In 2013, during the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the UN proclaimed March 3rd as the World Wildlife Day to “celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.”
This year’s theme is “The future of wildlife is in our hands”, and African and Asian elephants will be the main focus. However, all countries around the world are encouraged to highlight their wildlife animals and plants, while adapting to the global theme. Between 2010 and 2012 an estimated of 100,000 elephants were slaughtered for their ivory.
The UN also chose this day in order to commemorate the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which aims to “ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.”
In commemoration of this day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called “on all citizens, businesses and governments to play their part in protecting the world’s wild animals and plants. The actions taken by each of us will determine the fate of the world’s wildlife”.
Currently, world wildlife day is facing many challenges, such as habitat loss and overgrazing. Moreover, there is also poaching and trafficking driven by transnational organized crime groups threatening species such as elephants, pangolins, rhinoceros, sharks, tigers, and tree species.
The Dominican Republic enjoys a variety of wildlife species such as birds, amphibians and reptiles, which most of them can be found in its National Parks and Protected Areas. Some of these species are the Rhinoceros iguana, marine turtles – leatherback, loggerhead, hawksbill and green – dolphins and humpback whales. Nonetheless, these and other species face major threats such as deforestation, water shortages and soil erosion.
This day is an opportunity to celebrate and remember the “ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic” values of wildlife.
The future of wildlife is in our hands, we need to preserve it for future generations and contribute to sustainable development!