3rd March 2015 will be the second annual World Wildlife Day!
CITES or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora aims to make sure the trade in wild animals and plants internationally doesn’t threaten their survival; it’s an agreement between international governments.
Animals and plants are traded and used by us all, all the time, for food, health products, cosmetics and other things. CITES regulates this trade which helps to preserve biodiversity.
CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973 and it’s permit system endeavours to make sure international trade in listed species is legal, traceable and sustainable. You can find out more at CITES.org
In December 2013 the UN general assembly decided to make the 3rd of March, the day CITES was signed, World wildlife day and enlisted the CITES secretariat (with the help of relevant UN organisations) to implement it.
World wildlife day aims to celebrate the amazing and diverse forms of life, their benefit to people, and raise awareness about the need to fight wildlife crime.
Wildlife has an intrinsic value and it is important for so many reasons, such as our well-being, ecology, sustainable development, culture, science, and education.
Wildlife crime is any action which goes against wildlife protection laws. It includes crimes such as illegal trade of endangered species, poaching, and killing or disturbing protected species.
The impact wildlife crime has is huge. It can damage ecosystems and the environment, cause unnecessary suffering and pain, push species further into extinction, and it undermines sustainable development.
Probably the most well know wildlife crimes are the killings of rhinos and elephants for their horns and tusks. They are used in traditional Chinese medicine, or as status symbols. The thing is, rhino horn is made of a protein called keratin, it’s the same protein your hair and nails are made of, and an elephant’s tusk is basically a tooth, made of dentine and enamel, so what makes them so worth killing for? It’s senseless, but where there is a demand, there’ll be people cashing in.
We need to work together to stop the demand for wildlife crime and cut off the supply. Many are working toward this by protecting vulnerable species, policing areas where poachers operate, and creating alternative livelihoods for would-be poachers.
What can you do?
Spread the word! Speak up for wildlife. On the World Wildlife Day facebook they ask..
Join us in the lead up to this important day and use your voice to tell the world that it’s time to take a stand against organized wildlife crime before it’s too late. Visit http://www.wildlifeday.org, download and print the action poster (or create your own) and share on social media using the hashtag #SeriousAboutWildlifeCrime.
If you have twitter, facebook or tumblr you can join the Thunderclap. Thunderclap posts a message to the social media platforms of everyone who has signed up to that particular campaign AT THE SAME TIME. By ensuring everyone’s social media posts at the same time (it’s automatic so you don’t have to worry) it increases the chance the message will be seen and heard.
And of course, think responsibly when buying products from wild plants and animals.
Wildlifeday.org (hover over the ‘get involved’ menu for logos, posters and social media posters)
World Wildlife Day facebook
World Wildlife Day Twitter
UN.org on Wildlife day
UNODC (United Nations on drugs and crime)