulty will come not because we were ill prepared or that we did not work hard but rather that restoration of intricate ecosystems is complex, and an imprecise process about which scientists as yet know little. But this will not diminish our substantial resolve. We believe that real solutions to the extinction crisis will come through the genius and determination of mankind. We intend to contribute by establishing a new measure for conserving the wondrous diversity of life on Earth.