Today we’re celebrating the first-ever World Wildlife Day, a day to recognize the importance of wildlife in our societies and to organize to stop the illegal wildlife trade. World Wildlife Day comes on the heels of significant progress, amidst a crisis that threatens some of the world’s iconic species.
Here in London, Her Majesty’s Government deserve kudos for hosting the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade last month, where world leaders issued a strong declaration recognizing the terrible environmental and societal impact of this illicit market and committing to ending it. You can read that here.
Back in Washington last month, President Obama released the National Strategy for Combatting Wildlife Trafficking, a comprehensive response to the explosion in global wildlife trafficking that is decimating species and undermining societies. Check it out here.
One of the very concrete parts of this strategy is a new U.S. ban on commercial trade in elephant ivory, with limited exceptions. That ban comes just three months after the Department of the Interior destroyed the United States’ entire stock of confiscated contraband ivory — totalling nearly six tons, which John Kerry talks about here.
You can get involved, too. One way of engaging through social media is to join the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in a Thunderclap, by following this link and pre-scheduling updates to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumbler, creating a massive social media moment at 19:00 GMT.
Finally, check out this PSA from one of my one of my favourite wildlife activists, Jackie Chan: