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Environment & Wildlife, General, World Trends

World Wildlife Day 2024: Conservation Through a Digital Lens

March 2nd 2024

Tagged: Conservation, Volunteering Abroad, Wildlife

Human activities have decimated the pristine wildlife. A 2022 study showed there has been nearly a 70% decline in wildlife populations since 1970. Another, study found that humans and their livestock now account for 96% of all mammal biomass on Earth. This means that all the wild mammals – every whale, bear, elephant, badger, deer, rat, and so forth – only makes up the remaining 4%. 

Therefore, the importance of World Wildlife Day cannot be understated, but what is it and what is its focus this year? 

amazon catVolunteer in Peru | WorkingAbroadHistory of World Wildlife Day 

World Wildlife Day, an international day which celebrates the planet’s diverse fauna and flora, was established on the 20th December 2013 by the United Nations general Assembly (UNGA). The day was chosen as the 3rd March to commemorate the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – a treaty signed in 1973 to prevent the international trade of a species threatening its survival in the wild.  

The aim of World Wildlife Day, evident from the very circumstances by which it was created, is not only to appreciate the natural world but also to increase the awareness of the challenges it faces and the importance of conserving it. 

World Wildlife Day 2024

Dolphin conservation volunteer with drone PortugalDolphin Whale Research | Volunteer Portugal | Working AbroadThis year’s theme will be “Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation”. The focus is to highlight the importance of digital technologies in wildlife conservation efforts as well as raising awareness of their impact.

Many different technologies are currently being used, and some examples include: 

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): often used to analyse camera trap and satellite images or even audio recordings to assist with species identification and population monitoring.
  • Networked Sensors: such as camera traps and acoustic sensors are widely used for wildlife monitoring, identification, and behaviour and distribution studies.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS): widely used to analyse and visualise spatial data and helps with habitat mapping, land-use planning, and even understanding the connectivity between protected areas. 

One of the key events taking place this year is a live-stream hosted by the UN where new tools for enhancing conservation and safeguarding biodiversity will be showcased. Additionally, the event will be used as an opportunity to discuss the future of conservation and how to keep it in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Technological innovation has made research, communication, tracking, DNA analysis and many other aspects of wildlife conservation easier, more efficient and accurate. Many of our projects use innovative technology from analysing scutes of turtles using computer programming in Mauritius, camera trapping in Peru and cetacean drone surveys in Portugal, our projects have some incredible people using amazing technological innovations to help conserve wildlife as best they can!

Elephants walking through forest thailandVolunteer with Elephants | Volunteer Thailand | Working AbroadThe Importance of Wildlife

Wildlife plays a vital part in maintaining the health of the planet’s ecosystem. Beyond its cultural, aesthetic, and economics benefits, wildlife plays a vital role in maintaining the delicate balance of the planet’s ecosystem. 

Conserving wildlife is not just about projecting individual species, but about the safeguarding of the entire web of life on Earth. What better way to get involved with World Wildlife Day this year than take part in a conservation effort – whether that be volunteering in a local capacity or helping protect some of the most vulnerable habitats abroad. 

Here at WorkingAbroad, we offer a wide range of conservation efforts for you to get involved in ranging from coral reef restoration in Bali to a wildlife rescue internship in Canada. See the projects page for a full list!

Written by WorkingAbroad Blogger Edward Forman

About the Author

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Blog articles about our volunteer projects, the wider world and from volunteers in the field are shared here for everyone to get inspired and learn more about wildlife conservation topics, volunteering abroad and much more.