As a conservation organization, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) is not only concerned about the loss of biodiversity and the degrading quality of the world’s environment. It’s also increasingly worried about the loss of cultures. The fact is that there’s a direct link between traditional peoples – such as pygmies in the Congo Basin or Australian aborigines – and nature conservation. These peoples inhabit nearly 20 percent of the planet, mainly pristine forests or dryland. They have accumulated vast amounts of ecological knowledge over thousands of years. The WWF currently runs projects in all five continents of the world which aim to protect indigenous peoples and their habitats. These are often under threat from mining, logging or slash and burn agriculture. Dr. Claude Martin, Director General of WWF International, says the organization is focused on considering indigenous peoples’ needs. “People participation is something that one has to take very seriously right from the beginning,” says Martin.