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5 Near-Extinct Animals Being Saved By Conservation

Photo courtesy of Camelia TWU via Flickr

We hear a lot about the threats to nature and our planet, much of which is of real concern. But lest we fall into the pit of the despair that is bad news, it’s worthwhile to take a look at what’s getting better in the world.

The environment is not a lost cause, so long as efforts exist to conserve land and the wonderful creatures that roam upon it. Some animals are thriving due to conservation efforts, and this remarkable sign of progress should not be ignored.

Here are 5 pieces of good news about conservation worth smiling about.

1. Baby tortoises were born on the Galapagos Islands for the first time in a century.

In January 2015’s issue of Nature, three researchers documented their finding of newly-hatched saddle-back tortoises on the Galapagos island Pinzon.

The new batch validates over 50 years of conservation efforts, and a successful campaign to rid the island of rats, which preyed on the hatchlings prior to their eradication in 2012. The population has, since the 1950s, grown from 100-200 old tortoises to well over 500.

2. In India, the wild tiger population has risen by 58 percent in seven years.

India is home to 70 percent of the world’s tigers, and though more money is spent conserving the species than any other, results have been limited — that is until recently, when India’s tiger census announced an increase of 1,441 to 2,226 in the past seven years.

3. Giant panda population has risen by 16 percent in the last decade.

Over the past 10 years, the number of giant pandas in the wild has increased by 268, resulting in a total of 1,864. The population increase is in no small part to China’s preservation efforts — the country has more than doubled its panda nature reserves since 2003, of which there are now 67.

4. The world’s rarest wild cat doubled in number.

Russia’s rare Amur leopards, of which there were just 30 in 2007, number nearly 60 individual cats in the most recent census. Though still in danger of extinction, the growth is a hopeful trend that conservationists hope to sustain next by establishing a Sino-Russian transboundary nature reserve.

5. Numbers of California Blue Whales bounced back to 97 percent of past numbers.

After undergoing poaching in the 1900s that diminished their population to dangerously low levels, the world’s largest living creature, in its California set, has nearly reached pre-whaling levels. Scientists tracked the whales by distinct location and song; now, they have to figure out how to keep them from getting hit by ships.

We measure success by the understanding we deliver. If you could express it as a percentage, how much fresh understanding did we provide?
Jennifer Markert