World Wildlife Day 2023

03 March 2023

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By David Neale, Animals Asia's Animal Welfare Director

Today is World Wildlife Day, a day to reflect upon the impact we are having upon the natural world, its species, and the individuals that rely upon it.  

75% of our terrestrial environment and 66% of marine environments are impacted by our activities and we are noticing how widespread the destruction of the natural environment is in our personal lives and via the media. It is difficult to remain positive about how we can protect habitats to ensure that nature can continue to thrive.

Yet this is what we all must do to prevent the further collapse of our ecological systems. And while we might support the conservation of the world’s remaining forested lands or efforts to prevent the extinction of iconic species such as elephants, tigers and rhinos, many of these worthy causes can seem a long way away geographically, or out of our sphere of influence.

This is why we must use World Wildlife Day as an opportunity to look within our own worlds at the small things we can do to help the nature that we interact with in our everyday lives.

As we step out of our homes we instantly enter the home of other animals. The environments that we operate within, our gardens, streets, public parks, railway lines and roadsides are all a home to animals. Many may not be as iconic as those we see as part of global conservation campaigns but this doesn't make them any less worthy of our respect and our protection.

If we allow space in our gardens for the fallen leaves and the dead wood to rot, we will attract invertebrate life to feed off the wood and bark that will in turn attract small birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. If we support the protection of our local wetlands, they will provide a home for both vertebrate and invertebrate life and this community support may just prevent them from being drained to provide space for urban development.

By using and protecting our local natural spaces we can help to ensure they are preserved and protected for the plethora of wildlife that call them home.

And in turn, these areas will continue to provide us with the opportunities to rejoice in the intrinsic value of nature as we watch the birds nesting in spring, the squirrels and jays caching their food supplies in the autumn, and the arrival of migrants escaping colder northern climates in the winter months; the joy of seeing life in all of its forms from the new growth on the trees to the emergence of butterflies and bees, and the development of new parent-infant relationships each Spring as we exit the colder months and welcome milder temperatures.

These natural wonders happen before our very eyes each and every day, animals of all different shapes and sizes going about living their own lives sometimes literally under our feet and noses. 

It is these animals that need our support. They need our respect to ensure their habitats are protected from destruction, however big or small this habitat may be. They need us to think of them in each of the daily decisions we make in how we move from place to place, the things we buy and how we dispose of our waste. And they need us to enter their worlds and help remove the rubbish that we have either deliberately or unintentionally disposed of that can cause them harm.

In a world so dominated by our activities we need to make time and space to ensure that these animals can continue to live their lives as they have evolved over many hundreds of thousands of years to do so.

On World Wildlife Day, rejoice in the wonders of the natural world and support those that have inclusive strategies to support the conservation of our key ocean and terrestrial habitats and iconic species. But also take time to find out about the nature that shares your world. Once you learn more about these individuals you will see the value in protecting them and their homes in playing a small part in the global efforts to conserve our incredibly diverse natural world.

Read more:

World Wildlife Conservation Day - Shark Conservation | World Tiger Day