Endangered Species Day is observed every third Friday of May for the sake of the many species around the world that have a "very high risk" of going extinct in the wild. 

It was created to be a day of "action and celebration," and on this day, people all around the world participate in events focused on these endangered species, hopefully learning more about them and spreading the message about their plight.

Such events and efforts are particularly important given the current "unprecedented" extinction rates. A million plant and animal species have been estimated to be threatened with extinction, many of which "within decades," according to a landmark 2019 United Nations (UN) report.

But as daunting as that may seem, there are still ways for people to make a change, even in their own little ways.

"The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global," Sir Robert Watson, former chair at Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), said, as per the UN. "Through 'transformative change,' nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably–this is also key to meeting most other global goals."

On this day, people can attend events to learn more about endangered species, whether animals, plants, insects, trees, corals or even fungi. They can find ways to help protect these species, for instance by making a donation to a conservation organization or perhaps even volunteering a bit of time to a nature center in their area. Some may even go on a simple nature walk to see just how beautiful nature is and how important it is to protect the species that inhabit it.

For the occasion, let's have a look at some significant quotes that may just inspire you to step up and take action for the world's endangered species. (Courtesy: AZ Quotes, Earth.Org and Treehugger)

  1. "We all have a responsibility to protect endangered species, both for their sake and for the sake of our future generations." – Loretta Lynch
  2. "The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on Earth, living or dead, as we now have. That lays upon us, whether we like it or not, an awesome responsibility. In our hands now lies not only our own future, but that of all other living creatures with whom we share the Earth." – Sir David Attenborough
  3. "And there is a growing number of people, especially young people, who are aware of these problems and are fighting for the survival of our only home, planet Earth. We must all join that fight before it is too late." – Jane Goodall
  4. "Look closely at nature. Every species is a masterpiece, exquisitely adapted to the particular environment in which it has survived. Who are we to destroy or even diminish biodiversity?" – Edward O. Wilson
  5. "Animals are, like us, endangered species on an endangered planet, and we are the ones who are endangering them, it, and ourselves. They are innocent sufferers in a hell of our making." – Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
  6. "We don't own the planet Earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife." – Steve Irwin
  7. "But if we stop trying, the chances are that pretty soon we'll end up with a world where there are no tigers or elephants, or sawfishes or whooping cranes, or albatrosses or ground iguanas. And I think that would be a shame, don't you?" – Martin Jenkins

Pangolins are among the world's most endangered species Pangolins are among the world's most endangered species Photo: AFP / Manan VATSYAYANA