World Wildlife Day 2020: Sustaining All Life on Earth

Anna Klimova
3 March 2020

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World Wildlife Day has now become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife since its inception in 2013. This year it is celebrated under the theme of “Sustaining All Life on Earth” and focuses on the importance of all the wild fauna and flora in the world’s biodiversity and the key roles they play within it. This year’s theme aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals 1, 12, 14 and 15 which include alleviating poverty, ensuring sustainable use of resources, and conserving life on land and underwater.

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Our dear planet is one of a kind and it is the place we call home. Yet it is also home to countless species of plants and animals - so many, in fact, that one does not even know where to begin counting. The last estimate put the number at around 8.7 million distinct species, but we have only identified and described 1.3 million of those. The reality is that no one knows how many distinct species share this world with us but one thing is certain: we all depend on each other. All the birds, bees, flowers, trees, mammals, insects, reptiles - we’re all interconnected. Thus the extinction of a few may signal the demise of the many and this cascading ripple effect would bring us closer and closer to the point of no return.

The rich biodiversity of Earth that was billions of years in the making is what makes this planet habitable for all creatures, including us. We have depended on the constant interlinkages and interplay between all the elements in the biosphere for all our needs: the air we breathe, the food we eat, the energy we consume, and the materials we use. Yet we have been exploiting these resources through unsustainable human activities and the planet simply cannot recover quickly enough. The world’s biodiversity has been plummeting at an unprecedented rate - nearly a quarter of all species are currently at risk of going extinct in the coming decades, within our lifetime.

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Today, we celebrate the special place of wild plants and animals in all their spectacular and awe-inspiring forms as a component of the world’s biological diversity. We hope to raise awareness of the plethora of benefits that wildlife brings to people, especially in the communities that live in close proximity to it. This is also a day to discuss the ongoing threats the world’s biodiversity is facing and the urgent need for governments, civil society, private sectors and individuals to add their voices, take action and help conserve wildlife so that its continued use is sustainable and that its beauty, intricacy and presence is felt by all.

The threats weighing on wildlife are often large and complex, so much so individuals might feel powerless about them. However, every person’s small actions add up to a much larger solution – making the difference between a species surviving or disappearing forever.

Just #DoOneThingToday to make a difference and help wildlife conservation.

Get Involved!

Here are some of our suggestions for this year's celebrations:

Get to know the animal and plant species under threat where you live, in your area or country, and find out more on the threats and challenges they and their habitats face, and what can be done to conserve them. Share this knowledge with your family and friends.

Spread the word on social media and use the official hashtags for today:

#WorldWildlifeDay #WWD2020 #SustainingAllLife #Biodiversity2020 #SustainableUse

Bring World Wildlife Day with you to class and talk to students and educators about wildlife and biodiversity. Young people are the future leaders of wildlife conservation. A thriving planet and a rich biodiversity are their birthright, and they deserve a future where humans live in harmony with the wildlife that shares the planet with us.

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Show your appreciation for rangers, law enforcement officers, as well as youth conservation leaders and all those who are on the frontlines every day in the fight to conserve wildlife.

Visit your local sanctuaries, wildlife park, museum, botanical gardens or national park.

Consume Responsibly – By not purchasing products made from illegally sourced protected wildlife or their parts and products, you can stop wildlife trafficking from being a profitable enterprise. More information can be found through your national or local wildlife authorities or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or Wild fauna and Flora (CITES).

Stay informed – Learn more about our planet’s flora and fauna, including those that are in danger of extinction. Research ways that you or your community can conserve and protect wildlife. Inform yourself on current environmental matters and be aware of your individual impact on ecosystems and wildlife. Think globally, act locally.

Speak up – Share your knowledge, passion and questions about wildlife conservation with your friends, family and community – either in person or online.

Reach out – inform authorities if you have information on illegal logging, fishing and wildlife trafficking; whistle-blowers play a critical role in detecting wildlife crimes and holding criminal smugglers accountable.

Donate to your local conservation projects and/or Volunteer your time

Hold a screening of wildlife films.

Have Fun! World Wildlife Day is a celebration and your own creativity is the only limit!

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