Key messages

United Nations Organizations

“FAO associates itself with enthusiasm with the celebration of the World Wildlife Day which was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in recognition of the value of wildlife and its various contributions to sustainable development and human well-being. Whilst dramatic trends in criminal hunting and trade are threatening emblematic species to the verge of extinction, requiring immediate, prompt and decisive action, concerted and efficient efforts are also needed to sustainably manage wildlife so as to provide ecological, social, economic and cultural contributions to human development, food security, and wellbeing. FAO looks forward to working with countries and partners, including the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW), to more effectively address the needs in this area,  paying special attention to sustainably improving the livelihoods of poor rural communities and the conservation of their natural resources.”

Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General

“IMO firmly believes in the importance of raising awareness of the multitude of benefits that wildlife provides to people and World Wildlife Day 2014 provides an ideal opportunity to this end. In this connection, I would like to highlight that IMO has adopted key environmental treaties and codes of practice to protect marine ecosystems and wildlife from operational discharges from ships, and from accidental marine pollution. Furthermore, IMO has implemented ships routeing measures and developed guidance documents to reduce vessel strikes with cetaceans. IMO has also designated a large number of marine areas, such as Special Areas under MARPOL that include special mandatory discharge standards, as well as fourteen Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas. These areas enjoy special protection through action by IMO because of their significance for recognized ecological or socio-economic or scientific reasons, and for their vulnerability to damage by international maritime activities.”

Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General

"I wish to express my strong support for the World Wildlife Day, the first of which is to be celebrated on 3 March 2014, 41 years to the day the CITES treaty was adopted. It presents a unique opportunity to remember and celebrate the world's diversity and multitude of flora and fauna, strengthen conservation of plants and animals in the wild which are key to the survival of life on earth, and ensure sustainable and legal trade that is non-detrimental to the species, and enhances livelihoods and incomes. At a time when the earth's natural resources are being exploited at an accelerated pace to meet the needs of burgeoning populations and consumer demands, the World Wildlife Day and CITES will help us to focus more on sustainable practices by communities, governments and enterprises in our ultimate quest for development..." see more

Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General

World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate wildlife, but it is also a wake-up call to get serious about wildlife crime. We must all do more to halt the illegal trade in wildlife. UNDP and its partners are committed to this task.

Helen Clark
UNDP Administrator

“UNDP is appalled by wildlife trafficking and poaching and committed to helping combat it”, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said. “Because poaching syndicates are often linked to organized crime and/or conflict in a country, the illegal wildlife trade has become a peace and security issue, as well as a developmental and environmental challenge. It threatens to undermine our work to fight poverty, uphold the rule of law, and end corruption. UNDP is supporting countries to meet this challenge head-on, and sees the creation of sustainable and alternative livelihood opportunities as a central part of this effort.”

Helen Clark, Administrator

“Today, we celebrate the first World Wildlife Day, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly. Since time immemorial, humanity has marvelled at the wild animals with which we co-exist and on which we depend. Prehistoric peoples have depicted wildlife through rock art and engravings, many of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. UNESCO’s global network of World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserve are home to some of the most emblematic and threatened wildlife species, including mountain gorillas, pandas, tigers and different species of rhino..." see more

Irina Bokova, Director-General

“The United Nations' first World Wildlife Day coincides with renewed attention being paid to the escalating crisis of wildlife poaching. While providing us with an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic diversity of life on earth it also reminds us of the urgency and responsibility to care for and protect it.

While governments have a key role to play, we as citizens of countries across the globe have a vital role to play in shutting down the markets that sustain this illegal trade which threatens the survival of iconic species such as elephants and rhinos, but also of other threatened animal and plant species.

For the past four decades the United Nations Environment Programme has worked to support nations to establish legislation at both the national and the global level to combat poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife. This has helped countries to more effectively protect our wildlife heritage. Environmental crime continues to undermine these efforts. World Wildlife Day is an opportunity for all of us to reconnect to this vital and urgent cause.”

Achim Steiner, Executive Director

Video message by Mr. Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director

“As Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, also home of the late Wangari Maathai and just minutes and hours away from some of the world’s richest and diverse wildlife which underpins a big part of East Africa’s economy, I welcome the opportunity to recognize the 1st World Wildlife Day as an important platform in the promotion of global action for the protection and conservation of our wildlife.”

Sahle-Work Zewde, Director-General
United Nations Under-Secretary-General

"International World Wildlife Day should be a day for a celebration by people everywhere of this planet’s rich diversity in flora and fauna. Across plains, and in oceans and forests, this world teems with life in all its infinite varieties.

Animal and plant life are a source of shared wonder, but we confront failure in our stewardship of this planet’s diversity. Wildlife and environmental crimes, in all their harrowing forms, are destroying this heritage.

Elephants, rhinos, tigers and other wildlife, are being slaughtered for their ivory, skins and for their bones. The killing of animals is a crime without sense. It is fuelling new crimes, including terrorism and other forms of trafficking, as well as devastating the economies of countries; many of whom rely on their biodiversity for tourism..." see more

Yury Fedotov
Executive Director
UN Office on Drugs and Crime

Wildlife crime is slowly stealing the world around us and selling it to the highest bidder. It is an activity without remorse that cares only for the quick profits of today, while ignoring the terrible losses of more

Yury Fedotov
Executive Director

“Criminal activities that affect the environment and natural resources are on the increase and pose an increasingly serious threat to development, with disproportionate impacts on the poorest. “These activities must be understood as part of broader security issues. We should therefore do more to shore up critical institutions on the front line of enforcement, both nationally and internationally. ”

Paula Caballero, 
World Bank Senior Director,

Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice.

“Wildlife is a crucial component of the ecosystems that form the basis of livelihoods for many hundreds of millions of rural poor. At a time when wildlife the world over is under threat from habitat conversion, fragmentation and poaching, we must work with policy-makers in the public and private sectors to safeguard wildlife populations to align healthy ecosystems with human well-being in pursuit of poverty alleviation and inclusive growth.”
Juergen Voegele
Director of the Agriculture and Environmental Services Department

“I take this opportunity to congratulate the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat on the celebration of the First World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2014, and wish you every success with this important endeavour”.

Francis Gurry, Director-General

“The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) welcomes the first annual celebration of World Wildlife Day on 3 March of this year. We recognize the value of wild plants and animals, and we believe that an appreciation of wildlife is part of what makes us fully human. Our community is therefore deeply concerned with the many serious threats to wildlife, including rising temperatures, a changing water cycle, ocean acidification, and the increasing frequency of extreme weather and climate events. We are committed to supporting the conservation and sustainable use of wildlife through sound science as well as weather, climate and water services that decision-makers can use to build a sustainable future for ecosystems and wildlife -- and thus for humankind too.”

Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General

A thriving wildlife forms the very foundation of the tourism sector in many of the world’s destinations. The world’s rich biodiversity is tourism’s natural capital and the mission of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is to advance sustainable tourism more

Taleb Rifai

“Big numbers entail big responsibilities: with more than one billion people travelling the world each year, tourism must be at the forefront to advance wildlife protection across the globe.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) wishes to express its commitment to support the implementation of World Wildlife Day and joins the CITES Secretariat and others in this important global celebration of the rich diversity of nature.

Biodiversity is one of tourism’s greatest assets – its natural capital – and fundamental to its long-term sustainable development. Every year, millions of tourists interact with wild flora and fauna when they snorkel among coral reefs, go hiking in the mountains, enjoy a wildlife safari or follow the spectacular movements of migratory birds. Without the possibilities of such enriching experiences, tourism could not be the vehicle for sustainable growth, job creation and poverty alleviation around the world that it is today.

Multi-lateral Environmental Agreements

“World Wildlife Day provides occasion to celebrate the wonder and beauty of the world’s wild fauna and flora and to reflect on the multitude of benefits provided by wildlife. During this United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, this day reminds us that it is important to resolve to do our utmost to preserve these key components of biodiversity.

Wildlife has the power to bring joy and amaze us. Be they iconic species, such as lions and tigers, or the gelatinous blobfish, recently voted the world’s ugliest endangered species, they are all wonders of nature. Among many cultures, entire habitats or sets of species within a landscape have special spiritual and existence value..." see more

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary

"March 3 is World Wildlife Day. It is a day that has been set aside by the UN General Assembly to promote international cooperation for wildlife. It is an opportunity for countries, organizations and people to come together, to not only celebrate wildlife but also to highlight the various threats wildlife is facing. It is also a day in which the global community can come together to stimulate more international action for wildlife conservation. As Executive Secretary of the only global treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory species of wild animals ( ), I am delighted to be able to join CITES and the many other dedicated organizations around the world in support of the first ever World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2014."
Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the UNEP Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)

“The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is pleased to join the celebrations for World Wildlife Day and congratulates CITES on the launch of the first World Wildlife Day.

The Ramsar Convention’s annual World Wetlands Day campaign in February celebrated the beauty and utility of wetlands – home to a huge diversity of wildlife. As wetland people, our favourite wildlife might include a bear fishing for salmon along a river, a coral reef alive with colourful fish, or a pond of frogs, dragonflies and water lilies in full bloom. Our aim is to sustain this beauty as well as the many benefits wetlands bring to humankind and wildlife – water, food, transport, coastal protection and much, much more. Indeed, sustaining wetlands and their water is key to sustaining us all.

Wetlands and their species, in common with other ecosystems, are under threat from human population increase and unsustainable practices, including the illegal trade in wetland species, and we will continue in our fight to find sustainable solutions that safeguard the beauty and utility of our wetlands. We congratulate CITES for the World Wildlife Day campaign and join with them in calling for greater collaboration for a future where people and wildlife coexist in harmony.”

Christopher Briggs, Secretary General

“Congratulations on the establishment of the World Wildlife Day.

Many of the world's most majestic endangered species can be found in the drylands, where their habitats are shrinking due to the pressures of development, climate change and desertification. In addition to these severe threats, the survival of dryland range animals like elephants and rhinos is also threatened by poaching.  Holistic policies that protect wildlife as an important part of dryland ecosystems are urgently needed to save endangered species from extinction.”

Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary

International Governmental Organizations

“The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was finalised and signed on 3 March 1973. This year marks its 40th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, 3 March was chosen as the first World Wildlife Day. Eurojust endorses the first World Wildlife Day, 3 March 2014.”


Video Message by EC Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella on the occasion of the World Wildlife Day 2015

“The Global Environment Facility joins in the observance of World Wildlife Day and commits—every day—to sustaining its critical financial support for programs that address the full range of threats to wildlife. From our role as the leading global funder of programs to halt poaching and the illegal wildlife trade to our responsibilities as the key source of funds for international treaties on biodiversity, land degradation, desertification and international waters, GEF is engaged in protecting wildlife both for its intrinsic value and for its critical role in the global ecosystem. GEF’s unique cross-cutting role involves support for managing large landscape mosaics of protected areas and production areas in a way that can sustain human needs while supporting a thriving and varied wildlife population. This balance is essential to sustainable development, and can be an economic boon in places where wildlife tourism is a major contributor to economic growth. Our job is to make sure the observance of World Wildlife Day can be a celebration and not a memorial service.”

Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson

No nature, no wildlife! Nature without wildlife is unthinkable. Both scenarios are not what we want, yet humanity is managing to get there! So, will 1 day in a year of 365 days with us sending well-intended messages make a difference? Yes, because it is a small but important step in a marathon of efforts required to achieve a healthy balance between human development and the conservation of nature. The existence of many wildlife species is threatened, charismatic and lesser known species alike. Unfettered development on the one hand, and a combination of organised crime and human greed on the other hand, are the root causes.

“The International Trade Centre (ITC) commends the United Nations General Assembly for the designation of World Wildlife Day on 3 March. This is a day that celebrates the beauty of nature and biodiversity in its myriad forms.We join the CITES Secretariat and the rest of the world in celebrating this very first World Wildlife Day and pledge our support to continuing our efforts to conserve and protect the world’s wildlife..." see more

Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director

“On the occasion of the first World Wildlife Day, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) wishes to place on the record its congratulations on the anniversary of the founding of CITES and its ongoing support for the goals of CITES as embodied in the World Wildlife Day. ITTO and CITES have been working together for the past decade to improve the management of tropical tree species listed in the CITES Appendices. We will continue this important partnership to ensure that these species are sustainably managed and traded consistent with the regulations of CITES and the goals of ITTO. Once again, congratulations to our CITES friends - we look forward to being able to report many more successes from our joint work on tropical tree species on future World Wildlife Days.”

Emmanuel Ze Meka, Executive Director

“IUCN is delighted to join in the global celebrations of the inaugural World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2014 declared by the United Nations General Assembly.

World Wildlife Day gives us a chance to highlight the breathtaking diversity of our planet’s animal and plant species and how their continued survival in the wild is intimately linked to ours.

IUCN, with its deep connection to CITES, has been working on conservation and sustainable use of wildlife for over 60 years, in particular through the 8,500 members of the IUCN Species Survival Commission — bringing the top species conservation expertise to support CITES, IUCN and the conservation community worldwide..." see more

Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General

The world is currently facing an unprecedented crisis of wildlife loss. Species have never been more threatened than they are today, with extinction rates 100 to 1,000 times above their natural level – and humans are to more

Inger Andersen,
Director General

“INTERPOL is honoured to join the United Nations and CITES in marking this first World Wildlife Day, underlining our shared efforts in protecting the various forms of wild fauna and flora.

Wildlife crime is no longer an emerging form of criminality but rather an established security concern, with widespread effects on the well-being of communities worldwide and economic stability.

Through collaboration and joint commitment, we can help turn back wildlife crime and its consequences. INTERPOL looks forward to our continued work with CITES to encourage and support the efforts of national law enforcement in our member countries in tackling crimes against wildlife.”

Ronald K. Noble, Secretary-General

“Wild flora and fauna are essential to human welfare, providing food, nutrient recycling, carbon absorption and genetic resources as well as immense aesthetic and recreational pleasure. Yet factors like deforestation, the loss of natural habitat, climate change and pollution mean that global biodiversity is set to decline by a further 10% by 2050, according to OECD research. The huge sums to be made from illegal trading in wildlife, illicit logging, fishing, chemicals trading and hazardous waste disposal – which the OECD estimates have a total value of USD 30-70 billion a year – make the task of preserving biodiversity all the harder. “We must toughen our policies to improve the conservation and sustainable use of our natural resources and wildlife,” says OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “A failure to do so will have a costly, and in places irreversible, impact on our environment, our economies and our well-being. World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the wonders of the natural world but also to step up our action against the global decline in biodiversity.”
Angel Gurría, Secretary-General

In 1940, member States of this Organization shared an advanced vision that resulted in one of the regional environmental agreements of greatest scope: the Western Hemisphere Convention on Nature Protection and Wild life Preservation.

Today, this Convention is the basis of national efforts and hemispheric cooperation that supports the implementation of many multilateral instruments.

Some examples of these efforts and cooperation, include the recent establishment of Haiti’s second marine protected area; as well as the partnerships that have been built through our Department of Sustainable Development to support the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) at the hemispheric level. 

Our hemisphere has the most exuberant scenic beauty, the most bio-diverse regions and unique natural resources on the planet, an is  also a paradise  for thousands of migratory species, as the monarch butterfly and the hummingbird, symbol of our most recent Summit of the Americas, which begin and end their journeys in the gardens and  backyards of our neighborhoods, in our parks, in our protected areas, and the natural monuments that exist thanks to a Pan American vision of more than six decades of building peace through environmental cooperation.

On this first World Wild Life Day I invite you to join the OAS and all of the Inter-American and the UN system family in celebrating the natural wealth with which the Americas has been endowed, the challenges we face in its conservation and sustainable use and the lessons we learn every day as we try to address them in a spirit of dialogue, cooperation, and solidarity. 

Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General

“The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is delighted to join the international community in recognizing and celebrating the first World Wildlife Day. The native species and ecosystems of our planet support billions of people and drive the world’s economy. Preservation of our wild fauna and flora depends on the international community coming together to find solutions to our greatest conservation challenges.

As head of the United States delegation to the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, I was proud to lend U.S. support to the adoption of a resolution designating March 3rd as World Wildlife Day. I was pleased by the subsequent adoption and recognition of this day by the United Nations General Assembly— an unequivocal statement that celebrating wildlife and its many ecological, economic, and societal benefits is a worthwhile endeavor that will resonate to all corners of the world.”

Dan Ashe, Director 

“The world’s wildlife is now facing an unprecedented onslaught from criminals who are blatantly contemptuous of the fact that their illegal trading activities are not only putting severe pressure on species that are already endangered,..” more

Kunio Mikuriya

"The World Customs Organization (WCO) is delighted to join the CITES Secretariat and other United Nations (UN) agencies, as well as other organizations across the globe in celebrating the launch of the first World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2014.

World Wildlife Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 2013 and will be celebrated on 3 March each year, the day the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was adopted.

The aim of this first World Wildlife Day is to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora, to recognize the multitude of benefits that wildlife provides to people, and to raise awareness of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime..." see more

Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary-General

“As Director-General of the WTO I am proud to support World Wildlife Day. Ensuring that economic growth  and development  can take place without damaging the environment is one of the great challenges of our time – and the WTO has an important role to play. WTO rules seek to achieve a crucial balance, fostering trade as a means to promote growth and development, while also supporting the right of WTO Members to take appropriate measures to protect the environment. We will continue this work in the years ahead and look forward to marking the day.”

Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General

Non-Governmental Organizations

The Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW) welcomes the United Nations General Assembly decision to proclaim 3 March as World Wildlife Day, as a means of celebrating the importance of the world’s flora and fauna, strengthening efforts to conserve biodiversity and stepping up the fight against the illegal trade in wildlife.

As a voluntary partnership comprising 12 international organizations with substantive mandates and programmes in wildlife management, the Partnership offers a unique platform for coordinated action among its twelve founding members in promoting the sustainable use and conservation of terrestrial vertebrate wildlife in all biomes and geographical areas...see more

“Freeland stands with friends around the world in celebrating the first annual World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2014. By rallying behind World Wildlife Day, we call attention to the beauty and intrinsic value of Earth’s wild creatures and plants and their current peril largely as a result of wildlife trafficking. We applaud the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for leading this worthy effort to build awareness of the importance of wildlife.”

Steven Galster, Executive Director


“Beauty is our driving force

Beauty is the driving force of my work as a photographer, and of my fellow photographers who kindly contributed to this exhibition.

Beauty moves the heart, it opens the mind. Beauty arouses empathy - towards humans and other living species.

As a photographer but also as the president of a NGO which works towards making the world a better place, I hope that the beauty of the Wild and Precious Exhibition images will inspire you with the will to take action to protect wild animals and plants.”

Yann Arthus-Bertrand, President

"The International Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Birds of Prey commends and supports the establishment of World Wildlife Day. Our organization represents the conservation aspirations of Falconers from over 70 nations around the globe. Falconry is an Art, recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, which is integrally involved in the conservation of biodiversity through the sustainable utilization of natural elements. The illegal trade in wildlife is an anathema to the true practitioners of our Art and, as their representatives, we condemn this trade in the strongest terms and we work towards its eradication. We do also recognize that sustainable use, which must be based on sound conservation principles, is an invaluable tool in the conservation of all wildlife. We strongly encourage the principles and concepts of World Wildlife Day and join you in celebration of the incredible diversity of life on our planet."

Dr Adrian Lombard, President

"We must appreciate wildlife. We must celebrate wildlife. And we must champion wildlife. Everyday. Let this occasion—World Wildlife Day—remind us of that. Let it also remind us that organizations that have taken the task to protect wildlife—regardless of our conservation approaches—need to put aside our differences and unite as a powerful force."

Azzedine Downes, President and CEO

“We are delighted to share with you some words from Ms Julie Packard, Executive Director of Monterey Bay Aquarium and daughter of Hewlett-Packard (HP) co-founder David Packard on World Wildlife Day: "For 30 years, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has connected people with ocean wildlife as a way to inspire them to care more – and do more – to protect the oceans. Our survival depends on protecting healthy ecosystems on which people and wildlife depend. Designation of World Wildlife Day is a powerful new way to remind all people how much we rely on the natural world.

Find more about the conservation and research work of Monterey Bay Aquarium on great white sharks, bluefin tuna and southern sea otters:”

Julie Packard, Executive Director
daughter of Hewlett-Packard (HP)
co-founder David Packard

We face an unprecedented decline in our planet's biodiversity, largely due to human impacts. More than ever, we need a World Wildlife Day to pause and take note of our responsibility to wildlife - both fauna and flora. WCS is proud to recognize World Wildlife Day with CITES and all our partners and to work with them every day on behalf of our world's living treasures which are inspiring, beautiful and essential to life on earth.

Cristian Samper, President and CEO

“The world community of zoos and aquariums is delighted to support the World Wildlife Day, initiated by CITES and endorsed by the UN General Assembly. This important initiative will highlight the intrinsic value of living creatures, their beauty and ultimately their importance for human beings – hopefully resulting in better protection”.

Gerald Dick, Executive Director