What do the orangutans of Borneo, the elephants of Sumatra, and the Black Rhino all have in common? Aside from all being totally cool animals that we watch on YouTube, the more sobering truth about these creatures is that they’re all critically endangered species. But on World Wildlife Day, the UN and its partners are planning to raise awareness of the gravity of this dire situation.
An animal is only placed on the critically endangered species list if the International Union for Conservation of Nature believes the animal faces a very high risk for extinction – extinction as in going the way of the dinosaurs and dodo. So what does critically endangered look like? Current estimates put the number of living Black Rhinos at around 2,500 in the entire world. Russia’s Amur Leopard, found in the far eastern recesses of the country, is on the verge of extinction, with only about 40 left in the world. Unfortunately, this list goes on and on.
To raise awareness of endangered species and what we all can do, the UN is celebrating World Wildlife Day on March 3, marking the day the group signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The World is full of amazing creatures from every possible medium. From the birds of the air to the majestic whales of the sea, wildlife abounds in the most unusual and unexpected places. Wildlife benefits us in many ways and has since timed out of mind. World Wildlife Day is a day to remind us of our responsibilities to our world and the lifeforms we share it with.
Even though we might like to think so sometimes, humans aren’t the only living things on Earth. In fact, we’re far outnumbered by other living things, from animals and plants to fungi and bacteria. Wildlife isn’t just something that we passively observe; it’s part of our world, and something we need to care for. World Wildlife Day is your chance to celebrate all wildlife, from the smallest insect to blue whales. No matter what you love about wildlife, you can spend the day taking action to help protect it.
This day is all about raising awareness of wild flora and fauna across the world. Whether you love animals, you’re passionate about plants, or you’re concerned about climate change, it’s the day that you can use to educate yourself or others. You can celebrate the incredible biodiversity across the world and perhaps get out there to explore the huge range of flora and fauna the world has to offer. Celebrating World Wildlife Day is a must for anyone who loves our planet.
History of World Wildlife Day
On March 3rd, 1973 the United Nations General Assembly took a stand to protect Endangered Species throughout the world. Whether plant or animal, the importance of these species in every area of human life, from culinary to medical, could not be understated. At this time hundreds of endangered species were being threatened every year, and extinction was at a staggeringly high rate. CITES was put into place (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) to ensure that the world did not continue to hemorrhage species that would never be seen from again.
On December 20th, 2013 another step was taken to help spread awareness of the fragility of endangered species in the world. At its 68th session, the UN declared that each year World Wildlife Day would be dedicated to a new purpose and idea to help keep people abreast of the changing nature of our world, and the treasures we stand to lose from the animal and plant kingdom if we don’t take care.
Sometimes the day highlights an endangered animal or group of animals, while in other years, it has focused on a specific issue affecting the world of wildlife. Previous themes have included getting serious about wildlife crime and listening to young voices. World Wildlife Day is implemented by the CITES Secretariat, working together with relevant UN organizations. The day might not have been around for long compared to some others, but it’s already made a big impact. If you are passionate about the Earth and everything on it, celebrating is a must.
How to Celebrate World Wildlife Day
You can celebrate World Wildlife Day on your own or with others, whether you just want to spend some time contemplating the majesty of nature or you want to spread the word about just how amazing the world’s wildlife is and how we can protect it.
The first thing that always comes to mind when we think about World Wildlife Day is heading out to our local zoo or botanical conservatory and reminding ourselves of the vast variety of life our world offers. If you have children, this can be one of the best ways to really introduce them to the wonders of the animal and plant kingdom. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, an outdoor excursion with a book of local flora and fauna (That’s plants and animals) can help make that connection come even closer to home.
You could also spend the day spreading the word about the importance of our wildlife. If you love our planet, what better way to celebrate everything on it than to encourage other people to care about it too? You might create an event, get people to sponsor you or create some education materials. Choose a cause that matters to you, whether it is a local one or an international wildlife issue that you want to highlight.
Another way you can get involved is finding out what this year’s theme is by stopping by www.wildlifeday.org and finding ways to get involved. The website has a map of events that you can search to discover things to do near you, or you could add your own event to encourage others to get involved too. You can find a range of useful materials on the site too, including posters, logos, a social media kit, and a special action card that you can use to take photos. You can find suggestions for World Wildlife Day hashtags to use on social media or any materials that you create for your event too. Some of their suggestions for getting involved include running a competition, engaging with influencers, celebrities and politicians, and showing your appreciation for those who help to conserve wildlife every day.
There are few things as important as making sure that the world’s biosphere remains healthy, every time we lose a plant or animal, we have no way of knowing if a cure for a disease or some new medical breakthrough was lost with them. World Wildlife Day is your opportunity to do your part in preserving our world.