Today is World Wildlife Day and this year’s theme is “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”. Started by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2013, today is a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the wildlife here on earth. There are so many wild animals and plants here in the Pacific Northwest but caring for ecosystems and forests around the world helps us all!

The Black Mambas and Akashinga

One major threat to some of Africa’s most iconic and endangered animals is poaching. But there are many folks who have stepped up to the plate to protect these animals, including several all-women anti-poaching groups. Founded in 2013, The Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit protects the Olifants West Region of South Africa’s Balule Nature Reserve and focuses on the conservation of rhinos in the area. Additionally, the Black Mambas work on education and advocacy in communities, especially with children. The Bush Babies program is an environmentally based education program offered in several schools around the Greater Kruger National Park and helps connect future generations with the wildlife around them.

National and State Parks

Here in the US, there are so many forests and other ecosystems that you can visit! Yellowstone National Park was the first park established in March of 1872 and now, there are more than 400 national areas (of which 63 are designated as national parks) that cover 84 million acres! In Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, there are 12 national parks you can visit. With covid-19 still a major issue in the US, traveling and exploring should look a little different with face masks and social distancing.

Rainforests of Washington State

The Pacific Northwest is home to many forests, including several rainforests! The Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula is probably the most famous but there are three others: the Quinault, Queets, and Bogchiel. These forests rarely drop below freezing or go above 80° F and are home to many different plants and animals.

Climate Change

We are currently in the midst of a climate crisis. Massive wildfires have been happening all over the world, including the Amazon Rainforest, Australia, and the west coast of the United States. The Green New Deal has been taking a lot of flack lately by conservatives, despite the fact that it both hasn’t been in effect and can actually help avoid massive infrastructure problems.

World Wildlife Day is a great day to remember just how important wildlife, forests, plants, and ecosystems are. There are so many ways to support the earth and fight against climate change. Individual changes that you can make (like reusing grocery tote bags, participating in work parties at a local park, or supporting conservation efforts and organizations like the American Forests) are great steps but not the only things we can or should do. Systemic and widespread change needs to happen to make the necessary difference!