Half a million ants take part in a ''protest'' at a German zoo calling for increased protection of the Amazon rainforest. Roselle Chen reports.
More than half a million ants called for the protection of the Amazon rainforest, ahead of a two-day visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Brazil. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) worked with Cologne Zoo in west Germany and laser cut messages of support onto leaves, such as "Help," "Merkel Help," "Stand Up" and "Save the Amazon," which were then given to the leafcutter ants who carried them on their backs through their ant farm as a protest for all to see. The WWF said they hoped the unusual event would highlight the importance of preserving the world's biggest rainforest and that Merkel would use her upcoming trip to the South American country to lobby for its increased protection. For the leafcutter ants, the peaceful demonstration was also intended as a personal one. SOUNDBITE: Philipp Goeltenboth, director for Africa and South America at WWF Germany, saying (German): "The ants are calling for the continued protection of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, their home. That's where all their relatives are and a lot of these areas have already been destroyed." The Amazon is the single largest remaining tropical rainforest in the world and houses 10 percent of the world's known biodiversity. During the last half century, it has lost at least 17 percent of its forest cover.