September 4th is National Wildlife Day. National Wildlife Day was founded in 2005. It is a day to bring awareness of endangered animals both nationally and globally. It also celebrates the hard work of zoos and sanctuaries worldwide in their missions to preserve endangered species and educate people. While initially only celebrated this holiday on September 4th. Now we celebrate National Wildlife Day on February 22nd. This is to honor the birthday and memory of Steve Irwin.
The founder of National Wildlife Day is Colleen Paige. Colleen is a pet and family lifestyle expert. She holds many titles, including animal behaviorist, conservationist, animal welfare advocate, writer, and photographer. But one of her biggest impacts was founding many national pet holidays, including National Dog Day, National Cat Day, and National Wildlife Day. Her goal was to bring awareness to the plights of animals around the world by creating days to celebrate animals. Social media has been important in spreading this awareness. National holidays can generate simple hashtags that anyone can use to share their pet. According to Colleen’s personal website, these holidays have saved millions of unwanted pets.
To honor Steve Irwin, we also celebrate National Wildlife Day on February 22nd. Steve Irwin was a zoologist, conservationist, wildlife expert, and environmentalist. Maybe most known for his TV show “The Crocodile Hunter,” Steve was an animal advocate and educator. In 1970, Steve’s parents opened a reptile park that was later named the Australia Zoo. This soon became Steve’s favorite place. He would work countless hours caring for the animals and grounds. He worked with the Queensland government to help catch and relocate problem crocodiles. Steve Irwin instilled in both his children and children around the world the need to treat every living being with kindness.
What do these two and TCWR have in common? Our goal is to not only advocate for animals in the exotic pet trade but to create advocators out of our visitors. People like Steve Irwin have created generations of people who love, care for, and advocate for animals around the world. As humans are the cause of the newest extinction event, it is incredibly important to have people that are dedicated to protecting and fighting for both captive and wild animals across the world.
In having an education program at TCWR, we inform our visitors of what exotic big cats and predators go through in the exotic pet trade. We inspire them not to participate in harmful activities like cub petting or private ownership. We encourage them to spread the word, become an advocate themselves, and educate others like we have educated them.
This National Wildlife Day, be the voice for animals because they can’t speak for themselves.