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World Wildlife Day
3 March 2014

World Wildlife Day Was Commemorated In Tehran At Soudeh School Where Art Works
Of 60 Students Were Displayed For Auction. The Theme of The Paintings: Saving The Asiatic Cheetah

"Let us work for a future where people and wildlife coexist in harmony. Let's go wild for wildlife" was the message of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon on March 3rd which marked the first World Wildlife Day.

The General Assembly chose this day because it is the date of adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

The day was commemorated in Tehran at Soudeh School where art works of 60 students were displayed for auction. The theme of the paintings: Saving the Asiatic Cheetah.

Due to reasons such as deforestation and habitat degradation; climate change and changes in land use; overconsumption on land and sea; and illegal trafficking of wild plants and animals Iran's wildlife is under threat. The Asiatic Cheetah is perhaps the most endangered species on the list.

The cheetah has lost most of its historic distribution range across the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. They are considered as "Critically Endangered"as only approximately 50 cheetahs are now living in the wild in a fragmented population in central Iran, mainly in the Dasht-e-Kavir.

When children were asked to share their personal reflections as to why they thought this was an important topic, one replied "Because we need to raise awareness to save this endangered animal. We need to ask local communities to get involved in order to save the cheetah and stop the illegal killing of the innocent animal."

Dr. Ahmad-Ali Keykhah, Deputy of Natural Resources and Biodiversity of the Department of Environment was among the attendees. He shared with the audience the following statement:

"We Need To Ask Local Communities To
Get Involved In Order To Save
The Cheetah And Stop
The Illegal Killing Of The Innocent Animal"

"We Iranians love our country deeply. What we need to recognize is that what makes our country is our diverse wildlife and our precious natural resources, without it we have nothing. Thus, we need to learn to preserve the environment and we need to teach our children to protect these invaluable creatures. I am hopeful and believe in the power of the future generation of this country."

Dr. Ahmad-Ali Keykhah, Deputy
Of Natural Resources And Biodiversity
Of The Department Of Environment Was
Among The Attendees

Among the attendees at the event were officials from the Islamic Republic of Iran's Department of Environment, experts in the field, parents and guardians of students, as well as the media.

UNDP, under its mandate of Environment and Sustainable Development is implementing long-standing project with Iran's Department of the Environment entitled Conservation of Asiatic Cheetah Project (CACP). Working hard with committed local and international partners (Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera) we are trying hard to preserve this beautiful and fascinating animal.

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