World Wildlife Day Celebrated with New Website
March 3rd marks the anniversary of the adoption of the CITES convention to protect endangered species, and it is also World Wildlife Day. Established in 2013 by the United Nations, this day provides an opportunity to celebrate the beauty and diversity of fauna and flora, recall the interactions between wildlife and human populations, and raise awareness about the urgency to end wildlife crime and its economic, environmental, and social consequences.
As part of the celebration, the UN and CITES launched a new Wildlife Day website, highlighting a campaign to raise awareness about the issues surrounding threatened species and inviting citizens to get “serious about wildlife crime”. According to CITES signatory states across all regions, public and private organizations from such diverse issue areas as economics and policing have expressed their support for Wildlife Day and their commitment to protect the most vulnerable species.
In his statement for Wildlife Day, CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon calls for new efforts to tackle the poaching, transport, and consumption of illegally traded wildlife. He advocates using enforcement mechanisms similar to those used to combat other crimes such us trafficking in drugs or persons. In a similar message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon explained the impact of wildlife crime on livelihoods and security, reinforcing the fact that “combatting this crime is not only essential for conservation efforts and sustainable development, it will contribute to achieving peace and security in troubled regions where conflicts are fueled by these illegal activities.”
Wildlife goes beyond biodiversity services. It has its own inherent value. Eradicating the loss of wildlife and ecosystems requires collective efforts from all sectors of society. It also requires reflection on the relationship between humans and biodiversity, and to find pathways of coexistence that guarantee a sustainable future.
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