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ENVIRONMENT REPORT - October 5, 2001: Wildlife Society Conference - 2001-10-03

This is the VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT.

Last week, more than one-thousand-five hundred people from around the world attended the yearly national conference of The Wildlife Society. It was held in the western American city of Reno, Nevada. Scientists who represent private companies, special interest groups and government agencies took part in the conference. The Wildlife Society is an international scientific and educational organization. Its goal is to protect wildlife. The organization was started in Nineteen-Thirty-Seven. Its headquarters are in Bethesda, Maryland, near Washington, D-C.

The representatives at the conference discussed wildlife management, research and protection. They discussed concerns about decreasing wildlife populations. They talked about the supervision of wildlife species in national parks. They also exchanged ideas about how to deal with conflicts between people and wildlife in the United States.

Some of the meetings dealt with protecting endangered species, such as bats. Bats are one of the least known mammals. They are difficult to capture and study.

Bats are an important part of the environmental system. Agricultural plants and rain forests depend on them for spreading pollen. They also eat harmful insects and worms that can destroy crops. But the number of bats has decreased by more than fifty percent in the United States. Some kinds of bats already are listed as endangered. The number of bats is decreasing around the world.

Representatives at The Wildlife Society meeting also discussed the decreasing populations of frogs and other amphibians. Many are being lost to disease, competition from other frog species and chemical pollution in the environment. Frogs are an important measure of the health of the environment.

Experts at the conference also recognized gains made in wildlife protection. For example, they noted successful efforts to save an endangered bird called the sandhill crane from disappearing.

Some wildlife representatives expressed concern that the terrorist attacks in the United States last month would reduce money for environmental protection. However, conference experts say protecting natural resources is especially important during this time.

This VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT was written by Cynthia Kirk.