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World Turtle Day – 23 May

Turtles are a type of reptile that exists in many environments throughout the world and have found their way into literature, poetry, and parable throughout the world’s history. World Turtle Day celebrates these noble reptiles and their place in the world and encourages people to take action to help protect both the common pet turtle and the ever endangered sea turtle.

History of World Turtle Day

Well, the first thing to know is that Turtles and Tortoises are not the same thing, though this day is dedicated to celebrating and protecting both. First created in 1990 by American Tortoise Rescue, World Turtle day recognizes that some species of our hard (and soft!) shelled friends are suffering and almost on the edge of extinction due to environmental hazards, issues with hunting and harvesting of their eggs.

American Tortoise Rescue was created by Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, a married pair of animal activists who had a particular passion for tortoises. We all have to have something that drives us in this life, and for these two it was bonding over animal right’s activist work. Don’t think these two are just closet hippies with an overwhelming adoration for all things shelled and scaly.

Susan is deeply involved with television arts & sciences and the public relations society of America while being a partner in Tellem Grody Public Relations Incorporated. They organize charity collections and works around the world to help protect these amazing critters, and created World Turtle Day to get everyone involved and spread awareness of the shrinking habitat and declining numbers of these sensitive creatures.

So what is the difference between turtles and tortoises? Although they are both reptiles, the main difference between the two is that turtles live in the water at least some of the time, while tortoises live on the land. Because they live in the water, turtles have streamlined and mostly flat shells, while tortoises often have larger and more domed ones.

Our tortoise friends can also live longer than their reptilian cousins. Tortoises can live over 300 years, although their average lifespan can go up to around 150 years. Turtles live up until the age of 40, although one record-breaking turtle almost lived to the age of 90!


Source: Text:    Image: National Today

World Tapir Day- 27 April

There’s an odd little creature that’s a native of Central and South America, and can even be found in SE Asia. What kind of odd critter? Well, it looks a bit like a pig, with it’s general build and toes with hooves, but it also looks a bit, just a little, like an elephant with its long snout! What are we talking about? The Tapir! This wonderful animal is currently on the watch-list as it has been over-hunted for its meat and hides. World Tapir Day raises awareness about these endangered animals and helps to protect them for future generations.

History of World Tapir Day

World Tapir Day was established with the intent of protecting all the members of this endangered species from extinction, that they might still be here for our children. The areas they inhabit are either forest or jungle, which makes them particularly vulnerable to deforestation, especially as large herbivores. But the dangers of their extinction goes even further than just the loss of another unique species, the loss of the Tapir could in fact endanger the entire remaining forests. As part of their natural habits, they also serve to disperse seeds throughout the jungle, and are one of the oldest species found in these areas.

Many people are unaware of the Tapir as a species, meaning they are losing a special part of the world without ever knowing they exist. So unknown are these animals that those who visit Zoos that frequently mistake them for members of another species. This is even a problem in those areas where they live natively, so World Tapir Day was established to help raise world awareness of this species.


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World Penguin Day – 25 April

Penguins are some of the most adorable, lovable and impressive creatures in the animal kingdom, so why not dedicate a day to these flightless birds?

World Penguin Day is a celebratory and educative initiative that encourages people to learn more about penguins and their environment, how important they are to our ecosystems and the threats they face. Interested in learning more about this day? Then let’s dive in!

The particulars of penguins

These distinctive black and white birds are highly adapted to aquatic life, their wings have evolved into flippers and their excellent swimming abilities allowing most species to dive around 200m deep, with emperor penguins even reaching depths of 500m! They’re camouflaged to protect against predators from above and below, and their glossy feathers trap air to both keep them warm and help them stay afloat.

It’s practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry.      Joe Moore

Penguins vary quite significantly in size, from the large emperor penguin, reaching heights of over 1m, to the little blue penguin, coming in at just over 30cm tall. In ancient times there were even giant species of penguin that grew almost 2m high and weighed 80kg!

Found all over the Southern Hemisphere, from Antarctica to the Galápagos Islands, penguins are famous for their endearing waddles, their dedicated chick hatching efforts and, for those based in icy climates, their trick of huddling to stay warm. They’re even known to enjoy a spot of tobogganing, gliding on their bellies over the ice!

History of World Penguin Day

World Penguin Day takes place during the annual northern migration of Adélie penguins, a species of penguin that is native to Antarctica. Adélie penguins migrate north to have better access to food during the winter months when the sea ice expands and then, during the summer, return to the coastal beaches of Antarctica to build their nests.

This annual celebration of penguins was created at McMurdo Station, an American research center on Ross Island. Researchers noticed that the Adélie penguins began their migration around this day each year, and so they founded World Penguin Day as a way to mark the occasion and raise awareness of these creatures.

While the day originated from the Adélie penguin’s migration habits, it celebrates all species of penguin and highlights the plight of these water-loving creatures. Of the 17 or so species around today (the total number of species varies depending on how you classify them, but there are at least 17 and possibly as many as 20!), sadly 10 of them have been deemed endangered or vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and 3 are considered near threatened.

Penguins spend up to three quarters of their lives out at sea and are reliant on the oceans for food. Overfishing and pollution such as plastic and oil spills therefore pose a real threat to these birds and have contributed to decreasing populations, which in turn has a knock-on effect on the wider ecosystem. And for those species based in the Antarctic (the emperor penguin and the Adélie penguin), climate change is shrinking the sea ice, which not only impinges on their habitat but can also impact chick hatching times and the availability of food.


Source: Text:      Image: The Weather Channel

World Wildlife Day – 3 March

World Wildlife 2021 poster

On 20 December 2013, the Sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim 3 March as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The date is the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973, which plays an important role in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species’ survival.

Previously, 3 March had been designated as World Wildlife Day in a resolution made at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16) held in Bangkok from 3 to 14 March 2013. The CITES resolution was sponsored by the Kingdom of Thailand, the Host of CITES CoP16, which transmitted the outcomes of CITES CoP16 to the UN General Assembly.

The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in collaboration with other relevant United Nations organizations, facilitates the implementation of World Wildlife Day.

With 183 Member States, CITES remains one of the world’s most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora.


Source: Text & Image:

International Zebra Day – 31 January

International Zebra Day: Top 5 facts about these striped animals

On 31 January, people around the world will be marking International Zebra Day – a special day to celebrate these magnificent animals. Native to Africa, there are several species of zebra which can found in the wild in different countries across the continent. Zebras are social animals that live in large groups called herds in a variety of habitats including savannahs, grasslands and woodlands.

However, in some places zebras are under threat from habitat loss, climate change and poaching and the event also highlights the importance of protecting these striped species.

There are actually three different species of zebra: the plains zebra, the mountain zebra and the Grévy’s zebra. The most common species is the plains zebra with around 750,000 animals thought to live in the wild, however the largest of the three species, the Grévy’s zebra, is the most threatened. There are thought to be only around 2,500 Grévy’s zebras in the wild and the species has been listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

2. Every zebra has a different stripe pattern

Just as no two people have the same fingerprint, the same is true with zebras and their stripes – each animal has its own unique stripe pattern! Although, why these mammals have stripes is still baffling scientists, but there are a few different theories! Some experts believe it is to stop flies from landing on the creatures, or to help them cool down. While others think the stripes confuse predators such as lions, and protects the animals by dazzling others and masking their movements in an optical illusion!

3. Some zebras have spots!

Zebras are most famous for their distinctive black-and-white stripes, but did you know that not all of them are patterned in that way. Foals are actually born with brown and white stripes, which darken as they grow older. Zebras can also be affected by albinism, a rare genetic condition that results in little or no production of a pigment called melanin – which causes them to develop golden stripes.

Although very rare, zebras have also been spotted with spots instead of stripes!

4. Zebras spend most of their day eating

Zebras are herbivores and feed mostly by grazing on grasses, leaves, shrubs and fallen fruit. They have strong front teeth and special digestive systems which can breakdown highly fibrous plants, twigs and even bark! They graze for many hours each day, often spending up to 18 hours daily feeding in the wild! They also are known to travel hundreds of miles in their herds in search of more food and water.

5. They can run pretty fast!

Zebras are equine animals, and just like horses – they can walk, trot, canter and gallop! Even though they are mainly seen grazing and walking, they are actually capable of reaching speeds up to 40 miles per hour! Zebras rely on this speed as well as their agility and stamina to help them outrun predators. One trick they use, is to run in a zigzag direction to confuse other animals.

Source: Text: International Zebra Day: Top 5 facts about these striped animals – CBBC Newsround

World Rhino Day – 22 September



 Affected by: Illegal wildlife trade

The rhinoceros is Africa’s armoured giant – like a tank on legs – and has been on our planet for millions of years. But right now they need our help. Poaching of rhinos for their horns and habitat loss are huge threats to both white and black rhinos.

The ‘southern’ subspecies of white rhinos is a conservation success story and had been helped back from under 100 in 1895 to over 20,000 individuals. However recently white rhino numbers have been declining due to a surge in poaching, with 15,942 remaining in the wild today. Sadly there are no individuals from the ‘northern’ subspecies of white rhinos left in the wild, and only a handful in captivity.

For the black rhino (slightly smaller, with a more pointed top lip) the worst period was between 1970 and 1992, when around 96% of them were lost to wide-scale poaching. Only 6,195 are left in the wild today.

Poaching of rhinos for rhino horn is still a huge threat, and the poachers have got increasingly better equipped. Help us make sure we don’t lose these incredibly precious creatures.


It’s not just because they’re a precious link to our planet’s ancient past…  rhinos also play a crucial role in their environment.

White rhinos are big grazers, eating lots of vegetation, which helps shape the African landscape. Other animals benefit, and it keeps a healthy balance within the environment.

Local people depend on the natural resources from these environments for food, fuel and income too. Ecotourism can be a vital sustainable source of funds for local communities. As one of Africa’s wildlife ‘big five’, rhinos are a popular sight for tourists.

By helping protect the rhino we’re helping protect its environment for the benefit of both people and wildlife for generations to come.    Image: GKToday