World Wildlife Day 2022 | Recovering ‘Keystone’ Species

Feb 25, 2022by Olivia - F&F

March 3rd is World Wildlife Day! Each year, we celebrate the beauty and wonder of Earth’s precious wildlife and bring awareness to the plight of endangered species. Let’s take a look at this year’s theme and how you can get involved.

Recovering Key Species For Ecosystem RestorationRecovering Key Species For Ecosystem Restoration

Photograph: Alice Kirby / World Wildlife Day

What Is The Theme For World Wildlife Day 2022?

This year, the theme for the United Nations’ World WIldlife Day is “recovering key species for ecosystem restoration”. A ‘key’ or ‘keystone’ species refers to an organism — like an animal, plant, bacteria or fungi —  that helps to define an entire ecosystem. Without this, a particular ecosystem may collapse!  

Ecosystems are only healthy when their component species thrive. If just one keystone species disappears, an entire ecosystem can start to decline and die. This is why actions to protect individual species must go hand-in-hand.

Humans everywhere rely on healthy ecosystems for food, fuel, income, medicine, housing and clothing; the collapse of an ecosystem may contribute to the collapse of people’s livelihoods. World Wildlife Day 2022 aims to raise awareness for the need to reverse this trend of ecological collapse.

Baby PandasBaby Pandas

Photograph: Ami Vitale / National Geographic

Why Is World Wildlife Day Celebrated?

Here at F&F, we love sharing positive success stories of wildlife conservation and rewilding projects. However, bringing awareness to the plight of critically endangered species is important to prevent these species from becoming extinct, and hopefully, to instigate action to reverse biodiversity loss. 

“I encourage everyone to view World Wildlife Day as an opportunity to celebrate the joy and the benefits that wild plants and animals provide to us,” says Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General of CITES.

“Let us also acknowledge and appreciate the many conservation success stories that do exist, whilst exploring the challenges we face and the potential solutions for the future,” she says. Essentially, it’s about finding the balance between celebrating, raising awareness, and taking action!

WIRES Wildlife Rescue KoalaWIRES Wildlife Rescue Koala

Photograph: WIRES / Facebook

World Wildlife Day 2022 Events & Activities

There are plenty of ways to get involved in World Wildlife Day 2022! On March 3rd, make it your mission to get to know the species in your area and the threats to their survival. If you can, try to support local wildlife conservation initiatives.

Some of our Aussie favourites are Where Pigs Fly Farm Sanctuary, Sea Shepherd Australia, Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, WIRES, and plenty more! Supporting these organisations means that they can continue to protect native wildlife and preserve the ecosystems that we all rely upon. 

This year, the annual World Wildlife Day Virtual Global Event will be held online, but it will bring together representatives of UN member States, UN System organisations and multilateral environmental agreements, civil society, and the private sector to discuss the theme of recovering key species.

Keystone Species Ochre Sea StarKeystone Species Ochre Sea Star

Photograph: Paul Nicklen / National Geographic

What Are ‘Keystone’ Species?

You’re probably wondering why some species are referred to as ‘keystone’ species. Often, these species are predators. Sea otters, for example, keep kelp forests in balance by eating sea urchins and preventing them from overpopulating

Another example of a keystone species is the beaver! Beavers, are mighty ecosystems engineers. They have a close revolutionary relationship with the plants in their environment.

Keystone species aren’t always what you’d assume! The ochre sea star, for example, was one of the first species to be named a keystone species. The ochre sea star keeps populations of mussels and barnacles in check, which helps seaweed species to flourish. Essentially, keystone species promote ecological balance and harmony!

Happy World Wildlife Day! Whatever you decide to do, we encourage you to raise your voice and spread the world on social media using #WWD2022, #RecoverKeySpecies, and #worldwildlifeday.  

We love bringing you stories of wildlife conservation from all over the world! Below are some of our favourites, but you can find more in our Eco News category. 

Sea Otters’ Destructive Digging Habit Is Boosting Ocean Health

North America’s First Whale Sanctuary Set To Open In 2023

Disney Goes Down Under To Rewild Australia’s Red Centre

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