The World Wildlife Day is observed on 3rd March every year to celebrate and raise awareness about the world’s wild fauna and flora.
It is celebrated to mark the signing of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on this day in 1973.
Significance of Day: It aims to create awareness and encourages people across the globe to protect endangered species. It also calls for taking up urgent steps to fight wildlife crime which has wide-ranging environmental, economic and social impacts.
2017 theme: “Listen to the Young Voices”. It aims to empower and engage the youth in conservation issues. Engaging and empowering youth is the call of this year.
The World Wildlife Day was designated by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at its 68th session on 20 December 2013. On this day in 1973, CITES was adopted. Wildlife has an intrinsic value and contributes to the ecological, social, economic, genetic, scientific, educational, cultural, aesthetic and recreational aspects of sustainable development and human well-being. Habitat loss, poaching and climate change are among the most alarming challenges faced by wildlife today. Poaching and trafficking of wildlife is now the most immediate threat to many species. There is pressing need for enhanced action to ensure survival of wildlife in its natural habitats.
About Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- CITES is international agreement to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species.
- Its aim is to ensure that international trade does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild.
- It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It entered into force in July 1975.
- It is administered through United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It’s secretariat is located in Geneva (Switzerland).
- CITES is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.
- It classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices, based on how threatened. They are.
- (i) Appendix I: It lists species that are in danger of extinction. It prohibits commercial trade of these plants and animals except in extraordinary situations for scientific or educational reasons.
- Appendix II species: They are those that are not threatened with extinction but that might suffer a serious decline in number if trade is not restricted. Their trade is regulated by permit.
- Appendix III species: They are protected in at least one country that is a CITES member states and that has petitioned others for help in controlling international trade in that species.
- In addition CITES also restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as food, clothing, medicine, and souvenirs.