Today marks Endangered Species Day, which aims to highlight the threats facing our planets most endangered animals – but from behind an office desk or from a school classroom, it can feel hard to find a way to play a hands on role in crucial conservation work.
With one week to go until Wear it Wild, Friday May 27 will see offices, schools and communities transformed in a flurry of wild animal fancy dress in order to help raise funds for conservation projects worldwide.
For those of you that are less inclined to don the leopard print leggings and panda onesies, we’re challenging you to get creative and turn your hands into a personal tribute to your favourite animal. From a 60-second doodle with glued on googly eyes, to an elaborate painted portrait – your wild hand creation will put a colourful spotlight on the urgent need to protect these incredible and threatened species.
Here at WWF-UK we’ve been busy creating hand designs of elephants, tigers, orangutans and zebras for inspiration – but what are the urgent threats to these species, and why should you #GiveAHandToWildlife?
The tigers’ range has declined by over 50% in the last three generations
Sadly, tigers used to road vast areas of land in Asia, but due to threats such as habitat destruction and poaching they are now restricted to just 7% of their original range. By the year 2010 their numbers had reduces by over 95%, calling for urgent action. On the brighter side, you may have heard that we set ourselves an ambitious target to double wild tiger numbers by 2022. Recently it was announced that their numbers globally had increased from around 3,200 to around 3,900. Show your support and have a go at recreating this incredible tiger on your hand for #GiveAHandToWildlife.
Elephants in central Africa could be extinct in our lifetime
Unsurprisingly, African elephants are the world’s biggest land mammal – but did you know that they in fact play a crucial role in their ecosystem? They often act as the architects of the landscape, helping with seed dispersal and forest rejuvenation. Tragically during the 1980’s, an estimated 1 million elephants were killed and up to 80% of herds were lost in some regions of Africa. By transforming your hand into a stunning African elephant like this one, you’ll be showing your support for our work to create new protected areas and fight the illegal wildlife trade.
The rainforest in Borneo has depleted by half, leaving less habitat for the endangered orangutan
Orangutans are often known as gardeners of the forest, playing a pivotal role in seed dispersal – but with over 90% of orangutans having been lost in the past century; it’s not surprising that they are now only found in the wild islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Threats such as logging, fires, poaching and mining have led to a loss of habitat and consequently, drastic drops in their numbers.
We’ve been working hard to conserve an area of rainforest knows as the ‘Heart of Borneo’, where logging and hunting is strictly prohibited. With your support we can continue to promote the use of sustainable palm oil, which ensures that crucial areas of threatened forests are no longer at risk.
How can you #GiveAHandToWildlife? Tweet us your hand-imal creations! Here are some example tweets to get you started:
“I’ll be joining @wwf_uk #WearItWild on 27 May to help protect our world’s amazing wildlife. #GiveAHandToWildlife”
“Here’s my wild hand for @wwf_uk #WearItWild – will you #GiveAHandToWildlife?”
If you haven’t already, sign up to Wear it Wild.
Why not take a look at our #GiveAHandToWildlife one pager for more information on how to get involved.