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World Wildlife Day 2017. The future of biodiversity is in young people’s hands

La giornata, dedicata alla lotta dei crimini contro la biodiversità e alla sua salvaguardia, è incentrata quest’anno sulla protezione degli elefanti, sempre più minacciati dal commercio di avorio.

Admiring an animal in the wild is always a touching and exciting experience. In that precise moment, superfluity disappears, time seems to stop or even go back to a time when the world was covered with forests and humanity hadn’t yet subjected nature to its will.

Okapi
On World Wildlife Day, we celebrate the okapi, a bizarre and mysterious mammal that lives in River Congo’s rainforests

The sixth extinction

Our children, however, won’t have the pleasure of admiring numerous species, and it’s our fault. Lions, whales, frogs, elephants, rhinoceroses, and tunas are just some of the numerous species threatened with extinction. According to a study published in the journal Science Advances, the current extinction rate is about 100 times higher than normal levels and at least three quarters of animal species could become extinct in just a few generations.

World Wildlife Day

In order to contribute to fighting this mass extinction and celebrating our planet’s extraordinary biodiversity, the United Nations established World Wildlife Day in 2013. The day coincides with the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), signed in Washington on 3 March 1973. The objective is highlighting wildlife crimes, including poaching and the illegal trade in animals and plants, and strengthening efforts to fight them, as well as raising people’s awareness on the multitude of benefits nature conservation offers us.

Young voices

The 2017 edition, under the theme “Listen to young voices”, aims to engage and empower the youth, encouraging them to face the issues linked to conservation and biodiversity. The United Nations reminds that almost one fourth of the world population is 10 to 24 years old, and the future of our planet’s flora and fauna is in their hands.  

Celacanto che nuota accanto a un sub
Before being rediscovered in 1938, the coelacanth was considered extinct

We should try to give up on the utilitarian vision with which we were taught to look at animals and plants, and get off our high horse to try to understand the peculiar beauty of each species, rather than looking down on them. We still have a lot to learn.

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