On 20th of December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 3rd of March as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness about the wild animals and plants of our planet. On the same day, in 1973, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed to protect and preserve wildlife in all its forms across the world. The CITES Secretariat is designated as the facilitator for the global observance of this special day. World Wildlife Day is one of the most important global events dedicated to wildlife and spreading awareness about the need for its preservation.
In 2020, World Wildlife day will be celebrated under the theme “Sustaining all Life on Earth”, encompassing all wild animal and plant species as key components of the world’s biodiversity. This theme is in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals including sustainable use of resources and conserving life both on land and below water to halt biodiversity loss.
It is almost impossible to count the number of living creatures that exist on our planet. The variety of flora and fauna that thrives on earth is so large and diverse that it’s interaction among one another is substantial for the survival of the only home we all share.
Threat to wildlife
Human activities have been posing a threat to wildlife from the time of first human settlement. Through clearing land for agriculture, mining, man-made forest fires, uncontrolled grazing etc, we have been directly impacting ecology and disturbing ecological balance. By reducing the forest cover through activities like logging, felling trees for firewood, clearing forests to pave way for developmental and other construction projects, we have pushed many animals and some of the rarest plants to extinction. The biggest challenge that we face at the moment is to balance ecological conservation with developmental activities and at this time in the whole of humanity, it is rather crucial that we give more importance to preserving our biodiversity as it is depleting at an alarming rate. The destruction of biodiversity directly implies that our environment is under threat and that means our very life is in threat.
Why celebrate this day?
By celebrating a day, we focus on bringing attention to the necessity of biodiversity conservation- particularly wildlife conservation. Nearly a quarter of all species are presently at the risk of extinction and their loss would speed up the disappearance of countless others, putting the whole of the planet in great danger.
Some salient benefits of wildlife conservation are listed below.
- Promotes survival of species that are facing the threat of extinction.
- To foster ecological equilibrium and prevent further damage to food chains.
- By conserving wildlife, we ensure that forests are preserved and thus allow for the largest repository of medicinal plants to be preserved for research and other uses. It is believed that cures for some of the diseases are yet to be discovered from our wilderness as it is not completely explored yet.
- Wildlife protection includes prevention of illegal activities like hunting, poaching, killing of wild animals for food and under current scenario, this means prevention of deadly diseases from being spread.
- It is important for academic studies that the flora and fauna is preserved in its entirety and is available for future researches.
- Aesthetic and economic values associated with wildlife protection comes from tourism activity.
It is essential that forests and other ecosystems are protected for wildlife to grow and flourish for future generations as well.