When nature is threatened and ecosystems are crumbling under increasing stress, it may seem as if hopelessness is the only way for endangered species – but there are encouraging conservation success stories out there to prove it isn’t all doom and gloom.
It is critically needed to rescue the world’s most endangered creatures from extinction. Continue reading to discover the life-saving initiatives that resulted in notable species comebacks and other success stories.
Encouraging Endangered Species Success Stories
It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of the seemingly endless reports of animal populations falling or species teetering dangerously close to the edge of extinction. Amid these dismal stories, it is essential to keep in mind that we can halt the deterioration of wildlife populations and even bring species back from the brink of extinction.
Here are some amazing conservation stories that demonstrate what can be accomplished when we all work together!
1. Whale Species
“Whales used to power the planet,” Jennifer Jackson explains in the British Antarctic Survey. This is no joke. Between the 19th and the late-20th Centuries, an estimated 2 million whales were hunted and killed for their meat, blubber, bones, oil, and fat.
Industrial whaling was put on hold in 1986 when species like the western South Atlantic humpback and Antarctic Blue whale were driven to extinction. Shortly after, global trade in whale products was forbidden, and subsistence whaling was restricted.
As a result, Humpback whales were commonplace and have nearly gone through wildlife conservation success stories in their pre-whaling levels. Gray whales have also made a comeback in the eastern Pacific.
See Related: Sperm Whale: Is This Animal Endangered?
2. England’s First Wild Beaver Colony
Beavers are intriguing creatures that are more vital than you may realize. Although beavers have been extinct in the UK for nearly 400 years, a small group was discovered in 2008 along the River Otter in Devon.
They’d escaped captivity and discovered favorable conditions. Researchers monitor eight family groups living near the river to determine how they help the local ecology. With their dams, they’ve even helped stop floodwaters from causing damage to nearby towns.
See Related: Most Polluted Rivers in the United States
3. Mountain Gorillas
Mountain gorillas were once thought to go extinct by the 20th Century. However, according to a new study, their numbers may be increasing for the first time in a long time.
Mountain gorilla numbers increased from 480 in 2010 to 604 in 2016 because of the continued conservation success story in East Africa’s Virunga Massif. The entire number of mountain gorillas in the world now exceeds 1,000!
While they remain on the endangered species list and are extremely sensitive to illness and human intervention, it’s a significant step forward.
4. Bald Eagles
Only 500 bald eagles could be observed soaring across America’s bottom 48 states in the 1960s. Dangerous pesticides and chemicals were sprayed into bald eagle habitats, thinning the eggshells and killing the young. In 1963, barely more than 400 breeding pairs of bald eagles were identified in the lower 48 states, the lowest documented number. Our national bird’s future seemed bleak!
Bald eagle numbers have now recovered to over 14,000 breeding pairs thanks to the Endangered Species Act’s protections.
See Related: Crowned Eagle
5. India’s Wild Tigers
More than 100,000 tigers roamed the earth a century ago; however, due to humans encroaching on their natural habitats and hunting them, the population of tigers in the world reached a record low of only 3,200 in the year 2010.
India is one of 13 countries working together toward the common aim of doubling the tiger population by the year 2022. Since 2015, it is believed that the wild tiger population in India has expanded by 33 percent.
See Related: Amur Tiger: Why is it Endangered?
6. Brown Pelicans
Habitat loss had a significant influence on brown pelicans. Once thought to be extinct in Louisiana, Pelicans have made a remarkable recovery thanks to the Endangered Species Act, with a population of 16,500 nesting pairs in 2014. The brown pelican was delisted in 2009 because of extensive reintroduction operations.
See Related: Endangered Species in California You Need to Know
7. Gray Wolves
There was a time when gray wolves lived all over the North American continent. However, by the middle of the 20th Century, there were only a few hundred left in the lower 48 states. This happened because of overhunting.
The Endangered Species Act gives gray wolves protection, so more than 6,000 can live in the lower 48 states. The success of the gray wolf conservation effort can be traced back to renewed efforts to save the species, such as spreading information about the animal to the general public, restoring habitats, letting wolves back into different areas, and giving ranchers a rebate for livestock that wolves killed.
See Related: Cruel Animals Around the World
8. Steller Sea Lions
The west coast of the United States is home to Steller sea lions. Drift nets, illegal hunting, offshore drilling, and oil prospecting are among the threats they confront. Their population fell to 18,000 in 1979, a new low, and the people continued to struggle.
They were listed as threatened animals in 1990 and were divided into east and west demographic areas. The western population struggled mightily, while the eastern population grew by 300 percent.
By 2013, the eastern population was no longer declared endangered, and efforts to improve the western population’s situation are ongoing. More than 70,000 Steller sea lions can currently be found in the wild.
See Related: How Do Animals Adapt to Their Environment?
The most recent census in 2014 found 1,864 wild pandas. Even while this is a small number, it improves over the historic low of 1,000 pandas in the 1970s.
The WWF inked the first agreement of its type with China in 1979 to assure the Chinese government’s support in saving the giant panda. The WWF and the Chinese Ministry of Forestry collaborated for a decade in the 1990s, establishing a management plan.
Counting panda numbers still takes a lot of human effort. Teams of 40 people journey through steep and rocky bamboo jungles, searching for panda tracks and traces. The panda has also become in worldwide conservation success stories, with the WWF adopting it as its logo.
FUN FACT: Did you know that China owns ALL of the pandas in the world?
See Related: Giant Panda: Why Is It Endangered?
10. Florida Panthers
According to a 1989 census, the Florida panther population had decreased to 30 to 50 animals. Habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation were all factors in the decline. The panther’s population is still under 250 animals, but it would be extinct if it weren’t for the Endangered Species Act.
11. Peregrine Falcons
The peregrine falcon population, which was once considered to be endangered, has increased as a direct result of efforts to reintroduce the species, maintain its habitat, and eliminate other dangers, such as the use of pesticides.
It is currently believed that there are 1,650 breeding pairs throughout the continent of North America. The peregrine falcon inhabits various environments and may be found on all continents except Antarctica. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act continues to provide legal protection for peregrine falcons.
12. Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers
In the 1960s, research projected that the red-cockaded woodpecker would vanish off the face of the earth due to human activities such as logging, deforestation, and the suppression of forest fires. These birds inhabit only approximately one percent of their historic habitat area, and fewer than 15,000 of them are left.
Restrictions were imposed on the loss of habitat, and since 1995, more than 2.5 million acres of private lands have been enrolled in conservation programs. These two factors have contributed to the woodpecker’s progress toward recovery.
See Related: Caspian Seal: Why Is It Endangered?
13. European Bison
Europe’s largest land mammal, standing about 2 meters tall and weighing up to a tonne, previously roamed from Spain to the Caucasus. The European bison has made a spectacular recovery since the last wild one was killed in Poland’s Biaowiea Forest in 1927 due to hunting and habitat loss.
In December of 2018, the status of the bison from vulnerable to near-threatened, as the species’ population has increased from 1,800 in 2003 to 6,200 in 2019. There are presently 47 herds that are allowed to roam freely in nations such as Germany, Poland, and Romania.
Nevertheless, only eight of these herds are large enough and genetically diverse enough to be self-sufficient. The current plan of action is to concentrate on expanding the existing small groups and assisting herds in connecting.
See Related: Most Endangered Animals of Europe
14. California Condors
These birds were saved from extinction thanks to the Endangered Species Act. California condors were once as few as ten in the wild in the 1980s but now number 435 worldwide, with 237 soaring over the Southwest.
See Related: California Condor: Why Is It Endangered?
15. Whooping Cranes
Only 50 whooping cranes remained when the species was declared endangered in 1967. Whooping cranes are still one of the most threatened animals in North America, but their recovery to approximately 603 specimens today is a testament to the progress that the Endangered Species Act facilitated. The two main threats whooping cranes face are the oil and gas industry and colliding with aerial power lines.
See Related: World’s Most Boring Animals
16. Green Sea Turtles
In 1990, the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge on Florida’s east coast was home to fewer than fifty green sea turtles. In 2013, almost 10,000 green sea turtle nests were found along this 20-mile coastline, making it one of our greatest conservation success stories.
17. Javan Rhinoceros
In 2010, the last of these Asian mainland forest rhinos was discovered dead in Vietnam, reportedly months after being shot. Its nemesis had been poaching and habitat loss because of agriculture, notably palm oil plantations, and expanding human populations.
Fortunately, roughly 50 rhinos escaped death in the Ujung Kulon National Park on the Indonesian island of Java.
Thanks to the Indonesian government’s efforts, there are now 74 in the park. Making their home a protected area and taming the invasive palm, Arenga obtusifolia, were among their top priorities.
According to the International Rhino Foundation, once this plant gains a foothold, it quickly pushes out other plants that rhinos like to eat.
See Related: Animals That Have Gone Extinct Due to Deforestation
How You Can Help Endangered Species
So, we’ve seen evidence that a little bit of elbow grease can genuinely save species from extinction and can even help them thrive! But what can you do to help?
As it turns out, TONS of things!
Visit a National Park, Wildlife Refuge, or Environmental Center
All creatures great and small; birds, mammals, fish, bugs, and plants native to these protected regions all benefit from having a place to call home. According to various scientific studies, the best method to save an endangered species is to save the habitats they can be found in.
Participate in the community by offering your time as a volunteer at an environment center or wildlife refuge in your area. If you don’t live near a center, you can observe local birds and animals at one of your neighborhood parks.
Make Your Home More Welcoming to Local Wildlife
Feed your pets indoors and lock the doors to their enclosures at night to prevent them from getting out and interfering with the local wildlife.
Also, store rubbish in sheds or trash cans with lids that can be locked. Otherwise, wildlife might get into something that could harm or kill them.
You may help wild animals that live in or near water by reducing the amount of water you use in your house and yard. This will give these creatures a greater chance of surviving.
Birdbaths should be washed and refilled frequently to prevent the spread of disease. Put stickers on windows to prevent birds from flying into them. Every year, the collisions of birds with windows cause the deaths of millions of birds. Putting decals on your home’s windows and place of business is a simple way to reduce the number of collisions.
Native plants offer food and shelter to the native animals in their ecosystem. Your plants may benefit from having more pollination if you attract native insects like bees and butterflies. The introduction of non-native animals has had a significant negative influence on local populations worldwide.
Native species are disadvantaged when competing for resources and habitat with invasive species. New species are even capable of directly preying upon indigenous species, which can hasten their demise.
Herbicides and pesticides may keep yards looking lovely, but they are dangerous chemicals that negatively affect animals. It can take a long time for many herbicides and pesticides to break down, which might cause them to build up in the soil or spread through the food chain. When predators like hawks, owls, and coyotes consume animals that have been poisoned, they too are poisoned.
Slow Down When Driving
Because so many animals choose to make their homes in developed places, they must learn to navigate an environment rife with dangers posed by humans. Roads present one of the most significant challenges for wildlife populations attempting to coexist with human development.
Any animal attempting to cross from one side of its habitat to the other has the constant risk of being injured or killed by a vehicle Therefore when you are out and about, take it easy and keep an eye out for any signs of animals.
Be Mindful of Your Purchases and Waste
Recycle your trash and buy products made from sustainable materials. To aid in conserving forest animals and plants, consider purchasing recycled paper and environmentally friendly goods such as bamboo and wood items certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Never purchase anything manufactured from wood that came from a rainforest either.
Recycle your cell phones and other electronics correctly. Electronics in landfills or oceans leak out harmful chemicals that can ruin the soil or water.
You should never buy anything that has been created using endangered or threatened species. A journey overseas may be thrilling and enjoyable, and everyone enjoys bringing home a souvenir from their travels. On the other hand, there are situations when the mementos are manufactured from endangered species. Avoid being a part of the illicit wildlife trade by not purchasing items such as tortoiseshell, ivory, or coral.
See Related: Easy Ways To Reduce Waste & Why It’s Beneficial
Take Measures to Preserve Natural Habitats
The widespread degradation of habitat is one of the primary dangers that many different species must contend with nowadays. According to scientists’ findings, the greatest method to save an endangered species is to save the unique habitats in which they can be found.
It is necessary to provide wildlife with sites where they may obtain food and shelter and raise their young. Habitat destruction is caused by logging, oil and gas drilling, overgrazing, and development. The habitat of endangered animals should be safeguarded, and these impacts should be kept to a minimum.
By preserving habitat, it is possible to safeguard individual species and entire communities of plants and animals. Protecting open areas in the vicinity of your community, such as parks, wildlife refuges, and other types of parks, is important.
Protecting local wildlife habitats and open spaces should have your community’s support. When looking to buy a home, it is important to think about how your actions will affect the local animal habitat.