In Our Hands | World Wildlife Day | Courage and Conservation


I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. ~ John Muir

Congratulations to the The International Film Festival Winners! The IEFF has awarded the film that most effectively reveals current issues and challenges–most notably the ivory poaching crisis–and communicates solutions to the environmental,  social-economic and sustainability issues facing elephant conservation including reducing the demand for illegal ivory in the destination countries.

Finding beauty in the power to choose and take urgent action “The future of wildlife is in our hands” theme reinforces the inextricable link between wildlife, people and sustainable development. It is the responsibility of each generation to safeguard wildlife for the following generation. It also imparts the pressing need for national action to ensure the survival in the wild of both charismatic and lesser known species.

The secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in collaboration with other relevant United Nations organizations, facilitates the implementation of World Wildlife Day.

With 182 Member States, CITES remains one of the world’s most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora.

“Time is running out” to end wildlife poaching that threatens some of the world’s most iconic species, such as elephants, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today as the United Nations marked World Wildlife Day.

Urging global efforts to protect this essential natural heritage for the current and future generations, much more needs to be done by key actors on all continents and across sectors, he said in a message, stressing that “the future of wildlife is in our hands,” echoing the theme of this year’s World Day.

“For too long, the world has been witness to heart-breaking images of the mass slaughter of elephants for their tusks,” he said.

Under the theme, The future of wildlife is in our hands, African and Asian elephants are a main focus of the 2016 World Wildlife Day. Countries around the world are encouraged to highlight species of wild animals and plants from their own countries, adapting the global theme to suit.

To combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, it is essential to address both the demand and supply of illegal wildlife products through agreed goals and targets and international instruments, such as the CITES, he added.

In his message, John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General, noted that the current wildlife crisis is not a natural phenomenon, such as a drought, a flood or a cyclone. “It is the direct result of people’s actions,” he declared.

Across every continent, he noted, governments and citizens are tackling both demand and supply, making wildlife crime much riskier and far less profitable. “We are beginning to turn the tide on wildlife trafficking,” he said, adding, however, that much still remains to be done, and a collective success will rely upon the individual actions taken by each.

UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said that the disappearance of individual species threatens biodiversity, and by extension, the life support systems on the planet. The Day is “a call to become more informed and more involved in stopping this crime against nature, communities and future generations,” he said.

Braulio F. de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said wildlife is also the basis of biodiversity. Biodiversity in the wild is just as important to human wellbeing as biodiversity in plants and animals used for human consumption. Wildlife is incremental to forestry, fishery and tourism livelihoods around the world. Quite simply, biodiversity keep ecosystems functional providing the ecosystem services to allow people to survive, get enough food, and make a living.

“The conservation and sustainable use of wildlife is therefore a critical component of sustainable development, and should be part of a comprehensive approach to achieving poverty eradication, food security and sustainable livelihoods,” he said.

The International Elephant Film Festival is jointly organized by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) as part of the program of World Wildlife Day 2016 to raise global awareness of the various challenges facing the African and Asian elephants. Winners were announced on March 3rd, the 2016 World Wildlife Day, at the UN Headquarters in New York–winners.html


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