International Day for Biological Diversity was established by the UN General Assembly in 1995 on the basis of the reference from the Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It has been celebrated ever since on May 22.
The aim of the celebration to attract the attention of the world community to biological diversity conservation of wild species and ecological systems in general. The urgency of the matter is highlighted by the fact that the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992 was signed by about 200 states. It was ratified in the Russian Federation only in 1995.
Biological diversity covers all the multitude of life on the planet, which is being rapidly reduced these days. It has been proved that annually the world loses several species in all groups of plants and animals. It is estimated that a mammal species disappears in Russia every 3-5 years. The territory of the former USSR used to be a home for some of such species and sub-species as the urus (17th century), the Steller’s sea cow (18th century), the Caucasian wisent (the 1920s), the Caspian tiger (1946), the dhole (20th century), the cheetah (the 1980s). It could be that the extinction rate is higher, especially in the centres of species diversity such as Baikal, the south of the Far East, the Caucasus and the Middle East.
These days to save the species diversity on the territory of Russia, around 13 thousand of specially protected natural areas of different levels and categories have been created, which serve as a home to 85% of plant and animal species that make the basis of the country’s biological diversity. However, everyone can help to solve the problem of biological diversity reduction just by being careful to the environment and its inhabitants.