Environment

World Wildlife Day 2022: Make ethical tourism choices, be part of solution

Wildlife loss is attributable to several causes but by far the biggest culprits are habitat destruction and over-exploitation of species, driven by our exploding numbers and unsustainable consumption.

ByN Munal Meitei

Updated 2 Mar 2022, 4:57 pm

Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)
Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)

We protect wildlife because they inspire us. We also focus our efforts on prime species—like big cats, rhinos, whales and marine turtles—whose protection supports the survival of other species and their landscapes. Wildlife is essential for the healthy functioning of our ecosystems. But wildlife loss is happening on an alarming rate and declining unprecedentedly. We must take transformative action to address this crisis now. 

March 3, the day of the adoption of CITES in 1963, which protect 5,800 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants is celebrated as World Wildlife Day every year to cherish the planet's wild animals and plants and raise awareness about flora and fauna. The theme for this year is "Recovering key species for ecosystem Restoration", seeking on the crucial need to reverse the future of the most critically endangered species, to assist the rehabilitation of their habitats and ecosystems, and to built a more sustainable future for humanity. This day also remind us of our responsibilities towards our world and the lifeforms we share with.

World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to recognise many beautiful and diverse species as well as to promote awareness of the numerous advantages that their conservation bring to humans and to combat wildlife crime and human-induced species extinction, which have far-reaching economic, environmental, and societal implications.

The world is full of amazing creatures from every possible medium, from the birds of the air to the majestic whales of the sea abounds in all unusual and unexpected places.

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WWF's latest Living Planet Report estimates that we have lost 68 per cent of all vertebrate wildlife populations since 1970. That's more than half of all birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish gone in just 50 years. During that time, our population has been doubled to 7.9 billion today. A German study found that flying insects, including pollinators around the world have crashed by three-quarters since 1989.

In its landmark 2019 report, IPBES warned that one million species are now at risk of disappearing and according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 41 per cent of amphibians, 25 per cent of mammals, 34 per cent of conifers, 13 per cent of birds, 31 per cent of sharks and rays, 33 per cent of reef-building corals, and 27 per cent of crustaceans are threatened with extinction.

Wildlife loss is attributable to several causes but by far the biggest culprits are habitat destruction and over-exploitation of species, driven by our exploding numbers and unsustainable consumption. Wildlife isn’t just something that we passively observe; it’s part of our world, and something we need to care for.

Earth is home to many different species of plants and animals. It is this rich diversity, and the delicate balance between all the different forms of life, that makes life possible on our planet. Each and every species is equally important. One of the aims of World Wildlife Day is to raise awareness of these facts.

We need to live more sustainable lives and to learn to respect nature and its wildlife. Losing wildlife means losing opportunities to improve our lives. About 75 per cent of our terrestrial environment and 66 per cent of marine environments are impacted by our activities and we have noticed the destruction in our personal lives also via the media.

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As we step out of our homes, we may feel like entering into the homes of many other animals. Our gardens, streets, public parks, river banks and roadsides may not be the home for our iconic species but they are the homes for many other animals and birds. By protecting our local natural spaces, we protect and preserve for the plethora of wildlife. This give us the opportunity 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 the migratory birds in our wetlands in the winter months. The joy of seeing life in all of its forms from the new growth on the spring 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 and noses every day. It is these animals that need our support. They need our respect to ensure their habitats be protected from destruction. Across the world, and mainly in Asia, wild animals are being taken from the wild, torn away from their family groups, or bred in captivity, to be used in the tourism entertainment industry. Forced to endure painful and intensive training to make them perform, and to interact with people, they live their entire lives in captive conditions that cannot meet their needs. A life in tourist entertainment is no life for a wild animal. It is inherently cruel and abusive.

Wild animals belong in the wild. We’re calling for an end to the abuse of wild animals used in tourism entertainment. Make ethical tourism choices and be part of the solution. Avoid wildlife abusement parks and boycott the travel companies that promote and/or sell tickets to them, and don't indulge in animal tortures.

Future of wildlife conservation depends on the action and values of people. Local authorities and governments are in the best position to reach out to citizens and involve, enable and inspire local stakeholders. Cultural diversity and biodiversity (Wild Life) exist hand in hand. By facilitating a deeper bond between the environment and the mankind, the world’s Wildlife can be protected and conserved for the future. Therefore, with coming of the World Wildlife Day, 2022, let’s not harm the Wildlife and before that, think twice for an earth without the Wildlife.

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First published:2 Mar 2022, 2:39 pm

Tags:

wildlife protectionAnimal AbuseWorld Wildlife Day 2022

N Munal Meitei

N Munal Meitei

Range Forest Officer, Kakching, Manipur

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