By Sujan Jayasinghe
World Wildlife Day falls on March 3
On December 20, 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) decided to proclaim March 3 as World Wildlife Day, following a proposal made by Thailand. World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora, and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. The date is the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973, which plays an important role as world's most powerful conventions for biodiversity conservation, regulating international trade of more than 35,000 species of wild fauna and flora, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment.
At the same time, the day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts. Wildlife has an intrinsic value and contributes to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of sustainable development and human well-being. Some of the world’s most charismatic species, as well as lesser-known, but ecologically important plants and animals, are in immediate danger of extinction. A major cause is habitat loss. Another is the increase of illicit trafficking.Habitat poaching is another threat to the wildlife environment. Protecting elephants, pigs, foxes, deer from poachers is a challenge that demands our attention. African continent is the leading continent to the hunting. The greatest threat to the future of tropical rainforests and the species lived there is the expansion of commodity -agriculture oil palm, pulp and paper, soy, rubber, sugar cane leading to the distortion of more rainforest in world.No one knows for sure how many species of animals exist on the Earth. In fact, some 10,000 species of animals are discovered each year, with over one and a half million species already described. Projections for the total number of species on the Earth range from 2 million to 50 million. In the meantime, the best estimate we have of the number of known plant species is 400,000. How many of these plant species are under threat is also unclear. In 1997, the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Red List of Plants included some 34,000 threatened species (out of 60,000 evaluated). Since then, the IUCN Red Listing criteria have changed, and only around 11,000 species have been evaluated with the new system. However, of those evaluated, some 8,000 species were found to be under threat. A global estimate of one in four plant species being under threat of extinction is therefore reasonable. For these reasons, all member States, the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, non-governmental organizations and individuals work together to observe and to get involved in this global celebration of wildlife.
Events for World Wildlife Day 2015 are being organized around the world. The theme for this year is: ‘Wildlife crime is serious, let’s get serious about wildlife crime’, to highlight the positive role that local communities can play in helping to curb illegal wildlife trade. All people live in this planet have a huge responsibility to contribute themselves by protecting wildlife concepts. As kids, you can open your mouth to spread out about Wildlife Day and its purposes among the society. It may help to have bright future to wildlife.