World Wildlife Day 2017
Celebrated on 3 March every year, World Wildlife Day is a way to recognise the importance of wildlife in the wider ecosystem, and a chance to illuminate successes and challenges related to wildlife around the globe.
CapeNature’s mandate of protecting biodiversity in the Western Cape includes protection of not only the Cape Floral Kingdom, which understandably gets a lot of attention, but also the province’s diverse wildlife. As an organisation, we encourage protection of wildlife on a number of fronts, including prosecuting biodiversity crimes and protecting endangered wildlife on our nature reserves and on private land.
The Western Cape has a high level of endemism, and that includes many of the wildlife species in the province. CapeNature does a vast amount of work with various endangered species. One of our key conservation icons is the Geometric tortoise, a species we profiled last year due to it’s marker as a conservation case study of sorts.
Conservation management was also seen in action in 2016 during CapeNature’s first Cape mountain zebra capture and translocation operation that took place from the 19th to the 22nd of September in and around the De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Overberg.
This active conservation management action was done in an attempt to improve the resilience and growth of this iconic Western Cape species by activating some key meta-population management interventions within the Western Cape. This is part of CapeNature’s ongoing efforts to conserve Cape Mountain Zebra numbers, with the species already having been downgraded on the IUCN red list from endangered to vulnerable in recent years. Click here for more information.
In the past year, CapeNature’s Biodiversity Crimes Unit has been hard at work investigating and prosecuting cases, many of which were related to wildlife trafficking. The recent prosecution of an illegal dog hunter on the West Coast, showed that the Western Cape is not immune to illegal wildlife practices. But it also showed that successful prosecution can be achieved if agencies work together. To find out more about the Biodiversity Crime Unit, click here.
On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March, the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.
World Wildlife Day 2017 encourages youth around the world to rally together to address ongoing major threats to wildlife including habitat change, over-exploitation or illicit trafficking. Youth are the agents of change. In fact, we are already seeing the positive impacts on conservation issues made by some young conservation leaders around the world. If they can help make a change, you can too!
Governments, law makers, enforcement officers, customs officials and park rangers across every region are scaling up their efforts to protect wildlife. It is also up to every citizen, young and old, to protect wildlife and their habitats. We all have a role to play. Our collective conservation actions can be the difference between a species surviving or disappearing.
It’s time for us all to listen to the young voices.