Winner of UN World Wildlife Day photo competition announced at UN Headquarters

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PRESS RELEASE

Winner of UN World Wildlife Day photo competition announced at UN Headquarters

High-level event focuses on combating illicit trafficking in wildlife and engaging and empowering youth in wildlife conservation

Geneva/New York, 3 March 2017 - The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the facilitator of the global observance of UN World Wildlife Day, announced today at the UN Headquarters in New York that Gabor Li from Hungary is the grand prize winner of the World Wildlife Day 2017 photo competition.

The winner received the certificate from CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon and Assistant Director of US Fish & Wildlife Service Bryan Arroyo at a high-level event led by the President of UN General Assembly to celebrate the Day.

Engaging and empowering youth in wildlife conservation is the call of World Wildlife Day 2017 and the competition, themed ‘Through young eyes’, invited young people across the world aged 10 to 24 to submit their wildlife photographs. The competition received an overwhelming response with more than 500 entries coming from youth across every continent.

Winner: ‘The Blue Diamond’ – Gàbor Li, Hungary

Gàbor Li, a 17 year old high school student, has won the competition with his photograph entitled ‘the Blue Diamond’.  Gàbor first started taking photographs when he was 7. His passion for photography grew through his teenage years.  From his vast collection of captured images it is easy to see his love of nature and wildlife, and his dedication to photographing the many beautiful species of the world are deeply admirable.

As the grand prize winner, Gàbor was invited to attend the major celebration of World Wildlife Day at the UN headquarters in New York. The photo competition was organized by the CITES Secretariat.

CITES Secretary-General, John E. Scanlon, said “We are delighted to have Gàbor here with us in New York today as the winner of this year’s World Wildlife Day competition. His photograph shows a good eye for detail and an obvious talent for photography. We are deeply encouraged by his interest in wildlife photography from such a young age and his commitment to celebrating the many beautiful and unique forms of wildlife”.

“The photo competition was aimed to motivate and galvanize the youth to take action to protect wildlife from the threat of extinction and Gàbor’s photo is an inspiration to all of us. We thank all of the youth who sent in their wonderful photographs and while there can only be one winner, we can all be champions of wildlife” added Scanlon.

President of UN General Assembly Mr Peter Thomson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Ms. Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa Mrs Edna Molewa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Mr Yuri Fedotov and other leaders attended today’s high level event to observe this special day on the UN calendar which is the day when CITES was signed in 1973.

Over the past four decades, our planet has lost as much as 50 per cent of its wild animals and plants – and, in some areas, even more – due to the impacts of climate change, habitat loss, over-exploitation, poaching and illicit trafficking, with poaching and illicit trafficking posing the most immediate threat to both iconic and lesser known species. At the event, member States and international organizations discussed the both the challenges and progress made to combat illegal trade in wildlife as well as the engagement and empowerment of youth in wildlife conservation.

In just four years, World Wildlife Day has become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife and it has helped pave the way for the adoption of some game-changing wildlife decisions.

The above map shows the events submitted so far by countries around the world.

For queries from the media, please contact:

Yuan Liu at yuan.liu@cites.org, Amy Reid at amy.reid@cites.org

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The 10 finalists of the photo competition can be viewed here.

A complete gallery of photographs is also available here.

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About the United Nations World Wildlife Day

On 20 December 2013, the Sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 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. World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.

Find more at: http://wildlifeday.org

About CITES

With 183 Parties, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) remains one of the world's most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of trade. Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, health care, housing, tourist souvenirs, cosmetics or fashion. CITES regulates international trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, to ensure their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable. CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975.

Learn more about CITES by visiting www.cites.org or connecting to:

www.twitter.com/CITES
www.facebook.com/CITES
www.youtube.com/c/CITES
www.flickr.com/CITES