Species of Wild Fauna and Flora: CITES, adopted 1979 Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of

Wild Animals adopted 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity adopted 1994 Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property

Rights adopted as part of the World Trade Organization 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety adopted 2001 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and

Agriculture adopted 2010 Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and

Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization adopted

Biological diversity is declining today 100-1,000 times faster than if natural attrition had proceeded without human interference (Heywood 1995: 232). Estimates put the number of species on earth at somewhere between 7 and 100 million: only 1.9 million of them are known and described scientifically (Wilson 1988). In effect, then many of the species that are disappearing are simply unknown to us. Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is not a very old term. It was coined during the 1980s to denote variation among all living organisms, between species and genetic variation within species. Later, it has also been taken to mean variation between ecosystems. The fact that human activity can cause loss of species and that we need

to target action to restore ecosystems and species, is not a recent discovery. Measures have been taken to protect different species and national reserves established to preserve spectacular areas of wilderness for over a century now. This chapter recounts how the international focus on conservation grew from a concern for individual cases and ecosystems to biological diversity as a common responsibility of us all. We shall also discuss how this outlook has affected wildlife conservation in different parts in the world.