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2017: A year in review

Sara Thomas

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As we reflect on the last year, I'd like to thank you for your commitment to protecting wildlife and wild places. You signed petitions; called elected officials; marched in your streets; and met with your representatives, each other, and us to build an activism community for our planet.

Here's a look back at some of the incredible things you've helped accomplish this year.

WWF Advocacy by the Numbers

In 2017, World Wildlife Fund's activist base grew to over 7.2 million supporters who share WWF's mission to conserve nature and the diversity of life on Earth.

WWF activists spoke up and took action 2,199,329 times this year to help protect wildlife, communities, and spaces they call home.

Conservation Wins of 2017

Save the Last Vaquita

The vaquita campaign launched with three specific asks to President Peña Nieto of Mexico to help protect the species: (1) to permanently ban the use of gillnets in the Northern Gulf; (2) to increase enforcement of illegal fishing in the area; (3) to crackdown on illegally caught fish sent from Mexico, through the US, to China.

Our petition was signed by 236,818 WWF supporters around the world—resulting in the Mexican government announcing its commitment to enforce a permanent ban on gillnets in the Upper Gulf of California. Since then, WWF has continued to work with the Mexican government, partners, and local communities to remove 'ghost' gillnets from the Upper Gulf and other efforts to safeguard the vaquita's habitat.

Uphold the Seafood Traceability Rule

In 2016, the US government released a final rule to require traceability information on seafood before products enter the US to help prevent illegal fish from being laundered into US markets. But, in early 2017, the National Fisheries Institute and a group of US seafood companies filed a lawsuit to challenge this rule.

In August, the rule, which was supported by 760,795 WWF activists, was upheld by the federal court—helping ensure illegal fish products do not enter the US market. It will go into effect in January 2018, and importers of certain species will be required to provide specific information about their seafood products before bringing it into the US.

Save Vanishing Species Semipostal Stamp

The Multinational Species Conservation Funds play an important role in helping to protect the planet's remaining populations of elephants, rhinos, tigers, great apes, and marine turtles. To help boost these funds, Congress created the Save Vanishing Species Semipostal Stamp.

More than 38 million stamps have been sold, raising over $4.1 million for international conservation. This program was set to expire at the end of September, until it was announced that the United States Postal Services will continue to sell the stamp until December 31, 2018. Over 260,000 WWF supporters signed a petition telling their Members of Congress to support the stamp.

Speak Up for International Conservation Funding

In response to the Trump administration’s new budget proposal that significantly reduced foreign assistance funding, we encouraged activists to speak up for international conservation funding.

Nearly 1,050 supporters called their representative to ask them to sign on to a letter supporting the current funding for international conservation programs at the State Department, USAID, and other agencies.

We saw the direct impact of the 75 activists who participated in Lobby Day and the calls they made. Their advocacy resulted in a record number of Senators and House members voicing their support for international conservation, with the House bill funding WWF’s biodiversity priorities at levels equal to last year, and with even greater funding in the Senate.

Still In

When President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement, WWF worked with 2,500 businesses, communities, mayors, universities, and governors to lead a coalition for strong climate action. Supplementing that effort, 164,693 WWF supporters joined over one million activists globally to say they are still in for the fight against climate change.

In addition to the petition, immediately following the President’s announcement, we asked supporters to call their Senators in support of the Paris Agreement. Over 5,000 calls were made to all 100 Senators, amplifying the efforts of the Still In coalition.

WWF Activist Involvement

Panda Ambassadors

In 2017, the Panda Ambassador program grew to 140 Ambassadors in 35 states. In their local communities, Ambassadors have led WWF initiatives, including engagement in Earth Hour and Lobby Day, and have launched projects like hosting booths at local events, screening documentaries, and raising money for conservation efforts through Panda Nation.

Lobby Day 2017

Lobby Day 2017

Panda Ambassadors, Partners in Conservation, and WWF staff held 60 Congressional meetings at Lobby Day 2017 in March. Their efforts made a big impact, protecting critical biodiversity funds in the federal budget at a level equal to funds from last year’s budget.

People's Climate March 2017

People's Climate March 2017

Over 1,000 WWF activists mobilized among 200,000 marchers in Washington, DC and across the country for the People's Climate March in April. Activists also took action by calling their representative and asking for continued funding for international conservation programs, including those that assist climate mitigation efforts.

Thanks for your continued dedication to wildlife and wild places. You continue to be a driving force behind our conservation wins and achievements, and we are excited to see what we’ll achieve together in the new year.

  Sara Thomas  

Thanks for your continued support,

Sara Thomas

Director, Activism and Outreach

World Wildlife Fund