World Wildlife Day 2021: what’s it all about?

World Wildlife day is coming up in just over a month on 3rd March, so we’re sharing some reasons for why you should circle this date in your diary!

What is World Wildlife Day?

3rd March 1973 was the day that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed, and so this date was devoted by the UN General Assembly to celebrating and raising awareness of the world’s wildlife and plants.

The campaign is now led by CITES, with each year celebrating a different theme focusing on various aspects of global conservation.

What is the theme for 2021?

This year, World Wildlife Day will be focusing on “Forests and livelihoods: sustaining people and planet”. This theme aims to raise awareness of the people and wildlife that rely on forests to survive and support their livelihoods. Strictly speaking that means the entire world, but in particular the focus this year will be on the communities who make their living from resources found in the forests and woodlands across the world.

This year will look at the relationship between these communities and the forests they live in, and will learn from their traditional knowledge in order to build a sustainable framework that protects both their livelihoods, and forest ecosystems. Given that these communities have managed these ecosystems for centuries, it is vital that their voices are heard.

In having these conversations, the aim is to create a sustainable model of interaction between humanity and one of our most important providers of natural resources: forests. The model will be in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and will incorporate an approach that aims to: end poverty (Goal 1), end hunger (Goal 2), ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns (Goal 12), involve climate action (Goal 13), and support life on land (Goal 15).

How does Elephant Family’s conservation work align with this theme?

Elephant Family works with organisations who place the protection and restoration of forest ecosystems and the livelihoods of rural communities at the heart of their conservation efforts.

For example, in partnership with the Nature Conservation Foundation in India we are reducing the reliance of rural communities on firewood collected from the forest by providing them with alternative fuel sources such as cookstoves. This protects forest ecosystems from being destroyed, and thereby restores vital wildlife habitats. Not only this, but the project also generates increased income for rural communities as they are able to work instead of spending time collecting firewood.

We are delighted that this year’s World Wildlife Day theme is turning the attention to forest-dwelling communities and hope that this will give a voice to those people who are most integral to the protection of these vital ecosystems.

As we get closer to World Wildlife Day 2021, we’ll be sharing more on the importance of protecting forest ecosystems and shedding light on Elephant Family’s support of conservation efforts to achieve this.