Today is World Wildlife Day 2022, and B.C. Wildlife Federation joins the globe in celebrating our planet’s animals and plants. In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 3rd as UN World Wildlife Day – 50 years after the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1973.
World Wildlife Day will be celebrated in 2022 under the theme “Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration”. On this day, we draw attention to the conservation status of some of the most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora and imagine the ways in which we can innovate and implement solutions to conserving them.
Worldwide, there are over 8,400 critically endangered flora and fauna, with 30,000 other species understood to be endangered or vulnerable. Within British Columbia, there are over 1,300 animals and plants that are the red and blue lists of species at risk of extinction. It is more important now than ever to protect and recover key species within B.C.!
Species Spotlight: Black-Crowned Night-Heron:
One of the many animals on the B.C. Red list of species at risk of extinction is the Black-Crowned Night-Heron, one of the most widespread herons in the world. A nocturnal migratory bird, the Black-Crowned Night-Heron sometimes overwinters in the Fraser River delta, and relies on crucial B.C. wetlands and riparian habitat.
Within Canada, the herons typically nest in colonies across the Prairies through making stick platforms in trees. These birds are characterized by their jet-black cap, dramatic red eyes, and bright yellow feet. The species is considered “cosmopolitan“, as they nest on every continent, excluding Antarctica.
A critically endangered species, the Black-Crowned Night-Heron’s conservation status can be attributed to critical habitat loss (wetland and riparian zones), and the long-standing effects of DDT and other harmful pesticides. Recommended conservation initiatives include further research and habitat restoration of the Fraser River delta, and further management of urban and agricultural development which contributes to habitat loss.
Protecting B.C.’s Wetlands and Riparian Zones:
The B.C. Wildlife Federation dedicates much of its conservation stewardship efforts to protecting, enhancing, and restoring British Columbia’s riparian and wetland habitat.
The BCWF Wetlands Education Program (WEP) has been working hard to protect, enhance and conserve B.C.’s wetlands since 1996. Our program offers courses in communities all across B.C. to provide the knowledge and tools for participants to be wetlands stewards in their own backyard. In 2021 alone, the WEP restored over 30 hectares of crucial wetland habitat.
Through the Wetlands Workforce, a $5-million watershed restoration project spearheaded by the BCWF, 221 wetlands were assessed through the Wetlands Ecosystem Services Protocol and 252 wetlands received work by Wetlands Workforce work pods. Moreover, native species were planted encompassing an area of 575,489 m², and invasive species were removed from an area of 1,006,090 m².
The Wetlands Workforce also partnered with BCWF’s Fish Habitat Restoration & Education Program (FHRE) to create the Fraser River Clean-Up Crew, who removed 9,530 kg of debris and garbage from over 60 km of shoreline. FHRE works to maintain and restore important riparian zones for crucial species like the Black-Crowned Night Heron, while educating the public on the importance of riparian habitat.
Learn More about World Wildlife Day:
Watch the official UN World Wildlife Day 2022 outreach video:
Take Action this World Wildlife Day:
Support the future of British Columbia’s fish, wildlife and habitat by donating to support our programs and initiatives.
Do you want to be a part of our community that works hard for the protection and conservation of B.C.? Become a BCWF Member today!