Sunday, May 24, WWF Italia will hold its 25th Oases Day, a free event dedicated to Italy’s natural wealth and – this year – to the so-called Green Heart of Africa. Everyone is invited to visit the countryside, woods, beaches and marshlands that are part of the one hundred or so Oases scattered around the country, totaling 35,000 hectares.
Just before the special day, we interviewed Antonio Canu, president of WWF Oasi.
What is Oases Day, and what are Oases?
Oases Day is a yearly event promoting sites of natural heritage that the WWF protects and manages in Italy. Oases are areas that have been recovered and selected because they include territories, environments or landscapes that are crucial for conservation, for either their naturalistic or strategic importance. There are currently over one hundred Oases all around the country, and all together they represent the wide variety of environments that exist in Italy.
What is the plan for this May 24?
It will be a day to celebrate nature. The public will have free access to WWF Oases, so everyone can get to know them better and participate in an important and widespread initiative for Italian naturalistic heritage. From the early morning, families and friends are welcome to go to any of the Oases, and take part in various activities and programs set up for them to discover protected environments, plant and animal species. It is a day to spend time together, experience nature, and get involved.
What are the initiative’s short-term, concrete goals?
We want people to find out more about our Oases, and we hope to spark their interest in nature in general. Every year, we also raise funds for a specific conservation project. This year will be focused on the so-called “Green Heart of Africa”, the Dzanga Sangha Park in the Congo river basin: a natural habitat for gorillas and elephants, as well as a refuge for people escaping poverty and wars, to build a sustainable, long-term development.
What is the current situation of nature conservation in Italy? Are public and private institutions sufficiently aware of the most crucial issues you face?
The situation is certainly much better than it used to be. In the past few years, Italy has caught up with other European countries in terms of environmental protection – to the point that today approximately 11% of the national territory is part of protected areas, in line with the global average. Of course there is still a lot to do. The crucial strategy now is to invest in human resources and professional skills: helping nature can open up a new future for many of us.
If you are in Italy, help “Save the Green Heart of Africa” by texting 45503 or calling the number from a landline.
You will automatically donate 2 euros with every SMS sent from a Tim, Vodafone, Wind, 3, PosteMobile or CoopVoce mobile phone; calling from a Vodafone landline will also donate 2 euros; calling from a Telecom Italia landline, you can choose to donate 2 or 5 euros.
You can also make your donation from www.wwf.it/sms.cfm