For millennia, people and cultures have relied on nature’s rich diversity of wild plants and animals for food, clothing, medicine and spiritual sustenance. Wildlife remains integral to our future through its essential role in science, technology and recreation, as well as its place in our continued heritage. That is why the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3 March — the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) — as World Wildlife Day.
Despite its intrinsic value to sustainable development and human well-being, wildlife is under threat. 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 in illicit trafficking.
The environmental, economic and social consequences of wildlife crime are profound. Of particular concern are the implications of illicit trafficking for peace and security in a number of countries where organized crime, insurgency and terrorism are often closely linked.
While the threats to wildlife are great, we can reduce them through our collective efforts. On this inaugural World Wildlife Day, I urge all sectors of society to end illegal wildlife trafficking and commit to trading and using wild plants and animals sustainably and equitably.
Let us work for a future where people and wildlife coexist in harmony. Let’s go wild for wildlife! United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
International World Wildlife Day should be a day for a celebration by people everywhere of this planet’s rich diversity in flora and fauna. Across plains, and in oceans and forests, this world teems with life in all its infinite varieties.
Animal and plant life are a source of shared wonder, but we confront failure in our stewardship of this planet’s diversity. Wildlife and environmental crimes, in all their harrowing forms, are destroying this heritage.
Elephants, rhinos, tigers and other wildlife, are being slaughtered for their ivory, skins and for their bones. The killing of animals is a crime without sense. It is fuelling new crimes, including terrorism and other forms of trafficking, as well as devastating the economies of countries; many of whom rely on their biodiversity for tourism. Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov
UNDP is appalled by wildlife trafficking and poaching and committed to helping combat it”, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said. “Because poaching syndicates are often linked to organized crime and/or conflict in a country, the illegal wildlife trade has become a peace and security issue, as well as a developmental and environmental challenge. It threatens to undermine our work to fight poverty, uphold the rule of law, and end corruption. UNDP is supporting countries to meet this challenge head-on, and sees the creation of sustainable and alternative livelihood opportunities as a central part of this effort. Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Helen Clark
The United Nations' first World Wildlife
Day coincides with renewed attention being paid to the escalating crisis of
wildlife poaching. While providing us with an opportunity to celebrate the
fantastic diversity of life on earth it also reminds us of the urgency and
responsibility to care for and protect it.
While governments have a key role to play,
we as citizens of countries across the globe have a vital role to play in
shutting down the markets that sustain this illegal trade which threatens the
survival of iconic species such as elephants and rhinos, but also of other
threatened animal and plant species.
For the past four decades
the United Nations Environment Programme has worked to support nations to
establish legislation at both the national and the global level to combat
poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife. This has helped countries to
more effectively protect our wildlife heritage. Environmental crime continues
to undermine these efforts. World Wildlife Day is an opportunity for all of us
to reconnect to this vital. Executive Director, UN Environment Programe, Achim Steiner
"I wish to express my strong support for the World Wildlife Day, the first of which is to be celebrated on 3 March 2014, 41 years to the day the CITES treaty was adopted. It presents a unique opportunity to remember and celebrate the world's diversity and multitude of flora and fauna, strengthen conservation of plants and animals in the wild which are key to the survival of life on earth, and ensure sustainable and legal trade that is non-detrimental to the species, and enhances livelihoods and incomes. At a time when the earth's natural resources are being exploited at an accelerated pace to meet the needs of burgeoning populations and consumer demands, the World Wildlife Day and CITES will help us to focus more on sustainable practices by communities, governments and enterprises in our ultimate quest for development. Secretary-General of UNCTAD Mukhisa Kituyi,
As Director-General of the WTO I am proud to support World Wildlife Day. Ensuring that economic growth and development can take place without damaging the environment is one of the great challenges of our time – and the WTO has an important role to play. WTO rules seek to achieve a crucial balance, fostering trade as a means to promote growth and development, while also supporting the right of WTO Members to take appropriate measures to protect the environment. We will continue this work in the years ahead and look forward to marking the day. Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General
“The International Trade Centre (ITC) commends the United Nations General Assembly for the designation of World Wildlife Day on 3 March. This is a day that celebrates the beauty of nature and biodiversity in its myriad forms.We join the CITES Secretariat and the rest of the world in celebrating this very first World Wildlife Day and pledge our support to continuing our efforts to conserve and protect the world’s wildlife..." Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC)
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is
delighted to join the international community in recognizing and celebrating
the first World Wildlife Day. The native species and ecosystems of our planet
support billions of people and drive the world’s economy. Preservation of our
wild fauna and flora depends on the international community coming together to find
solutions to our greatest conservation challenges.
As head of the United States delegation
to the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, I was
proud to lend U.S. support to the adoption of a resolution designating March 3rd
as World Wildlife Day. I was pleased by the subsequent adoption and recognition
of this day by the United Nations General Assembly— an unequivocal statement
that celebrating wildlife and its many ecological, economic, and societal
benefits is a worthwhile endeavor that will resonate to all corners of the
world. Dan Ashe, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Director
INTERPOL is honoured to join the United Nations and CITES in marking this first World Wildlife Day, underlining our shared efforts in protecting the various forms of wild fauna and flora.
Wildlife crime is no longer an emerging form of criminality but rather an established security concern, with widespread effects on the well-being of communities worldwide and economic stability.
Through collaboration and joint commitment, we can help turn back wildlife crime and its consequences. INTERPOL looks forward to our continued work with CITES to encourage and support the efforts of national law enforcement in our member countries in tackling crimes against wildlife.
Ronald K. Noble, Secretary-General
Protecting the earth's wildlife and ensuring a safe haven for endangered species is critical if we hope to bequeath future generations a natural heritage that they can appreciate and admire. This is why the WCO and its Member Customs administrations are doing all they can to combat the illegal wildlife trade and put a stop to criminal syndicates who profit enormously from their illicit activities without regard for the harm and destruction that follow in their wake.
Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary-General
FAO associates itself with enthusiasm with the celebration of the World Wildlife Day which was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in recognition of the value of wildlife and its various contributions to sustainable development and human well-being. Whilst dramatic trends in criminal hunting and trade are threatening emblematic species to the verge of extinction, requiring immediate, prompt and decisive action, concerted and efficient efforts are also needed to sustainably manage wildlife so as to provide ecological, social, economic and cultural contributions to human development, food security, and wellbeing. FAO looks forward to working with countries and partners, including the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW), to more effectively address the needs in this area, paying special attention to sustainably improving the livelihoods of poor rural communities and the conservation of their natural resources. Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General
“IUCN is delighted to join in the global celebrations of the inaugural World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2014 declared by the United Nations General Assembly.
World Wildlife Day gives us a chance to highlight the breathtaking diversity of our planet’s animal and plant species and how their continued survival in the wild is intimately linked to ours.
IUCN, with its deep connection to CITES, has been working on conservation and sustainable use of wildlife for over 60 years, in particular through the 8,500 members of the IUCN Species Survival Commission — bringing the top species conservation expertise to support CITES, IUCN and the conservation community worldwide..." Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
“On the occasion of the first World Wildlife Day, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) wishes to place on the record its congratulations on the anniversary of the founding of CITES and its ongoing support for the goals of CITES as embodied in the World Wildlife Day. ITTO and CITES have been working together for the past decade to improve the management of tropical tree species listed in the CITES Appendices. We will continue this important partnership to ensure that these species are sustainably managed and traded consistent with the regulations of CITES and the goals of ITTO. Once again, congratulations to our CITES friends - we look forward to being able to report many more successes from our joint work on tropical tree species on future World Wildlife Days.” Emmanuel Ze Meka, Executive Director
The Global Environment Facility joins in the observance of World Wildlife Day and commits—every day—to sustaining its critical financial support for programs that address the full range of threats to wildlife. From our role as the leading global funder of programs to halt poaching and the illegal wildlife trade to our responsibilities as the key source of funds for international treaties on biodiversity, land degradation, desertification and international waters, GEF is engaged in protecting wildlife both for its intrinsic value and for its critical role in the global ecosystem. GEF’s unique cross-cutting role involves support for managing large landscape mosaics of protected areas and production areas in a way that can sustain human needs while supporting a thriving and varied wildlife population. This balance is essential to sustainable development, and can be an economic boon in places where wildlife tourism is a major contributor to economic growth. Our job is to make sure the observance of World Wildlife Day can be a celebration and not a memorial service. GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii
“Congratulations on the establishment of the World Wildlife Day.
Many of the world's most majestic endangered species can be found in the drylands, where their habitats are shrinking due to the pressures of development, climate change and desertification. In addition to these severe threats, the survival of dryland range animals like elephants and rhinos is also threatened by poaching. Holistic policies that protect wildlife as an important part of dryland ecosystems are urgently needed to save endangered species from extinction.” UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut
“IMO firmly believes in the importance of raising awareness of the multitude of benefits that wildlife provides to people and World Wildlife Day 2014 provides an ideal opportunity to this end. In this connection, I would like to highlight that IMO has adopted key environmental treaties and codes of practice to protect marine ecosystems and wildlife from operational discharges from ships, and from accidental marine pollution. Furthermore, IMO has implemented ships routeing measures and developed guidance documents to reduce vessel strikes with cetaceans. IMO has also designated a large number of marine areas, such as Special Areas under MARPOL that include special mandatory discharge standards, as well as fourteen Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas. These areas enjoy special protection through action by IMO because of their significance for recognized ecological or socio-economic or scientific reasons, and for their vulnerability to damage by international maritime activities.”
Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization (IMO)
As Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, also home of the late Wangari Maathai and just minutes and hours away from some of the world’s richest and diverse wildlife which underpins a big part of East Africa’s economy, I welcome the opportunity to recognize the 1st World Wildlife Day as an important platform in the promotion of global action for the protection and conservation of our wildlife. Sahle-Work Zewde, Director-General, United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Beauty is the driving force of my work as a photographer, and of my fellow photographers who kindly contributed to this exhibition.
Beauty moves the heart, it opens the mind. Beauty arouses empathy - towards humans and other living species.
As a photographer but also as the president of a NGO which works towards making the world a better place, I hope that the beauty of the Wild and Precious Exhibition images will inspire you with the will to take action to protect wild animals and plants. Yann Arthus-Bertrand, President
We face an unprecedented decline in our planet's biodiversity, largely due to human impacts. More than ever, we need a World Wildlife Day to pause and take note of our responsibility to wildlife - both fauna and flora. WCS is proud to recognize World Wildlife Day with CITES and all our partners and to work with them every day on behalf of our world's living treasures which are inspiring, beautiful and essential to life on earth. Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Cristian Samper
Richardson Center for Global Engagement
The Richardson Center for
Global Engagement recently launched a partnership to bring together government,
NGOs, technology firms and frontline conservation and enforcement officials to
deploy more effective strategies to stop poaching. Working in collaboration with
the World Wildlife Fund and African Parks, the Richardson Center is also
establishing the first-of-its-kind, permanent ranger training school in the
Republic of Congo that is already generating encouraging results. Additionally,
the Center is creating an international legal framework to dedicate funds raised
from the forfeiture of seized assets to support anti-poaching
Working together, we can
transform wildlife conservation throughout Africa and the world. We know that
reaching and protecting the most remote locations is no easy task. It takes
applying the most advanced, real-time surveillance technology. It takes trained
and committed rangers and guards. It takes an infrastructure that sustains the
effort over the long haul. And it takes international cooperation and strategic
The World Wildlife Day, on
the 3rd of March is the opportunity for all
of us to celebrate, partner and protect the beauty and variety of our planet’s
wildlife.” – Governor Bill Richardson, Richardson Center for Global
We must appreciate wildlife. We must
celebrate wildlife. And we must champion wildlife. Everyday. Let this
occasion—World Wildlife Day—remind us of that. Let it also remind us that
organizations that have taken the task to protect wildlife—regardless of our
conservation approaches—need to put aside our differences and unite as a
powerful force. Azzedine Downes, President and CEO,
International Fund for Animal Welfare
“The world community of zoos and aquariums is delighted to support the World Wildlife Day, initiated by CITES and endorsed by the UN General Assembly. This important initiative will highlight the intrinsic value of living creatures, their beauty and ultimately their importance for human beings – hopefully resulting in better protection”.
Gerald Dick, Executive Director
I can't imagine passing on a planet devoid of wildlife to my children. What would we tell them about why we left their world in such a state? This World Wildlife Day, please give a voice to all endangered species, great and small.
36% of all species on earth are at risk of extinction. Tens of thousands of elephants are being killed every year. One every 15 minutes. Wild rhinos have to be protected by armed guards day and night and we are still losing the battle.
Youth of today own the social media platform. We rule it with our individual and collective voices. This is powerful and we can make change! Let's speak up about the illegal wildlife trade and reverse this crisis.
It's World Wildlife Day. Let's do more than pledge, let's act.
World Wildlife Day is an important opportunity for us all to consider our responsibility in protecting the animals that inhabit the earth, and to recognize that our future as human beings very much depends on our ability to ensure their long-term survival. Much more has to be done if we are to avoid the extinction of the great apes, tigers, elephants and rhinoceroses.
For 30 years, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has connected people with ocean wildlife as a way to inspire them to care more – and do more – to protect the oceans. Our survival depends on protecting healthy ecosystems on which people and wildlife depend. Designation of World Wildlife Day is a powerful new way to remind all people how much we rely on the natural world.
Find more about the conservation and research work of Monterey Bay Aquarium on great white sharks, bluefin tuna and southern sea otters: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/research.aspx.”
Julie Packard, Executive Director
daughter of Hewlett-Packard (HP)
co-founder David Packard
World Wildlife Day provides occasion to celebrate the wonder and beauty of the world’s wild fauna and flora and to reflect on the multitude of benefits provided by wildlife. During this United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, this day reminds us that it is important to resolve to do our utmost to preserve these key components of biodiversity.
Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias,
CBD Executive Secretary
March 3 is World Wildlife Day. It is a day that has been set aside by the UN General Assembly to promote international cooperation for wildlife. It is an opportunity for countries, organizations and people to come together, to not only celebrate wildlife but also to highlight the various threats wildlife is facing. It is also a day in which the global community can come together to stimulate more international action for wildlife conservation. As Executive Secretary of the only global treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory species of wild animals ( www.cms.int ), I am delighted to be able to join CITES and the many other dedicated organizations around the world in support of the first ever World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2014.
Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the UNEP Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) - www.cms.int
“The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is pleased to join the celebrations for World Wildlife Day and congratulates CITES on the launch of the first World Wildlife Day.
The Ramsar Convention’s annual World Wetlands Day campaign in February celebrated the beauty and utility of wetlands – home to a huge diversity of wildlife. As wetland people, our favourite wildlife might include a bear fishing for salmon along a river, a coral reef alive with colourful fish, or a pond of frogs, dragonflies and water lilies in full bloom. Our aim is to sustain this beauty as well as the many benefits wetlands bring to humankind and wildlife – water, food, transport, coastal protection and much, much more. Indeed, sustaining wetlands and their water is key to sustaining us all.
Wetlands and their species, in common with other ecosystems, are under threat from human population increase and unsustainable practices, including the illegal trade in wetland species, and we will continue in our fight to find sustainable solutions that safeguard the beauty and utility of our wetlands. We congratulate CITES for the World Wildlife Day campaign and join with them in calling for greater collaboration for a future where people and wildlife coexist in harmony.”
Ramsar Secretary General
Wildlife now has its own special day on the United Nations calendar. On the 3rd of March we will for the first time ever celebrate World Wildlife Day.
The 3rd of March is the opportunity for all of us - no matter who we are or where we are - to celebrate the beauty and variety of the millions of plants and animals that we share our planet with.
While we cherish wildlife in its own right we should not forget that it also contributes to our personal well-being - from food to medicine – from culture to recreation.
But today our wildlife is suffering from habitat loss as well as a grave threat from illegal trade, which is worth many billions of dollars every year. This illegal trade is now threatening the survival of some of our most charismatic species, as well as some plants and animals you may never have heard of.
So as we are celebrating wildlife let’s do whatever we can - as citizens and as consumers - to bring this illegal trade to an end. Let’s work for a future where people and wildlife coexist in harmony.
By working together we can do this - and in doing so secure the future for wild plants and animals as well as for ourselves.
On this special day let's reconnect with our planet's wild side - let's go wild for wildlife!
John E. Scanlon,
Secretary-General of CITES