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World Wildlife Conservation Day

Today, December 4th, is World Wildlife Conservation Day. It's a day dedicated to the protection of wildlife across the planet and tackle the issue of wildlife trafficking. This problem requires action by all if we want to end the illegal trade of wildlife.

The demand for illegal ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts continues to skyrocket, and dangerous criminal networks continue to ravage wild species' rightful homes. Wildlife crime is estimated to be worth $10 billion annually to criminals and comes at a cost of losing some of the world's best-loved animals.

World Wildlife Conservation Day was started by the US Secretary of State in 2012 to raise awareness and encourage the public to learn more about conservation efforts across the globe. During the "Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation: A Call to Action" event held on November 8th, 2012, Secretary Hillary Clinton provided a strategy to address this worldwide problem. It may take years to fully accomplish, but every bit helps along the way.

Probably the most prominent example of a wild animal that is endangered by poachers is the elephant. Although international ivory trading has been illegal since 1990, the number of elephants in the world is still declining due to the continued high demand for ivory.

Here are more of the shocking facts:

  • The world's wildlife population decreased approximately 52 percent in size between 1970 and 2010.

  • About 30,000 species per year are being driven to extinction (about 3 per hour!)

  • Ninety-six elephants are killed each day in Africa

  • Only 450,000 elephants and 25,000 rhinos remain in Africa due to poaching. If this continues, these species will be extinct from Africa in the next 20 years.

Additionally, it's not just the animals that are in danger. Park rangers are killed on a regular basis by poachers, and local towns and villages suffer terrible economic damage once enough wildlife is wiped out, in turn causing them to lose their place in wildlife tourism. That is something these communities depend on, and they lose their quality of life if poachers continue to threaten their livelihood.

Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Many scientists around the world are working vigorously to save wildlife. The Cheetah Conservation Fund works to save cheetahs in the wild. The Wildlife Conservation Society supports rangers and helps government agencies to manage rangers' patrols by using the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART). They also help protect elephants at key sites though intelligence networks and aerial surveillance. There are many more organizations that actively participate in protecting the world's wildlife.

Want to start making a difference? Here's how you can contribute to World Wildlife Conservation Day:

  1. Take the pledge to help fight to save our planet's endangered wildlife and spread the word! It is a perfect opportunity to learn more about conservation and how to become a responsible consumer to help stop criminal wildlife trade. They are almost at their 500,000 signatures goal! Sign it here, and encourage your friends and family to sign it as well:

  2. You can also take action by making a charitable donation to the World Wildlife Fund. 100% of all donations will be put towards training and equipping the rangers who are the wildlife protectors!

  3. Visit a national park to support wildlife efforts, promote environmentally-friendly tourism, and enjoy the beauty of nature!

  4. Make a point to stop buying foods that include unsustainable ingredients such as palm oil, which has an impact on deforestation and decreased biodiversity. Eating palm oil is especially not good for you, as it is high in saturated fats!

  5. Help our local Virginia wildlife by adopting the right conservation practices. Create your own backyard wildlife habitat with a backyard brush pile, nest boxes, and rock piles. You can even do your part in planting native plants, creating natural shelters, and providing water sources. Learn more from the Wildlife Center of Virginia at

Let's all do our part to protect our precious planet! Happy #WildlifeConservationDay.



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