7 things to do on World Wildlife Day

African and Asian elephants are the focus for 2016's World Wildlife Day – with some experts estimating up to 20,000 are being killed for their tusks every year, they need all the help they can get. What will you do?

© DamianKuzdak/iStock
© DamianKuzdak/iStock

Yes, it’s World Wildlife Day on 3 March, which means it’s time to bury our collective heads in the sand and ignore all the grim news for another year. Or is it? Perhaps, it’s a day on which to pledge to do one thing – however small – for the other species we share the planet with. It’s your choice, but here are 7 ideas to throw into the melting pot.

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1
Tune into the International Elephant Film Festival, a special event organised to raise awareness about elephants and the threats they face. African and Asian elephants are the main focus of World Wildlife Day because of the rising levels of poaching they have faced in recent years.
The winners of the International Elephant Film Festival will be announced on 3 March

2
Take an online, guided tour to see the only elephants in the world that have a semi-subterranean lifestyle. Find out why these ‘trogloydyte tuskers’, living near Mount Elgon on the Kenya-Uganda border, go underground in this virtual experience hosted by elephant expert and BBC Wildlife advisor Ian Redmond.
Take the vEco tour

3
Find out more about the work that’s being done to understand the impact of elephant poaching and how international cooperation can help to stop it. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will be making a special announcement about its elephant poaching monitoring programme during the day.
Get the news on Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE)

4
Discover the work of the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) here in the UK. After some months of uncertainty, the unit was assured it would continue to receive government funding earlier this week. Some of what it does involves cooperating with the UK Border Force and other agencies to make sure items such as ivory are not illegally brought in to the UK.
Visit the website of the National Wildlife Crime Unit

5
Elephants are being poached at a rate estimated to total 20,000 a year. “At this rate, a child born today will see the last wild elephants die before their 25th birthday,” says the EU environment commissioner Karmenu Vella. Most ivory is shipped illegally to the Far East, especially China, but also the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. It is carved into bracelets, figurines, iPhone cases and even tiny elephant figures.
Add your name to the hundreds of people – included the highly respected British conservationist Jane Goodall – who have signed the Elephant Charter

6
Raise awareness yourself about the impacts of wildlife crime. Take a photo of yourself with World Wildlife Day ‘shout-out’ cards and share it on social media. Alternatively, tweet or facebook a short animation produced by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC).
Access the ‘shout-out’ cards
Share the UNDOC animation

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7
Well, we’re a wildlife magazine (and website), so let’s get out there and see some wildlife. Just topping up the birdfeeder would be something. Tell your friends, put out a blog or simply help a toad to safely cross a road – despite the cold weather, it’s getting near that time of year when “a young toad’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”, as Alfred, Lord Tennyson almost put it.
Find your nearest toad patrol