On World Wildlife Day (WWD), March 3, 2021, USAID celebrated forests and the wildlife and people that depend on them. The WWD theme for 2021 was “Forests and livelihoods: sustaining people and planet,” honoring the livelihoods of communities who rely on forests and the value of forests for all life worldwide.
USAID works in nearly 60 countries to support environmentally-friendly livelihoods; improve forest conservation, management, and restoration; and sustain the food security, clean water, economic opportunities, health, and other services nature provides—all of which help partner countries reduce poverty, improve lives, and achieve progress towards their climate goals.
Here are some of the ways USAID Missions around the world celebrated World Wildlife Day:
- In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, USAID recognized conservation and global security successes in Garamba National Park. With USAID support through the Central African Regional Environment Program (CARPE), Garamba has improved monitoring and security in the park area, and no elephants have been poached since September 2019. At the same time, the number of armed groups in the park's area has fallen from 68 in 2015 to zero in 2020. Learn more about CARPE’s work.
- In Kenya, USAID shared the story of Pasei Oleitu, a board member at the Oloisukut Conservancy, who discusses how a cultural shift is transforming the lives of Maasai women. Maasai women bear the brunt of climate change in their communities, but they are playing a greater role in protecting the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem and increasing community resilience through sustainable economic activities. Read Pasei’s story.
- In Senegal, USAID encouraged communities to adopt sustainable natural resource management practices and shared how Seynabou Sambou did just that. Seynabou is part of a community dependent on a forest threatened by illegal deforestation and armed groups. With her community, she learned to generate income from local resources while protecting and reforesting her environment. Watch the video (in French).
- In West Africa, USAID celebrated the first anniversary of the Sasraku Forest comic book published by the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change Program. The comic is a fun and engaging way to learn about the regional environment; it invites young readers to join guide Mawe and his animal friends as they uncover the mysterious happenings in the Sasraku Forest. Download Sasraku: The Secret Within.
- Did you know that millions of Bangladeshis depend on the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest, for food, resources, and shelter? USAID celebrated a partnership with Bangladesh’s Forest Department to restore the Sundarbans forest area through natural regeneration. Watch a video about this work.
- In Cambodia, USAID’s Greening Prey Lang project works with Cambodians to protect the country’s wildlife and ecosystems, including Mr. Sor Veth. Mr. Veth has devoted most of his life to protecting the forest, which provides his community with numerous non-timber forest products such as fruits, medicinal plants, bamboo, and mushrooms. Read his story.
- USAID celebrated multiple milestones in the Philippines. To mark the end of a four-year environment activity, USAID provided a wildlife ambulance to the government, which is the first of its kind in the country and will improve capacity for wildlife rescue and research. USAID also shared a new online database, WILDBase, which will be used across the country for systematic recording and monitoring of rescued wildlife. Read more about these investments.
- USAID recognized the successes of social and behavior change communication campaigns to reduce consumer demand for ivory and tiger products in Thailand. Four campaigns, which ran from through December 2019 to June 2020, have reduced the number of surveyed consumers who intend to buy these products by more than half. Learn more about the campaigns.
In Latin America and the Caribbean
- The Colombia Mission and its partners launched “Contemplate, Understand, Conserve,” an illustrated manual for tourism and nature guides to promote the country's mega-biodiversity. The manual features illustrations and information about the jaguar, jaguarundi, Gavilán Pollero (gray hawk), tapir, and other species that USAID conservation programming supports. Learn more about Colombia’s natural heritage in the manual.
- USAID highlighted work in Brazil to protect biodiversity while generating income for Indigenous Peoples. Through value chain projects, communities, particularly women, are achieving financial independence and freedom to use their own resources. Young people are also taking part in local projects that help promote traditional knowledge in Amazon communities. Read more about these activities.
- USAID’s Peru mission highlighted work to address the urgent issue of wildlife crime, which has a profound impact on the country’s people and environment. Learn more in this infographic or listen to an episode of the Green in Value podcast, prepared by the Prevent Project (both in Spanish).
Through these strategic efforts and more, USAID and our partners are addressing the urgent priorities of biodiversity loss and tackling the climate crisis. Together, we can achieve better long-term results for people and the planet.