Messages for World Wildlife Day 2022

Message from António Guterres, Secretary-General of United Nations

Each year, on World Wildlife Day, we celebrate the beauty and wonder of our planet’s wild plants and animals. Why do we care about wildlife? Beyond a moral duty to sustain the Earth, humanity depends on the essential products and services that nature provides, from food and freshwater to pollution control and carbon storage. By damaging the natural world, we threaten our own well-being.

Today, all around the world, wildlife is in peril. A quarter of species face the threat of extinction, in large part because we have destroyed nearly half of the ecosystems in which they live. We must act now to reverse this trend.

This year’s World Wildlife Day highlights the importance of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030). Ecosystems are only healthy when their component species thrive. If just one keystone species disappears, an entire ecosystem can start to decline and die. This is why actions to protect individual species must go hand-in-hand with restoring entire ecosystems.

On this World Wildlife Day let us commit to preserving our invaluable and irreplaceable wildlife for the benefit and delight of current and future generations.

 

Message from Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP

 

The black rhino, the Maui dolphin, the Alabama sturgeon, the orangutan. What do these magnificent creatures have in common? Well sadly, in less than a decade, they could be extinct. This year, World Wildlife Day focuses on recovering key species for ecosystem restoration. Because when we protect and conserve the planet in which these species live, we safeguard not just their futures, we safeguard ours too.

So, on World Wildlife Day, let's commit to address the many threats facing wildlife. Let's make better use of land and sea so we don't erode the wild spaces even further. Let's tackle climate change and pollution, both of which are a threat to all life on the planet. Let’s use natural resources sustainably, so that wildlife and the spaces they inhabit truly thrive and as we do so, let’s put on the brakes on illegal wildlife trade which costs between 7 to 23 billion dollars every year.

This might seem like a tall order, but not... See more

Message from Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General of CITES

 

World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to think about the plants and animals we share the planet with and consider what they do for us - and what we should be doing for them. Our wildlife gives us food, cleans our air and provides us with fuel and shelter. We could not survive without them, yet their survival is threatened by us. This day is a chance to celebrate the partnerships that are working to re-establish the natural balance between species, while at the same time acknowledging the challenges we still face to stop irreversible change. Our actions have brought us to this critical point; it is only by working together that we will find a way to conserve and sustainably use the diverse wildlife that supports us. 

The fates of individual species and entire ecosystems are intimately linked. This year’s celebration of World Wildlife Day focuses on how we can protect key species – species that play a particularly vital part in shaping... See more

Message from Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary-General of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

 

Some species are so critically important to the health and resilience of the ecosystems that their absence greatly affects that ecosystem's integrity. Beavers, for example, are mighty ecosystems engineers. Meticulous stewards of their lands, they have a close revolutionary relationship with the plants in their environment. Each species is interdependent on one another, each contributes to the ecosystem resilience. Beavers help modify their territory by providing essential components for restoring riparian corridors, thus securing the foundation of resilient ecosystems crucial to the mitigation of climate and land-use changes. 

2021-2030 is the UN Decade on Ecosystems Restoration, with the goal to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide. Restoring ecosystems is not only fundamental to achieving biodiversity conservation, but is essential for ensuring water and food security, eradicating... See more

Message from Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary-General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

 

World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate wildlife and nature on which we all depend. From fresh water and food to medicines and carbon storage, we all rely on ecosystems and their component species for our health and prosperity.

But today, over a million of those species face threat of extinction. When we lose species, entire ecosystems can decline and disappear. At the same time, we need healthy ecosystems to ensure that species can survive and thrive.

The urgency to better understand species’ relationship with ecosystems is shown starkly by wetlands. Wetlands are home to 40% of all global species. But since 1970 we have lost 35% of global wetlands. Today, one in three freshwater species and 25% of all wetlands species face extinction, including water birds, fresh water-dependent mammals, marine turtles and coral-reef building species. 

This year, World Wildlife Day focuses on recovering key species for ecosystem... See more

Message from Dr Monique Eloit, Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health

 

The disappearance of key species can destroy an entire ecosystem. Wolves are a great example. Wolves feed on ungulates, such as moose, deer and wild boars. The ecological role of the wolf includes controlling the population size of other wild animals, and removing carcasses from the environment. Consequently, they may play a role in regulating the spill over of diseases, such as Lyme disease and African swine fever, from wild animals to humans and livestock. Wildlife such as wolves are the keystones of functional and healthy ecosystems. 

In the past 50 years, the population size of vertebrate species has decreased by 68%. 40% of amphibians, 25% of mammals, and 14% of birds are in danger of extinction. The biggest threat for wildlife is overexploitation, which includes wildlife trade. The wildlife trade represents one of the biggest menaces for wild animal conservation, and also for the appearance of emerging diseases, putting ecosystems and one’s... See more

Message from Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary of IPBES

Our development, our security and our quality of life all depend on the continued health of our natural environment. 

The permanent loss of any species or any ecosystem has repercussions well beyond our current ability to understand – because all threads in the web of life are connected, and allowing even one to be eliminated can cause the others to rapidly unravel. 

One of the most important messages from the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment Report was that extinctions and the degradation of nature’s contributions to people matter, not only as issues of environmental and ethical concern, but also on a very practical everyday level for all people as well. 

Worsening land degradation, caused by human economic activity, is already undermining the well-being of two fifths of all people on Earth. By 2050, the combination of land degradation and climate change is predicted to reduce global crop yields by as much as 50% in some regions. 

The recovery of species and the restoration of ecosystems make sense by every measure – on average, the benefits of restoration are ten times higher than the costs.      

It’s vital that we do more to understand these cascading interconnections. The planned publication in July this year of the IPBES Assessment Report... See more

Message from Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General

Of the 142,577 species so far assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, over 40,000 are threatened with extinction. While each of these species is invaluable, some are particularly powerful allies in our efforts to stem the destruction of nature. As today’s World Wildlife Day theme reminds us, recovering key species can catalyse the broader restoration of nature and long-term environmental and social benefits.

Conserving key ‘umbrella’ species, such as large carnivores, can help protect surrounding wildlife, stabilise the climate and support human communities. IUCN’s Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme, for example, benefits people and habitats while increasing tiger abundance and range. Thanks to these conservation efforts, 6,717 km2 of forest is under active restoration and over 81,778 people have seen improvements to cooking facilities, construction, agriculture and ecotourism. 

Species recovery thus has an important role to play in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. By conserving species that help protect entire ecosystems, we can reverse the alarming threats to nature evidenced by the Red List. By doing so, we will conserve the web of life that underpins our own livelihoods and wellbeing. 

 

Message from Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International

 

Greetings from Moncoto, the Democratic Republic of Congo, a village at the border of the amazing Salonga National Park just behind me. The largest forested protected area in an African, treasure box of biodiversity. 

When we think of wildlife we think of the amazing diversity of species, of colours, of shapes, adaptations, behaviours.. But not so much about the roles wildlife play in the resilience, the stability and the health of ecosystems they live in. And also, facilitating the restoration and regeneration of what we, humans, have degraded.  

In the last few days we have visited and incredibly intact tropical forest and watched much wildlife, experienced the amazing culture of the Batwa, local Indigenous communities, and seen a lot of forest elephant tracks. Forest elephants are thinning out the younger trees, making space for larger trees to grow, making the forest more resilient, more productive. But... See more

Message from Richard Scobey, Executive Director for TRAFFIC

 

The fates of individual species, entire ecosystems and the health of the planet are intrinsically linked. And that is why ensuring that wildlife trade is not a threat to the conservation of nature lies at the heart of TRAFFIC’s work.

Illegal and unsustainable consumption is one of the top global drivers of species decline. And this isn’t just something that happens elsewhere in the world. Unsustainable use of wild products makes its way into all of our lives; in our medicines, in the cosmetics we use and the food that we eat.

The work of TRAFFIC focuses on preventing the unsustainable use of species like tigers, rhinos, elephants and sharks, as well as the lesser-known, but just as important species such as pangolins, Asian songbirds, seahorses, fish, and of course, wild plants. The loss of these species and the many other we focus on can have a widespread impact on the survival of global ecosystems.

By working and partnering with... See more