Wildlife Institute of India in association with WII-ENVIS centre on Wildlife & Protected Areas celebrated the World Wildlife Day on 3rd March 2017. This day is celebrated to mark the historic signing of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 20th December 2013. Events are organized world over to raise awareness about the world’s wild animals and plants. The theme for this year’s celebration was “Listen to the Young Voices”. World Wildlife Day 2017 encourages youth around the world to fight together to address ongoing major threats to wildlife including habitat alteration, illegal wildlife trade and over-exploitation.
In the welcome address, Dr. V.B. Mathur, Director, WII, highlighted the challenges of wildlife conservation in the country. He also emphasized the need to create awareness on threats faced by wildlife and the role that could be played by youth in addressing this gap.
Guest of honour, Dr. Jon C Day, Director, Ecosystem Conservation and Sustainable Use, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority gave a talk on "Current and Emerging Threats to Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Conservation: Experiences from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. He explained the results of a study done to assess the status and future health of Great Barrier Reef ecosystem, illustrating the impact of various infrastructure developments happening along the Australian coast.
The chief guest of the event, Sh. Vinod Rishi, former ADG (Wildlife), spoke about the conflicts in the minds of young people directly or indirectly involved in wildlife conservation. He also pointed out the dilemma faced while placing a monetary value to a natural resource such as wildlife. In the end, he encouraged the young audience to step forward and raise their voice against illegal wildlife trade.
The talks were followed by an extempore speech competition on the theme of environment/forest/wildlife conservation issues around the neighborhood and in the country. Eleven participants were selected for the competition and given topics related to current issues of conservation concern. The participants were scored on relevance of the content, logical thinking, language, confidence and speaking style. The winners of the event were Ms. Swati Negi (1st Prize), Ms. Palak Sangal (2nd Prize), both from Graphic Era University and Ms. Persis Farooqy (3rd prize) from Wildlife Institute of India. The event witnessed an audience of over 140 people including faculty members, researchers and students of the Wildlife Institute of India, undergraduate/postgraduate students from Doon University and Graphic Era University.