Biodiversity & Environment
WWF Conservation Drive on World Wildlife Day
- 04 Mar 2021
- 3 min read
Why in News
Recently, on the occasion of World Wildlife Day (3rd March), the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) called on multiple stakeholders, including the European Union (EU), to save Europe’s last old-growth forests.
- WWF was established in 1961 and is headquartered at Gland, Switzerland. Its mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.
- Europe’s Old-Growth Forests (OGF) are primitive forests that are dominated by natural processes. They include virgin, near-virgin, long-untouched forests by humans, eg: Białowieża Forest in Poland.
- To date, 3,50,000 hectares (ha) of old-growth and virgin forests had been identified in Central and Southeastern Europe. Of these, only 2,80,000 ha were legally protected.
- The largest areas of surviving OGF and forest habitats in Europe (outside of Russia) were found primarily in Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia and Bulgaria.
- Ecological Importance:
- They were home to Europe’s largest surviving large carnivore populations, as well as thousands of other species of flora and fauna.
- These forests rendered important ecosystem services such as filtering and storing freshwater to regulating the climate and were thus essential to people and to the economy.
- Increasing pressure on forests from both unsustainable legal and illegal logging, as well as the impacts of climate change.
- The fragmentation and destruction of forest habitats meant that both animals and disease vectors were inadvertently coming into more frequent contact and conflict with humans.
- Steps that can be Taken:
- Developing and promoting sustainable compensation mechanisms.
- Developing forest-based local green business and investment schemes to support sustainable development of such forests.
World Wildlife Day
- It is celebrated every year on the 3rd of March, since 2013. The date chosen coincides with the day the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed in 1973.
- The United Nations General Assembly resolution also designated the CITES Secretariat as the facilitator for the global observance of this special day for wildlife on the UN calendar.
- The theme of World Wildlife Day 2021 is Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet. It is set in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
- In India:
- On this occasion, the Union Environment Ministry declared that it is dedicated for reintroduction of Cheetah, which went extinct in 1952.