Celebrate World Endangered Species Day on 21 May 2021 no matter where you are on Earth.
Due to Covid-19, this year’s events will be mainly online. The aim is to celebrate, raise awareness, learn, engage with each other and have fun.
Who would not want to celebrate the diverse inhabitants of Earth, discover who most needs our help and find out more about what we can all do? If the pandemic has taught us anything as a global species it must be that humans in modern times, regardless of wealth, know what it is like to feel under threat.
We would like to take this opportunity to send love around the world to all those who have lost so much during this pandemic, and to thank all those who have risked their own safety to help others. Although World Endangered Species Day is a day of celebration, it is also a day of reflection on what we have already lost and what we are on the verge of losing.
Photo by Michael from Pixabay
41,415 species are now on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, and 16,306 are threatened with extinction – an increase of 16,118 since 2020.
One of the most widely recognised and endangered animals facing extinction is the Asian elephant. One of the biggest single causes for the rapid decline in the numbers of these magnificent creatures is poaching.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), each year approximately 20,000 elephants are illegally killed for their tusks. An increasing demand for elephant ivory has fuelled the poaching epidemic. This abhorrent trade threatens the existence of this beloved mammal and has huge ecological consequences while also threatening the lives of local people.
Sadly, the list of endangered species feels endless. We cannot shy away from the reality so please take a moment to read this list:
This list is not definitive. Some species come under the critically endangered, some are labelled endangered, and others are listed under vulnerable.
Although evolution and natural disasters have contributed to this incredibly fragile state, it is without doubt that the biggest threat to these species is mankind.
The loss of the polar bear’s natural habitat due to climate change is threatening the existence of this iconic bear. The polar bear falls within the vulnerable category and the increasing speed at which ice is melting means that serious attention is required now. This article cannot possibly cover every species so to discover more about cause and effect look up the WWF. Familiarising ourselves with these things makes global news more relatable. And we need to face the blatant truth. These bears may not live in your country of residence but as indisputable as the fact of Mr Trump denying climate change, their disappearance from existence will have a global impact.
It has been widely reported that the extinction of bees will result in the end of humankind. But perhaps lesser known is that the extinction of planet Earth’s species means: “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide”, as stated in the United Nations’ report. The effect of all of this overwhelming.
Yet animals have been used and abused to entertain, make money and sell products for decades.
Chimpanzees have been performers for decades if not centuries. This endangered species has been used and is still used to make money. The Jane Goodall Institute UK highlights that the famous chimpanzee smile is a result of fear. It would be easy to assume that this would not impact on extinction; however, Jane Goodall points out:
“European circuses or sideshows may well travel with chimpanzee or orangutan performers who were born in the wild. Thus, the use of apes (and other endangered species) in entertainment does represent a drain on rapidly decreasing wild populations.”
This is not allowed in North America due to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Wake-up Europe – and we say this as Europeans.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly negatively impacted mental health around the world. Humans are naturally pack animals, yet we have been isolated, divided and afraid. Positive Psychology reported in February this year that the link between nature and recovery is strong and globally accepted. The natural beauty of well-known species and lesser-known creatures amazes us, intrigues us, educates us and so much more. The emotions that nature evokes in us are tangible. Especially today, let’s take a moment to consider what these great species give to us and take an opportunity, no matter how small, to give back to them.
Those in power around the globe have taken various actions to halt and reverse the decreasing numbers of many species.
CITES is an agreement between governments to regulate or ban international trade in endangered species. The Convention includes 182 states and the European Union.
But what can we do to help?
It is always worth contacting your elected representatives and any potential representatives to enquire what their beliefs and actions are for the safeguarding of our endangered species.
When you shop, work and party, look at your habits to see if anything can be done to improve your carbon footprint. After all, climate change is a massive contributor to diminishing numbers of species around the world. When travelling, search for eco-friendly hotels that are committed to the cause. Look up Charistay for recommendations.
For parents, guardians and teachers there is a ton of fun project ideas online. Learning goes a long way to changing habits.
Look up the events for World Endangered Species Day on May 21 and remember we can have fun while helping a great cause at the same time.
For events specific to your area enter your postal or zip code here, but remember Covid-19 restrictions may still be in place so online events will replace them. However, this means those of you who cannot travel to events can still play a big part. We are so up for the Pollinator Party! Enjoy!
environment, nature, sustainability, sustainable travel, United Nations, wildlife