This coming Sunday, December 4th, is World Wildlife Conservation Day. Although we mainly talk about pet and companion animals in this space, it is worthwhile to stop every once in a while and consider the animal population of our planet as a whole. We are all interconnected and form the ecosystem of our planet, and changes to it can have profound effects on us all. It is a sad truth that many species, hailing from all over the world, are endangered due to the harmful actions of humans, from hunting and trafficking to the destruction of habitats. There are illegal trades that deal in the trafficking and poaching of wild animals that are threatening the very existence of many of the most recognizable and revered species in the world.
The aim of World Wildlife Conservation Day is to promote the protection and conservation of endangered species and raise awareness about the global issue of illegal wildlife trafficking. Many of the world’s most exotic and iconic species such as elephants, rhinos, and tigers are being threatened by black market demand for illegal wildlife products that are connected to much more dangerous and illegal trades. Populations that depend on different animals for their livelihoods, sustenance, and tourism are being affected by illegal wildlife trafficking as well. Many people are caught in the crossfire of wildlife crimes that affect their safety, families, homes, and way of life, in addition to the impact wildlife crimes and trafficking has on the natural environment.
There are many organizations throughout the world working together to protect and conserve threatened animals and habitats, but the need always exists for more people to get involved and help. Protecting wildlife is the responsibility of us all, across all continents and countries. Working together for a common goal is the only way to combat wildlife trafficking and ensure that endangered species are still around for our children and grandchildren to marvel at. Efforts are being made to protect and restore species and their habitats, strengthen local communities’ ability to conserve the natural resources they depend on, and transform markets and policies to reduce the production and consumption of illegal commodities.
As an individual, you can educate yourself about the issues that are facing endangered animals, and work to be an educated and informed consumer by learning about the products you purchase to make sure you are not unknowingly contributing to the problem. To get involved, you can go to http://www.wildlifepledge.org/ and take the wildlife pledge to respect and protect the world’s wildlife. From there you can link to the many other organizations involved in working against wildlife crime and learn more about getting involved in a way that matters to you.