World Wildlife Day

Press Statement
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
March 3, 2021 

On this World Wildlife Day, we recognize the importance of the world’s forests, which are home to 80 percent of the globe’s terrestrial biodiversity and contribute to the livelihoods of over one billion people.  They also absorb nearly a third of all the planet-warming carbon dioxide emitted globally each year.  From the fresh water we drink, to the food we eat, to the air we breathe, forests provide essential benefits to people and wildlife.

We need to do more to protect our forests.  Wildfires, unsustainable expansion of agriculture, and destructive practices, including illegal logging, drive deforestation.  In turn, deforestation deprives wildlife of their habitats, robs communities of their livelihoods, and exacerbates the climate crisis.

The good news is that we are committed to supporting more resilient forests and protecting livelihoods and the planet.  By conserving habitats, combating illegal logging and wildlife trafficking, enabling sustainable agricultural approaches, and encouraging countries to close those wildlife markets with high risk of exposing humans to transmissible diseases from animals, we are protecting the health of humans and animals.  By conserving and restoring our forests, we protect important carbon sinks, preserve the planet’s natural beauty, and provide economic benefits for generations to come.