World Wildlife Day, celebrated annually on 3rd March, is a day to raise awareness about the importance of preserving wildlife and their habitat. With the rapidly increasing global biodiversity crisis and thousands of plants and animals facing the risk of extinction, the ecological balance is at stake. Celebrating World Wildlife Day brings people and organisations together on a global scale to protect endangered species. 

The Importance of World Wildlife Day 

There are various reasons why species become endangered, including habitat destruction, hunting, climate change, and pollution. Human activities, such as deforestation, agricultural expansion, and urbanisation, have resulted in the destruction of natural habitats, leaving many species without a place to live. Hunting and poaching have led to the decline of many animal populations, including rhinos, elephants, and tigers. 

In such a situation, World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate all the wild flora and fauna for their contributions to the people and the environment at large. At the same time, the day is a reminder of the urgent efforts needed to step up the fight against wildlife crime and reduce endangered species due to human activities.   

World Wildlife Day 2024 Theme

The theme for World Wildlife Day 2024 is "Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation". The motive behind this theme is to look at how digital tools can help protect endangered animals and wildlife on the whole, and promote legal and sustainable wildlife trade. This includes finding ways for people and animals to live together peacefully in our connected world, both now and in the future. 

How Many Endangered Species Are There?

As per the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the endangered species list includes more than 41,000 species. All of them have been assessed to be under threat of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

As per the IUCN Red List, the endangered species breakdown is 41% amphibians, 37% sharks and rays, 36% reef-building corals, 34% conifers, 26% mammals and 12% birds. 

Here’s a list of a few extinct animals from the past 50 years.

  1. Baiji River Dolphin
  2. Western Black Rhinoceros
  3. Pyrenean Ibex
  4. Golden Toad
  5. Javan Tiger 

These are 5 species that have disappeared and we will never see them again.

Why is preserving endangered species critical? 

Every living thing on the endangered animals list or birds list is as important as us and plays a vital role on this planet. 

Here’s why preserving every organism on the endangered species list is critical.

  • Maintaining an ecological balance

Several animal, bird and microorganism species provide a strong foundation for a healthy and balanced ecosystem. And, when there is even one endangered animal or a species facing the risk of extinction, it is a clear sign that the ecosystem is falling apart and an imminent threat is looming large.  

The loss of every species triggers a disruption and often leads to the loss of other species within the ecosystem. And, as humans, we greatly depend on a healthy ecosystem for survival. So, if we fail to protect the endangered species of birds, plants and other land and marine animals, it will have severe repercussions and put our environment at risk.    

  • Medical benefits

It is not just the endangered species of birds and animals that are on the verge of extinction. Several species of plants are also endangered. According to medical research, about 50% of the most prescribed medications are derived from a plant or other natural product.  

Unfortunately, despite the rapid technological advancements, only about 5% of the known plant species are tested for their medicinal uses, and thousands of plants are yet to be identified. These plants could play a vital role in offering solutions to several diseases. Therefore, persevering endangered species is critical, or we may lose them from nature’s medical cabinet forever.

  • Boosts economy

Apart from providing pivotal services in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, the endangered species of animals and birds help boost the economy. Over the past decade or two, the ecotourism industry has gained immense popularity worldwide, generating billions of dollars. 

It is estimated that avid birdwatchers alone spend about USD 41 billion annually on travel and equipment. Although no one is talking about it, the less we care about protecting wildlife and plants, the more we are at risk of losing an important sector of the economy. 

  • For the benefit of future generations

Imagine our future generation of kids learning about tigers, sharks, turtles, and many other species only in books and stories or on the internet! Wouldn’t that be heart-breaking? So, for the sake of our future generations and to give them the joy of seeing the animals and plants we have now, it is important that we preserve our endangered species.  

How can you contribute to saving endangered species? 

While Governments worldwide and various international organisations are doing their bit to conserve endangered species in marines, animals, birds, and plants and protect them from becoming extinct, as an individual, you too can contribute to this noble cause. 

If you are wondering what to do, here are a few suggestions: 

  • Protect the wildlife habitat

Loss of natural habitat is one of the significant causes that has sent many endangered species in India on the cusp of extinction. You can do your bit by volunteering with a local wildlife or environment protection organisation to preserve the natural habitat for wildlife. Raise your voice against deforestation and forest degradation. It can have a significant domino effect in creating a safe space for wildlife.  

  • Educate others

Many people lack awareness about the potential dangers that many species are facing. Even if you cannot contribute directly to preserving endangered species, you can still raise awareness of the issue amongst your peers or in your locality and educate them about the importance of saving these beautiful creations of God.  

  • Avoid using pesticides and herbicides

Over the years, the use of pesticides and herbicides has increased manifold. However, people don’t realise the ill effects of this practice on nature, land, and animals. Several wildlife species are vulnerable to pollutants like pesticides that can build up in the water bodies and soil, putting the lives of the various animals at risk.  

  • Be a smart tourist 

When you travel anywhere, you may purchase souvenirs or memorabilia to remind you of the good times you had on your trip. But, do you know the sale and purchase of such items are a vital cause of putting wildlife at risk because these items could be made of animal products?  

So, the next time you purchase anything, avoid products made of animals like rhino horns, elephant tusks, crocodile skin, tiger skin, etc.   

Choose to stay at eco-friendly resorts  

Many resorts in India claim to be eco-friendly but don’t practise sustainable methods. But the resorts offered by Club Mahindra are an exception. Apart from giving you the novelty of staying in different types of rooms, like a floating cottage in Ashtamudi in Kerala, boat houses in Kashmir and premium tents in Kanha, Uttarakhand, these resorts recognise the importance of sustainability and are committed to preserving ecological integrity.   

From practising organic farming to rainwater harvesting within the resort and having sustainable waste management and recycling systems in place, Club Mahindra resorts have been contributing to the environment in several ways. Choosing to stay in such resorts is also a great way to contribute to preserving nature and endangered species of plants and animals. 

So, with World Wildlife Day just around the corner, pledge your support to this beautiful cause and be a responsible traveller!

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About Club Mahindra

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.

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