Did you know that September 4, 2015 is National Wildlife Day in the United States?

Every 20 minutes, another 3,500 humans are born, but we lose an entire species of animal or plant life – at least 27,000 species per year! (OmG!) To me, National Wildlife Day should be a day to reflect and be thankful for the abundance of beautiful creatures that still graze our planet. We should also act to preserve our biodiversity for generations to come.

Founded by Colleen Paige, a pet lifestyle expert, animal behaviorist, author and founder of other animal related holidays such a National Dog Day and National Cat Day, she intended for September 4th to bring public awareness to the plight of animals around the globe. First observed in 2006, in memory of wildlife conservationist Steve Irwin, this day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the world’s (too) many endangered species. This year’s National Wildlife Day is dedicated to Cecil the Lion, which became an international icon after being hunted by Dr. Walter Palmer, an American dentist.

Ways You Can Celebrate National Wildlife Day

  • Educate children on the importance of reducing plastics in order to protect our wildlife. Donors recently helped one impoverished elementary school in Florida to create canvas tote bags in honor of National Wildlife Day. Could you work with your local school to do the same?
     
  • Visit your local zoo! Look for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) logo at your destination as assurance that the facility is providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things.
     
  • You can “adopt a lion” through the World Wildlife Fund for yourself or a friend! WWF operates in 100 countries has is supported by almost five million members. Your donation will help the organization’s conservation efforts, and will in turn get an optional plush animal and personalized “adoption certificate”.
     
  • Find volunteer opportunities with the National Wildlife Foundation! You can become a Habitat Ambassador or steward, be a volunteer gardener, or even support the operations behind the scenes in a regional office. 
     
  • Register for Friday5 – and your first week’s contribution will be in honor of National Wildlife Day efforts. Every Friday, this organization selects a charity that’s making a difference, and donors automatically support the cause with a weekly $5 contribution. 
     
  • Adopt a pet dog or cat! There are many benefits to adopting your new best friend. Not only will it be less expensive to acquire, but it's common to find pets that are already housetrained, good with kids, or do well with other pets. Additionally, these pets are well cared-for by their rescue shelter, and will be up-to-date on their shots!
     
  • Give your own pet a special treat and be happy that they’re in your life! Studies have shown hormonal changes that occur when humans and dogs interact could help people cope with depression and certain stress-related disorders.

While today Americans observe the celebration of our amazing creatures - six months separate National Wildlife Day from World Wildlife Day. The UN General Assembly proclaimed March 3rd annual #WorldWildlifeDay as the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This agreement is one of the world's most powerful structures for biodiversity conservation, regulating the trade of flora and fauna.

Follow #NationalWildlifeDay or #WildlifeDay today and consider how you might take action between these days of observation to honor the world’s beautiful diversity of animal species.