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Yesterday, the world celebrated the first ever World Wildlife Day! The United Nations established this day to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that environmental conservation provides to people and the planet. At the same time, the UN aims to remind us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental, and social impacts.
Wildlife is a key part of the tourism industry, and sustainable tourism actually helps to conserve ecosystems that are important to many species of flora and fauna. To honor this day, we want to share with you some of our favorite wildlife photos from the sustainable business listed on our website:
These spider monkeys owe their name to their ability to move from tree to tree with a speed and agility that makes you imagine they have eight limbs rather than four. Unfortunately, they have become Central America's most threatened primate-especially the Nicaraguan subspecies, which is critically endangered.
The cutest sloths
Isn't this mama sloth and her baby the most adorable pair ever? There are six known species of sloths living in South America, and one of them is critically endangered - the pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus), found only on a tiny five square kilometer island off the coast of Panama.
Strike a pose!
This is a little Legler's stream frog (Hyla legleri), found in Costa Rica and Panama. This species is threatened by habitat loss, which is an sadly common occurence. Amphibians (frogs and toads, newts, caecilians, and salamanders) are the most endangered group of animals on the planet: nearly 1/3 of the world's species are on the brink of extinction.
Contrary to popular belief, hummingbirds don't suck up nectar through their beaks like a straw--they lap it up with their long, pointy tongues! The Hummingbird Society lists 28 species as endangered due to habitat destruction and loss.
Up close with a gray whale
Hundreds of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) arrive every year to Baja California, Mexico, to court, mate, and reproduce. Of the original three gray whale populations, one is extinct in the North Atlantic, one is critically endangered in the Western North Pacific, and one has recovered from very low levels in the Eastern North Pacific and was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1994.
A stunning scarlet macaw
The scarlet macaws (Ara macao) were adored by the Mayas and the Aztecs. This species of macaw is not currently endangered, but their populations have declined in many countries due to the loss of habitat from deforestation and indiscriminate hunting for the illegal pet trade.
The great Galapagos tortoise
The Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra), native to seven of the famous Galapagos Islands, is the largest living specie of tortoise. There are 15 recognized subspecies of Galapagos tortoises, but only 11 are still alive today. Continued poaching and the presence of invasive animals such as rats, dogs, and goats represent the greatest threat to the survival of these majestic creatures.