This Friday, May 21st, we celebrate Endangered Species Day. Consecutively, on Sunday, May 23rd, we celebrate the sea turtles on World Turtle Day. But why these days are important? Why bother celebrating endangered species or sea turtles?
Endangered Species Day – May 21st 2021
Every year on the third Friday in May, thousands of people around the world participate in Endangered Species Day by celebrating, learning about, and taking action to protect threatened and endangered species. According to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, “Endangered” means a species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. While extinctions occur naturally and will continue to do so, there is a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting that the current rate of species extinction is much higher than the background rate, or natural rate, of the past.
So why do we study endangered species and learn about endangered species conservation? Endangered and threatened species of wildlife and plants are of ecological, historical, esthetic, recreational, and scientific value to us all. Ultimately, these species are a part of the complex web of life that supports us every day. In 2012, the IUCN Red List listed 3,079 animal and 2,655 plant species as endangered (EN) worldwide. You can check WWF’s website for the list of commonly known endangered animals.
Conservating endangered flora and fauna is not a single person job but rather a responsibility us, earth residents, have to carry. To raise awareness, wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, gardens, schools, libraries, museums, community groups, nonprofits, and individuals held special programs or events for people of all ages. You can also personally take part in conservating and raising awareness of endangered species by:
- Don’t buy illegal wildlife products, such as ivory
- Avoid unsustainable food products, such as palm oil
- Donate to a conservation group or wildlife organization
- Educate yourself on endangered species
- Learn more about the Endangered Species Act
- Use #EndangeredSpeciesDay to post on social media.
World Turtle Day – May 23rd 2021
Since 2000, May 23rd has been internationally recognized and has been featured in Chase’s Book of Annual Events as World Turtle Day. What makes this day unique is that the term “WORLD TURTLE DAY” is trademarked by Susan Tellem of Malibu, California; co-founder of American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) which is also the founding sponsor of World Turtle Day.
The purpose of World Turtle Day is to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive. These reptilians, especially turtles, are mostly vulnerable in the wild and human interference is the major factor causing their vulnerability. Turtles are also a crucial player in the ecosystem. They help to clean the sea beds, keeps the corals and reefs healthy, and keeps certain species’ population at bay to name a few. Check our blog about sea turtles to learn more.
World Turtle Day is celebrated around the globe in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to saving turtles caught on highways and research activities. You can also personally participate in World Turtle Day by doing simple acts like cleaning the turtles’ habitats and raising awareness by posting on social media notifying your friends about World Turtle Day.
These events might seem uneventful but they are the small steps to a bigger cause: preserving the earth. Multiple researches have shown that it is important to prevent extinction of most, if not all, species for the sake of not only nature but also human. Happy Endangered Species & World Turtle Day!