Minister’s message – 2021 World Wildlife Day
Minister’s message on the occasion of World Wildlife Day 2021:
Today March 3 2021 marks the World Wildlife Day under the theme “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet“, as a way to highlight the central role of forests, forest species and ecosystems services in sustaining the livelihoods and welfare of communities. From filtering and storing freshwater to ensuring the fertility of soils and regulating the climate, forests underpin the economy and are critical to our very survival. The importance of forests cannot be underestimated.
Seychelles has been a long-standing and strong supporter of global efforts to conserve wildlife and combat practices contributing towards biodiversity loss. Approx. 80 % of our country’s land are covered with forests which makes it one of the most forested countries in the world. The country is well known for its efforts in identifying and designating Protected Areas by having the highest percentage of land under protection, almost 50%. Undeniably, the country’s forest hosts some of the most beautiful animals and plants.
Other than the ecosystem services they provide, forests provide essential livelihoods such as agricultural and food production, timber resources, exploration and scientific expeditions, education through its living laboratory settings and many more.
Campaigns aimed at reforesting some of the most eroded and degraded areas of Seychelles , the development of Policies and Action plans that will provide guidance on the overall sustainable use of forests and their resources, forestry inventories and assessments, control and eradication of Alien Invasive Species, rehabilitation of native forests and ongoing Ecosystem Based Adaptation Projects are being implemented or planned to ensure that Forests are conserved and well managed to accommodate the different land uses.
Despite many achievements, we cannot ignore the fact that throughout the years, our forests and their biodiversity have faced multiple crises including deforestation and habitat degradation; climate change and changes in land use; and illegal poaching/trafficking of wild plants and animals. Whilst many steps have been taken to mitigate these impacts, the rate at which our wild animals are becoming endangered is accelerating.
The world wildlife day is a reminder for us to pick up the pace in our fight against wildlife crimes and biodiversity loss and continue to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that the conservation of forests provides. It is important to remind ourselves that when we destroy forests, it is not just the trees that go. The entire ecosystem begins to fall apart, with consequences for all of us.
As we celebrate World Wildlife Day this year, let’s recognize the extraordinary importance of healthy forest ecosystems to human wellbeing and prosperity, and commit to change how we manage its precious and priceless resources.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment would like to thank all its partners who continue to provide assistance, support and guidance towards wildlife conservation.