“It is time to get serious about wildlife crime.”

World Wildlife Day not only offers a good opportunity to celebrate beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora. The day helps raise awareness of conservation and its many benefits to people as well. It also reminds us to step up the urgent fight against wildlife crime, with its wide-ranging environmental, economic, and social impacts.

World Wildlife Day 2015 poster (wwf.org)

On December 20, 2013, the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 3 as World Wildlife Day. It commemorates the day when the nations of the world adopted the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1973. CITES oversees international trade, attempting to prevent human actions that may threaten the survival of wildlife species.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared today:

“Getting serious about wildlife crime means enrolling the support of all sections of society involved in the production and consumption of wildlife products, which are widely used as medicines, food, building materials, furniture, cosmetics, clothing and accessories….

Combating this crime is not only essential for conservation efforts and sustainable development; it will contribute to achieving peace and security in troubled regions where conflicts are fueled by these illegal activities…. Once [only] an emerging threat, wildlife and forest crime has transformed into one of the largest transnational organized criminal activities alongside drug trafficking, arms, and trafficking in human beings.”

Paul Rosolie wrote an elegant tribute to wildlife in the Huffington Post: “In celebration of World Wildlife Day, let us remember that wild animals have made us who we are. They are essential to our foundation, to our very existence.”

World Wildlife Day logo (twitter)In keeping with that spirit, here’s a selection of amazing photographs that people posted on twitter today in recognition of our Earth cohabitants. (No copyrights given, all found on twitter March 3, 2015.)

Bears (twitter)

Turtle (twitter)

Rhinoceri (twitter)

Red toad (twitter)

Owls (twitter)

Dolphins (twitter)

Bustard (twitter)

Tree frog (twitter)

Elephant and baby at sunset (twitter)

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