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World Wildlife Day: On the Hunt for Banknotes

Categories : Cash connects people, Cash is the most widely used payment instrument, Uncategorized
March 3, 2020
Tags : Banknote/Note, Cash
As we celebrate World Wildlife Day on 3 March, enjoy and journey through an expedition of banknotes across the world featuring beautifully varied wild plants and animals.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación

On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the wild animals and plants across the globe. This year’s theme ‘Sustaining all life on Earth’, aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals 1, 12, 14 and 15  to alleviate poverty, ensure the sustainable use of resources, and to conserve life both on land and under water in order to prevent biodiversity loss.

As we celebrate this year’s World Wildlife Day, CashEssentials is excited to take you on a journey through an expedition of banknotes from across the world, featuring varied wild plants and animals.



2019 saw the worst fires to hit the Amazon Rainforest. Since January 2019, a staggering 121,000 fires have burned through Brazil with more than half of those taking place in the Amazon, threatening millions of flora and fauna species.

Spanning more than 2 million square miles across northern South America, the Amazon Rainforest is home to around 30% of the world’s known species, including 390 billion trees (more than 50 times the number of humans on Earth) belonging to over 16,000 different species.

2 Brazilian Real

A Hawksbill Turtle, one of the five sea turtle species found on the Brazilian coast, can be seen swimming through the 2 Real banknote.

5 Brazilian Real

At the back of the 5 Real banknote is a photo of a Great Egret, a long-legged wading bird found in Brazil.

10 Brazilian Real

Not only found in Brazil, but in other Latin-American countries as well, the Greenwing Macaw – a large colourful parrot can be seen on the 10 Real banknote.

20 Brazilian Real

The Golden Lion Tamarin is native to the Atlantic forest in Brazil and is known to be a symbol of struggle for the preservation of endangered Brazilian species.

50 Brazilian Real

A beautiful Jaguar is on the prowl on the 50 Real banknote. Threatened with extinction, it is still mainly found in the Amazon Basin and in the Mato Grosso forests.



50 Fijian Dollars

The Tagimoucia can be seen hanging from the corner of Fiji’s 50 dollar banknote. This beautiful species of flowering plant is endemic to the highland rainforest of the Fijian island of Taveuni, and only grows in the cold volcanic region high up in the mountains. Fiji is home to about 800 species of plants found nowhere else in the world.

The Tagimoucia is close to the hearts of native Fijians as it is associated with one of the tales they grew up with. Legend has it that long ago, a princess loved another man despite being in an arranged marriage. She desperately fled her village and found herself by the shores of Lake Tagimoucia. Exhausted, she fell asleep with tears trickling down her cheeks and eventually turned into the beautiful red flowers. Tagimoucia means ‘to cry in your sleep’.

100 Fijian Dollars

The Cicadas, shiny-backed yellow-coloured tree bugs are a native to Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest and main island. These magnificent creatures only make an appearance in Fiji once every eight years but can be found circulating daily on the nation’s 100 Dollar banknote.



aruba currency, aruba banknotes, 25 aruban florin

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25 Aruban Florin 

Aruba’s 25 Florin banknote features an array of yellow shades surrounding the Aruban Burrowing Owl, also known locally as Shoco. Burrowing Owls get their common name from their unusual habit of nesting underground in already dug-out burrows, although they are known to occasionally dig out their own.

And here’s a little fun fact: this banknote was nominated for “Banknote of the Year 2019” by the International Banknote Society, alongside the 5 Pound of Northern Ireland and the 1000 Franc of Switzerland. However, less fun is the fact that this species is now endangered with estimates of less than 200 pairs remaining. While the owl is not currently protected in Aruba, many conservation efforts, such as by the Aruba Birdlife Conservation Foundation, are underway to ensure that it does not go extinct.



2000 malagasy ariary, madagascar currency, madagascar banknote

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2000 Malagasy Ariary 

Native only to the Island of Madagascar, Lemurs can also be found meandering on the country’s 2000 Malagasy Ariary banknote. These wide-eyed, furry creatures are, however, under threat of extinction as a result of destruction to their tropical forest habitat due to slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging, charcoal production and mining.



These banknotes highlight the beauty Mother Nature has to offer but environmental threats are increasingly prevalent, and there is an urgent need for governments, civil society, private sector actors and individuals to add their voices and take actions to help conserve wildlife and ensure its continued use is sustainable.

Like the environment, banknotes have also been facing its own issues. As much as digital payments have a place in the payments’ ecosystem, the use of cash shouldn’t fall under the threat of ‘endangered species’.