New Delhi: March 3 is observed as the World Wildlife Day every year, with an aim to appreciate and celebrate beautiful varied forms of wild flora and fauna across the globe. The day also urges everyone to raise awareness about the need to conserve them. As per the United Nations (UN), continued loss of species, habitats, and ecosystems also threatens all life on Earth, including humans.
People everywhere rely on wildlife and biodiversity-based resources to meet all our needs, from food to fuel, medicines, housing, and clothing. Millions of people also rely on nature as the source of their livelihoods and economic opportunities, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Theme And Significance
This day is celebrated every year with a unique theme. The theme for World Wildlife Day 2022 is ‘Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration.’
The theme is chosen by the UN as a way to draw attention to the conservation status of some of the most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora and to drive the discussion towards imagining and implementing solutions to conserve wildlife.
According to data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, over 8,400 species of wild fauna and flora are critically endangered, while close to 30,000 more are understood to be endangered or vulnerable.
Species that are critically endangered include African Forest Elephant, Black Rhino, Cross River Gorilla, among others. While Indian species that are endangered include Indian rhinoceros, Snow Leopard, Olive Ridley sea turtle and Bengal Tigers, among others.
Based on the above-mentioned estimates, it is suggested that over a million species are threatened with extinction. The main factors that contribute to the extinction of species include human activities such as habitat loss due to urbanisation, overexploitation, moving species from their natural habitat, global pollution and climate change. Illegal wildlife trade is also unsustainable, harming wild populations of animals and plants and pushing endangered species toward extinction. It also brings several public health consequences, such as the spreading of zoonotic pathogens.
This year, World Wildlife Day is expected to drive debates on the immediate need to reserve the fate of the critically endangered species of animals and birds. This will be taken to restore their habitats and ecosystems and promote sustainable use by humanity.
History of World Wildlife Day
On December 20, 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed March 3, as the UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.
It is the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973.
The UNGA resolution also designated the CITES Secretariat as the facilitator for the global observance of this special day for wildlife on the UN calendar. World Wildlife Day has now become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.