Message from Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International

World Wildlife Day is a great opportunity to highlight the immense – often underestimated contribution that wildlife plays in our lives beyond its profound intrinsic value. Wild living organisms are not just fascinating and awe-inspiring, they are the foundation of functioning ecosystems.

Functioning ecosystems provide us with crucial every day services, free of charge: clean water, clean air, a stable climate, fertile soils, pollination, medicines, fibre and so much more. They ensure our better health, wellbeing, societies, economies and bring us happiness. Wild plants and animals are the bricks that form the magnificent ‘great wall of life’ that makes our planet a ‘Living Planet.’ If you slowly take away one brick after the other, the wall will eventually collapse, with catastrophic consequences for the ecological balance of the planet and our own future.
This year we celebrate the ‘big cats.’ Both their decline and their protection begin with us, people. We know what it takes: respect, tolerance and enough wild space for them to thrive. We have many examples of success: the remarkable come back of tigers, the increasing coexistence between local communities and snow leopards or lions, which are now more valuable to them alive than dead.  

This is not just about the wildlife we love, it’s also about us. Our current destructive, wasteful and unsustainable use of natural resources is threatening not only wildlife species and ecosystems, but people too. Besides what is a world without wild big cats? Can you even imagine it ?