Whether it’s a scruffy rescue dog, a talkative parrot, a majestic bison, or a goofy-looking blobfish, we all have a favorite animal. The human-animal bond is something researchers have studied for years — and something Indigenous communities have honored for millennia.
So, it’s no surprise the United Nations decided to recognize March 3 as World Wildlife Day internationally.
While threats to biodiversity come as a tragic — although expected — consequence of climate change, rallying together with love for animals, their habitats, and their futures, is a great way to fight these threats head-on.
With that in mind, World Wildlife Day serves as a time to ensure the sustainability of endangered species, celebrate the ways wildlife make our planet so beautiful, and come together to take care of the Earth and all who inhabit it.
But first, a little history lesson:
5 Facts About World Wildlife Day
- On December 20, 2013 The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed World Wildlife Day to be March 3.
- Before it was recognized by the UN, World Wildlife Day was created by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973.
- This year is the 50th anniversary of CITES, making 2023’s World Wildlife Day even more celebratory.
- CITES is an international agreement between governments that ensures international trade of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of that species, granting protection to over 37,000 species around the world.
- World Wildlife Day has become the most important global event dedicated to the world’s wild plants and animals.
While it’s important to learn more about wildlife and do our part to protect all living beings and environments every day, it’s helpful to have somewhere to start. We’ve created a guide on how to celebrate World Wildlife Day this year.
By the way, some of the links in this article (like books!) are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
How to celebrate World Wildlife Day
Learn more about animals — especially endangered species.
One of the best ways to get involved and impassioned about a topic is to simply learn more about it. Whether you expand your wildlife knowledge through a National Geographic subscription, by checking out books at your local library, or just being in nature and observing the plants and animals, you’ve already celebrated this special day.
Read books about wildlife.
Build your bookshelf with some helpful books about wildlife! Here are a few standout selections:
- “In The Shadow of Man” by Jane Goodall (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story” by Daphne Sheldrick (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife” by Nancy Lawson (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm” by Isabella Tree (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World” by Katharine Hayhoe (Bookshop) (Amazon)
Watch a documentary about wildlife.
As far as documentaries go, there is a wealth of wildlife films and documentary series to pique your interest and give you a whole new outlook on our world. Consider sitting down and enjoying one (or more!) of these classics:
- Wonders of The Ocean (National Geographic)
- Our Planet (Netflix)
- Wild Babies (Netflix)
- Our Great National Parks (Netflix)
- Life in Color with David Attenborough (Netflix)
- Great Migrations (National Geographic)
Read good news about animals.
Part of the fun of celebrating wildlife also means celebrating good news about wildlife. We’re all about good news at Good Good Good — and we create an Animals Edition of our Goodnewspaper every year.
Plus, we have a whole library of good animal news stories to inspire you, too.
- American Bison Are Making A Major Comeback
- Wildlife Crossings Built With Tribal Knowledge Drastically Reduce Collisions
- Conservation Efforts Are Saving Humpback Whales
- Nepal’s Conservation Efforts Have Nearly Doubled Their Tiger Population
- Turning ‘Ugly’ Animals Into Memes Could Be the Key to Their Conservation
- Meet These Famous Animal Conservationists You Might Not Know Yet
Donate to a wildlife conservation organization.
Do your part to help fund animal conservation efforts. There are so many large and local wildlife organizations to choose from, and any amount you can give is meaningful.
If you can, setting up a recurring donation can make a huge impact, all while saving you time in the long run. Here are a few wildlife conservation nonprofits to keep in mind this World Wildlife Day:
- International Fund for Animal Welfare
- World Wildlife Fund
- Wildlife Conservation Society
- Jane Goodall Institute
- National Wildlife Federation
Take part in a World Wildlife Day event
On the official World Wildlife Day website, you can find a map of events around the globe that celebrate the awareness holiday.
You can also tune in online to the 2023 World Wildlife Day Global Event on March 3, broadcasting live on YouTube from Washington DC.
Volunteer with a local wildlife preserve, botanical garden, or national park
Put your wildlife skills and passions to the test by volunteering at a local wildlife preserve, botanical garden, or state or national park. Even if you just spend some time in a local park picking up trash, you’re doing your part!
If you have especially helpful expertise, you can do some on-the-ground work with plants and animals. Not sure where to start? Take World Wildlife Day as an opportunity to reach out to conservation projects, wildlife rehabilitation centers, or state park offices to see where your help is needed.
Do your part to protect wildlife every day
While World Wildlife Day is a fun and celebratory way to get involved with the care of plants and animals around the world, these passions should not only be limited to a single day each year.
Take this time to consider what ways you can make lifestyle changes that better take care of the planet and its diverse ecosystems. Consider putting a monthly park/ocean/beach/pond/lake clean-up date in your calendar. Figure out what native plants you can add to your yard. Take a train instead of a flight.
The possibilities are endless, and we need your brilliance to make this world a better place for wildlife.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is World Wildlife Day?
World Wildlife Day is an international celebration of wild plants and animals that takes place on March 3 every year. This day recognizes the beauty of life on planet Earth and encourages us to preserve biodiversity on a global scale.
What does World Wildlife Day do?
World Wildlife Day brings together wildlife conservation partners, animal lovers, and wildlife experts to celebrate the biodiversity of our planet and encourage us to take action in plant and animal conservation. This happens through events, speeches, marketing campaigns, and more.
What is the theme of World Wildlife Day 2023?
In 2023, the theme for World Wildlife Day is “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation.” This theme celebrates all conservation efforts, from intergovernmental to local initiatives, and focuses on two sub-topics: marine life and oceans, and business and finance dedicated to wildlife conservation.
What was the theme of World Wildlife Day 2022?
In 2022, the theme for World Wildlife Day was “Recovering Key Species For Ecosystem Restoration.” This theme was designed and celebrated to raise awareness for both endangered and critically endangered wildlife, and to highlight the work of conservation efforts worldwide.