Everyday should be World Wildlife Day
We must appreciate wildlife. We must celebrate wildlife. And we must champion wildlife.
Let this occasion—World Wildlife Day—remind us of that.
Let it also remind us that organizations that have taken the task to protect wildlife—whether we support broader conservation or attend to the plight of individual animals—need to put aside our differences and unite as a powerful force.
IFAW is excited to be a part of this Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) initiative, which is embracing the intrinsic value of wildlife rather than merely treating it as a commodity of trade.
After all, 41 years ago today, the CITES Convention was born as a real conservation treaty based on precaution, as important then as it is now. IFAW will continue to support CITES and other conventions to champion good wildlife conservation, not causing or contributing to species depletion or degradation nor involving cruel and inhumane treatment of animals.
This worldwide push to educate people and spread awareness of wildlife issues reflects the importance of our advocacy as a whole.
More specifically, it emboldens the long-running and now far-reaching work of our Animal Action Education.
This critical program of ours started humbly in 1993, as Animal Action Week in the UK. Over the years, it has grown into a program that develops curricula for communities and school systems, in some cases country-wide, touching more than 5 million educators and young people along the way.
Our materials reach 20 different nations and are printed in a dozen languages and regional dialects including English, Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Russian, Arabic, Afrikaans, Hindi, and Braille.
These educational resources are entirely free for primary and middle level educators and are available in print, on DVD, and online. Materials include standards-based teaching guides, lesson plans, worksheets, videos, student magazines, posters and interactive activities. Some focus on a particular species or group of animals such as elephants, tigers, marine wildlife and cats and dogs.
It grows each and every year, and the feedback we get from those who have benefited from the wisdom is heartwarming.
What’s more, the effects are felt among people: Researchers have found a correlation between cruelty to animals and violence towards people and that integrating humane education into the classroom can lead to a decrease in school violence and bullying.
What has been done to wildlife over the centuries—through exploitation (which continues today with wildlife trade), habitat depletion, and other deleterious actions—should not define us. If we provide future generations the knowledge and an appreciation of the value and beauty of our wildlife, those generations will ensure that we celebrate wildlife everyday.
For more information about IFAW efforts to protect wildlife around the world, visit our campaign page.