World Wildlife Day 2022
By Rollyna Domingo - updated on 03/03/2022
Pawikan2020 – release of Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), photographed in Pawikan Conservation Center, 2020
World Wildlife Day was proclaimed to celebrate and raise awareness for the world’s wild fauna and flora in 2013, 40 years after CITES was adopted. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is the international agreement that monitors trade of wildlife to ensure their conservation. Happy 3rd of March, Happy World Wildlife Day!
This year’s theme is “Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration”. It highlights the role of our wildlife in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Did you know that healthy ecosystems are also important for us?
So where does wildlife come in?
Ecosystems provide us direct and indirect services like food, livelihood, water to drink, and clean air to breathe… Other than the obvious ones, ecosystems are also important in fundamental processes such as the water cycle, photosynthesis, and nutrient cycling. Generations of civilizations are also continuously shaped by nature. It has become a part of music, art, entertainment, architecture, and other cultural knowledge humans have on a global scale. Healthy ecosystems are vital to happy communities. So where does wildlife come in?
Wildlife functions as the actors of the ecosystem. Equilibrium of populations are affected by food chains. Carnivores consume prey and prey maintains the growth of vegetation. Plants provide food and shelter for animals as well as store carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. An ecosystem without plants is nothing and an ecosystem without animals is nothing.
- UPLB2019 – photographed in UPLB CFNR, Los Baños, Laguna, 2019
In the Philippines, variations of ecosystems are aplenty. With this comes high species richness and endemism on both our wild animals and plants. The richness in our biodiversity provides local communities with life support in various aspects. Both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the Philippines provide food, livelihood, cultural, and recreational services to Filipinos and foreigners. The rich biodiversity is also supposed to provide enormous life support such as clean air and water. Typhoons frequent the country often because of its location but intact forest ecosystems functions as barriers and protection from floods and soil erosion.
The Kalaw as well as the other 10 endemic hornbill species of the Philippines hold a great role seed dispersal in every ecosystem that they are part of due to their ability to fly in long distances. Tibig trees, a native Ficus species, provide food for various forest frugivores. And of course, the Binturong is said to be important for forest conservation in Southeast Asia with their potential to help in dispersing and germinating seeds. These are just some of the few and if we have more time, I would love to enumerate them for you. Specially, emphasize how important our natives and endemics are.
- PHForestRat2019 – Philippine Forest Rat (Rattus everetti) released after identification, photographed in Mt. Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna, 2019
Or even better, make everyday World Wildlife Day!
We should not look wild plants and animals as attractions in zoos and parks. Wildlife also makes life possible for you and me. More than tourism, recreational pursuits, and moral obligation. So, celebrate the World Wildlife Day today. Or even better, make everyday World Wildlife Day!
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