On 20 December 2013, at the 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly declared 3 March of every year as International Wildlife Day. The reason behind declaring 3rd March as International Wildlife Day is the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITIES).The purpose of celebrating this day is to create awareness across the world for the protection of flora and fauna. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not endanger their existence. This convention came in to force in 1975 and 180 countries signed to ensure the protection of more than 35000 animals and plants species from unsustainable consumption and illegal trade.The species covered by this convention are divided into three appendices according to different degrees of protection requirements. Permit system regulates the trade of these species. Pakistan is a land of diverse species of plants and animals, which are essential for a healthy ecosystem in Pakistan. But these flora and fauna are under threats due to many reasons that include climate change, illegal trade and hunting, lack of healthy environment and over-consumption for commercial purposes. The wildlife department at the federal level is being managed under the Ministry of Climate Change. There are separate wildlife departments in provinces and federating units.There area number of initiatives taken by the federal government in Pakistan. Pakistan is a signatory to Convention on International Trade in Endangered species and fulfilling its obligations. But before becoming its signatory, Pakistan was conscious of protecting wildlife in the country. Pakistan took many initiatives that include the establishment of Wildlife Inquiry Committee in 1968 and later on National Council for Conservation of Wildlife in Pakistan. But still, concrete steps were missing to protect wildlife in Pakistan.March 3 was declared International Wildlife Day after the adoption of convention on International Trade in Endangered species of Wild Flore and FaunaThis gap was realised by former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, who inaugurated Green Pakistan Programme in 2017.He expressed grave concern about the high rate of deforestation and rapid decrease in wildlife population of the country and launched the initiative for reviving forestry and wildlife resources in the country. The programme on the revival of forest resources has an estimated cost of Rs 3.652 billion, whereas that on wildlife is Rs1.065 billion. Another critical initiative being taken by the present government is the formulation of First Wildlife Policy of Pakistan to provide guidelines to all provinces and federating units. It would be first policy in the history of Pakistan and even many countries in this region lack behind in this initiative.The theme of this year International Wildlife Day is ‘Big cats: predators under threat’. This slogan represents all type of big cats including cheetah, clouded leopard, jaguar, leopard, lion, puma, snow leopard, tiger etc. This year’s theme is directly linked to Pakistan. Pakistan is among twelve countries which are habitats of snow leopards. These countries include Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, China and the Central Asian States. The approximate population of snow leopards in Pakistan is about 200-300. Federal Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan was also elected chairman of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) programme after representatives of 12 countries voted in his favour in 2015.The snow leopards in Pakistan face many threats in the form of climate change, illegal hunting and commercial use, and inhuman treatment at many commercial places like zoos and circuses. The snow leopard population in Pakistan was listed as endangered species under International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species but due to efforts of the government and private sector, now has been declared vulnerable species. But still, efforts are required to protect this species from poaching and habitat degradation. Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan aims to establish Snow Leopard Information Centre under Green Pakistan Program.On International Wildlife Day, we need to spread awareness among masses across the world to play an active role to protect our wildlife, especially big cats for the healthy survival of our ecosystem.The writer is based in Islamabad and works on environmental issues. She can be reached at email@example.com. She tweets @zilehumma_1Published in Daily Times, March 1st 2018.