In December 2013, the UN established 3 March as an official observance called “World Wildlife Day”. The date was chosen because on that same day the UN General Assembly passed CITES, a resolution that sought to stop illegal poaching and trafficking in endangered species of the world, both plant and animal species being included.
Wildlife remains integral to our future through its essential role in science, technology and recreation, as well as its place in our continued heritage.
The year 2020, known as a “biodiversity super year”, will host several global events that place biodiversity at the forefront of the global sustainable development agenda.
Despite existing global biodiversity targets, approximately 25% of species are currently threatened with extinction and natural ecosystems have declined by 47% on average. The curve of species and biodiversity loss should be bended before the tipping points are reached from which we may not recover, with dramatic consequences for all life on the planet.
The theme of World Wildlife Day 2020, “Sustaining all life on earth”, encompasses all wild animal and plant species as a component of biodiversity as well as the livelihoods of people, especially those who live closest to nature. It also underlines the importance of sustainable use of natural resources in support of the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including Goal 14 (Life Below Water), Goal 15 (Life on Land), Goal 1 (No Poverty) and Goal 12 (Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns).
World Wildlife Day Facts
- Elephants, pangolins, rhinoceros, sharks and tigers are among the most critically poached and trafficked species in the world.
- According to the UN, the biggest threat to wildlife is habitat loss, as well as overgrazing, farming and development. Habitat loss accounts for 80% of the loss in biological diversity.
- At the current rate of extinction, nearly 20% of the world's species could be extinct within the next 30 years.
World Wildlife Day 2020 will raise further awareness of the multitude of benefits of wildlife to people, the interlinkages between the various components of biodiversity, and the threats they are facing.
“The actions taken by each of us will determine the fate of the world’s wildlife”. - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.