03 Mar World Wildlife Day 2022 – “Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration”
Edited by Tommaso De Lorenzi
On this day, almost 50 years ago. In Washington, an important international treaty was signed to regulate the trade of endangered fauna and flora: the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, known to most as CITES.
This is the reason that the General Assembly of the United Nations chose this very anniversary to establish World Wildlife Day, a day to raise awareness about the conservation of the wild species that populate our planet and increase awareness about their importance.
The central theme of the 2022 edition is the “Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration” an essential point for achieving the goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Only well-preserved ecosystems that can provide clean air and water, plant pollination, climate control, and many other services (so-called “ecosystem services”) allow human communities to thrive.
For this to happen, we need to act ever more decisively to preserve wild animals and plants before more species go extinct. They are the ones who keep the structure of the ecological community in balance, in which we are also immersed.
So who are the “key species” we were talking about earlier? They are precisely those species whose role within an ecosystem is closely linked and influences other species. If one of these key species decreases or is removed, the collapse of all the biodiversity present in that particular habitat can occur.
Regarding the sea, and more generally the ocean, the species most at risk certainly belongs to the family of sharks, and more generally all large predators, including cetaceans.
The fauna and flora at risk, including in the red lists of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), also includes organisms that are not as “conspicuous” and less important for maintaining the health of our sea. The unsuspected starfish, some coral species, and many algae are the “building blocks” of the marine ecosystem.
The list of endangered species is obviously very long and includes several molluscs and urchins. They are all essential for the proper functioning of the ocean ecosystem, as “engineers” that shape the environment to make it more suitable for life.
Triton actively contributes through its projects, to the conservation and preservation of some of these endangered species, present in the Mediterranean. Their role is vital for the proper functioning of marine ecosystems and the different trophic networks. If they were to disappear, the consequences for us humans would be disastrous!
There are many initiatives to follow that celebrate World Wildlife Day, and in the link below you can find some of them: