Illustration of a lynx
The Iberian lynx was a critical predator in Mediterranean ecosystems. 20 years ago, there were only 94 Iberian lynx left. A recovery programme allowed numbers of Iberian lynx to climb to over 1,100, showing the power of conservation.
Photo:World Wildlife Day/Delphine Gilliard

The incalculable value of wildlife

The animals and plants that live in the wild have an intrinsic value and contribute to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of human well-being and to sustainable development.

World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that their conservation provides to people. At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and human-induced reduction of species, which have wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts. Given these various negative effects, Sustainable Development Goal 15 focuses on halting biodiversity loss.

World Wildlife Day poster 2022

Get involved

Share what you've learned with your friends and family.

Spread the word, especially to children and youth. They are the future leaders of wildlife conservation and they deserve a future where we humans live in harmony with wildlife that share the planet with us. Here are some outreach materials.

Remember to use the hashtags #WorldWildlifeDay

Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration

World Wildlife Day will be celebrated in 2022 under the theme "Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration", as a way to draw attention to the conservation status of some of the most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora, and to drive discussions towards imagining and implementing solutions to conserve them.

This aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2, 12, 13, 14 and 15, and their wide-ranging commitments on alleviating poverty, ensuring sustainable use of resources, and on conserving life land.

Over 8,400 species of wild fauna and flora are critically endangered, while close to 30,000 more are understood to be endangered or vulnerable. Based on these estimates, it is suggested that over a million species are threatened with extinction.

In 2022, World Wildlife Day will therefore drive the debate towards the imperative need to reverse the fate of the most critically endangered species, to support the restoration of their habitats and ecosystems and to promote their sustainable use by humanity.

Let us remind ourselves of our duty to preserve and sustainably use the vast variety of life on the planet. Let us push for a more caring, thoughtful and sustainable relationship with nature.

António Guterres

Stories

Pangolin

The world is dealing with unprecedented threats to wildlife. Illegal wildlife trade continues to pose a real danger to biodiversity, ecosystems and human health, as a number of emerging diseases stem from animal products, both domestic and wild. Here are three ways that UNEP works to address this illegal trade.

Related links

Related international days

The forest in Indonesia

This year's international film festival will highlight films that explore the threats weighing on endangered species of wild fauna and flora, their central importance for their habitats and ecosystems and for the communities who live near them, and the numerous initiatives that are setting out to conserve them.

Illustration of a Koala hanging on a branch while a forest fire burns in the background.

Youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Children have a natural affinity for both animals and plants, as well as art, and they are more and more aware of the challenges facing the planet. This year’s contest encourages artists to depict endangered and critically endangered wildlife within the habitats and ecosystems where they live.  Discover this year's finalists!

illustration of people with clock, calendar, to-do list and decorations

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.