Started in 2006, Endangered Species Day is “a celebration of wildlife and wild places” intended to promote the “importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions people can take to help protect them”.
Every year on the third Friday in May — and throughout the month — zoos, aquariums, parks, botanical gardens, wildlife refuges, museums, schools, community centers, conservation groups and other organizations hold tours, speaker presentations, exhibits, children’s activities and more to commemorate the Day.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, there was a 52 percent decrease in wildlife populations between 1970 and 2010. In addition, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, 150 – 200 species are now becoming extinct every day.
Amongst the causes for the massive loss of wildlife are habitat destruction, poaching and climate change. A study recently published in the journal Science indicates that climate change alone is placing one in six animal and plant species at risk of extinction.
Underlying all of the causes is the growth of our own population. It is no coincidence that while wildlife populations decreased by more than half between 1970 and 2010, our own population more than doubled. As our patron Sir David Attenborough has said, “All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people and harder — and ultimately impossible — to solve with ever more people.”
There are many ways in which individuals can help to protect endangered species. We urge you to do so — not only their future but our own is at stake.