World Wildlife Day – 3 March 2023

World Wildlife Day was created to be a celebration of all wild animals and plants and a recognition of their diversity, their beauty, and the contribution they make to our well-being.

Wildlife is crucial to nature’s delicate web of life. Yet their biggest threats are due to human impacts on the environment. These include habitat loss and overexploitation through illegal trade, both local and international. Demand from Asia, for wildlife parts and products, continues to drive this black market trade. This challenge is exacerbated by the involvement of organised crime networks.

Wildlife is essential for tourism in South Africa. It creates opportunities and benefits for local communities living around protected areas as well as the broader economy. There are over 100 000 known species of plants, animals, and fungi in South Africa. Scientists believe that there are at least another 50 000 species in the country that have not yet been discovered or named.

The 10 endangered animals in South Africa are:

African wild dog

There is a negative misconception around the African wild dog. Violent snaring of wild dogs is one of the most brutal ways of killing, and unfortunately, this happens much too often in our wildernesses.

Blue crane

The blue crane is South Africa’s national bird. Because they have a blind spot in the vision, they tend to collide with power lines and since they have very long, dangly legs, they get entangled in the wires.

Cape vulture

Cape vultures are only found in Southern Africa, limiting the already decreasing population.

Cheetah

Many farmers end up poisoning, shooting, or trapping the cheetah culprits, because cheetahs know that a sheep is a much easier catch than an antelope on the run.

Golden mole

Golden moles rank high on the list of most endangered animals in South Africa, with five different species reaching the top ten most endangered mammals in the country.

Knysna seahorse

Industrial developments are proving challenging for the seahorse’s survival.

Oribi

It’s called a specialist grazer because it doesn’t eat just any type of grass and therefore it’s incredibly vulnerable to habitat loss.

Pickergill’s reedfrog

The Pickersgill’s reedfrog is one of the most endangered amphibians in South Africa. It’s endemic to the coastline of KwaZulu-Natal where their numbers are shockingly low and vastly spread out along the coast.

Riverine rabbit

It only lives in the deep silt flood plains of seasonal Karoo rivers and can’t be found anywhere else in the world, making it incredibly vulnerable to habitat loss.

Yellow-breasted pipit

They occur mostly in the highland grasslands of the Drakensberg, but also South Africa’s most threatened grassland biome.

The theme for World Wildlife Day this year is “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation”. Partnerships for Conservation are vital, as no organisation, can tackle the biodiversity crisis on their own. We have a million species that are threatened with extinction, and it will need combined efforts to reverse the situation. Partnerships bring together people or groups with different levels of experience and expertise, to come up with new ideas and the goal of having impact.

The theme is particularly significant as it recognises the 50th Anniversary year of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the important role that CITES has played in building partnerships for wildlife conservation.

Download PDF World Wetlands Day Poster

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