Every day, another plant or animal species is added to the list of endangered species. There are times when it seems as if there is no hope for the survival of animals and the environment due to the news.
Despite this generally gloomy perspective, several wildlife conservation initiatives have been very effective and, in some instances, are taking plant and animal species out of the endangered category. This article examines some of the most influential global animal conservation initiatives.
Table of Contents
The US Fish and Wildlife Service said on March 3, 2016, that there are now more than 700 grizzly bears, up from 136 in 1975. More than twice as many of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming states are now home to these bears as they were in the 1970s, totaling around 22,500 square miles.
This recovery results from thirty years of collaboration between the federal, state, and tribal governments to accomplish protection as prescribed by the US Endangered Species Act.
At this announcement, the organization also suggested that the grizzly bear be taken from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.
The management and conservation activities in national parks and other protected areas wouldn’t be affected by the species’ delisting. However, it does imply that local governments in certain states may allow hunting again.
Elephants were listed as endangered on the Endangered Species List, and ivory was prohibited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species after years of suffering considerable population losses due to unsustainable hunting and ivory poaching methods.
Elephant numbers started growing in the 1990s due to conservation measures, especially in East Africa. However, the demand for ivory again surged when Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Botswana were granted a special permit for the one-time sale of ivory to China and Japan in 2008.
In the 2010s, elephant poaching reached historic levels, and population size again started dropping.
While it may not appear like a success story for conservation, it has resulted in two significant policy advancements. The US passed additional rules to make the illicit ivory trade in that nation more difficult.
This step paved the way for global policy action, and in December 2016, China said it would stop selling ivory domestically by the end of 2017.
Elephant populations throughout the globe have benefited dramatically from these prohibitions, and wildlife conservationists are optimistic that poaching incidents will eventually decline as well.
The IUCN announced in September 2016 that the giant panda would no longer be endangered. Its category has been reduced to vulnerable due to a 17% rise in population size.
This species’s natural population, indigenous to the bamboo woods of China, has increased from 1,600 in 2003 to around 1,850. Since the 1990s, conservation efforts to save the panda have entailed cooperation with the Chinese government and local populations.
The number of protected areas where the panda species are found has increased, and poaching has significantly decreased due to conservation measures for this species.
To preserve this species and stop it from becoming extinct, 67 panda reserves, comparable to national parks, can be found in China today.
In her book Silent Spring, released in 1962, Rachel Carson detailed the harmful effects of pesticide use on the ecosystem. The impact of DDT usage on bird populations was emphasized in the book. Premature bird deaths occurred in the US during this period owing to the bioaccumulation of DDT.
Carson wrote explicitly about the bald eagle, the US’s national bird, to draw in as many readers as possible. The national policy on pesticide usage and the general public’s perception of the significance of environmental protection has been changed due to Carson and her book.
DDT was outlawed in 1972, and the Environmental Protection Agency was soon after created.
As a result of the bald eagle population’s drastic decline, several regions of the nation reported just one nesting pair or, sometimes, that the local population had vanished.
This drop was influenced by several causes as well. Due to farmers’ perception that it posed a danger to their livestock, the bald eagle’s habitat underwent deforestation and was destroyed.
In the US, measures to save bald eagles included the prohibition of DDT, the outlawing of bald eagle killing, the protection of known nesting locations, the sanitization of rivers, and the reintroduction of bald eagles to their natural habitat.
The bald eagle was removed from the list of endangered species in 1995. The most recent US population estimate counted nine thousand seven hundred eighty-nine breeding pairs.
Tigers may be found in many different environments in South and Southeast Asia. Poaching and habitat destruction have led to a considerable decline in the number of wild tigers over the last 100 years.
Their worldwide population dropped from 100,000 to about 3,000 at one time. Wild tigers are now only present in 11 nations, compared to their original range of 23, due to severe habitat loss.
Conservation initiatives involving international organizations and different international governmental organizations have been started to keep track of wild tiger numbers, deter poaching attempts, and inform the public.
Extensive habitat protection zones were created due to these initiatives in several nations. For the first time in the history of conservation, there are more wild tigers on the planet today.
Three thousand eight hundred ninety people were counted as the most recent count, showing effective conservation measures.
The number of manatees off the coast of Florida had shrunk to only a few hundred by 1967. The US Fish and Wildlife Service responded by listing this species as endangered.
Manatees were at risk of being slaughtered as food, accidents on boats, and abruptly shifting temperatures, among other things. Red tides or algae blooms may be very harmful to manatees. Several rules were implemented to stop them from being killed for food and boating mishaps.
No-boating and no-wake zones were put in place by the state of Florida to deter boaters and slow them down. The Marine Mammal Protection Act also included the manatee in its list of protected species.
Nearly 50 years later, in January 2016, the organization said that this species would now be threatened. More than 6,300 manatees now live in Florida and around 13,000 manatees worldwide. The manatee will continue to be protected by present policies, notwithstanding its success.
The islands of Sumatra and Borneo are the only places where orangutans may be found in the wild. There were around 230,000 orangutans in the world about 100 years ago. Now, there are just 112,000.
Poaching has been a danger to the orangutan population for several reasons, including providing food for people, stopping them from ruining farms, and selling them as illegal pets. In addition, many orangutans have perished due to habitat loss and deforestation.
Since the 1970s, there have been continuous initiatives to conserve orangutans, focused on habitat preservation, sustainable logging methods, anti-poaching, and banning the pet trade. Even though this species is still endangered, significant achievements have been made.
The work of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation is very significant. This group has successfully returned 250 orangutans into the wild in protected locations; many of these released orangutans were rescued and rehabbed.
To prevent the extinction of this species, continuing efforts are being made in the areas of rescue, rehabilitation, and release.
The Hawaiian crow, which was virtually extinct in the wild until recently, is maybe one of the most prominent success stories in animal conservation.
The Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers were home to the last two Hawaiian crows between 2002 and 2016. A bird that used tools, this species was exterminated by invading predators, farmers, illness, and habitat destruction.
The conservation center has been trying to get this species back into the wild for a year. Working with the Three Mountains watershed partnership to save the natural wetlands and woodlands of the birds has been a part of these efforts.
To guarantee a successful reintroduction, the conservation team has also been undertaking public education outreach with nearby communities, farms, and schools.
Five Hawaiian crows were released into the wild in December 2016, and by consuming and disseminating native Hawaiian plant seeds, they have a significant ecological impact. There will be continued attempts to conserve and reintroduce this species.
Nonprofits and governments all across the globe are celebrating substantial advancements in land preservation initiatives in addition to the success stories in wildlife conservation.
Some of the developments are listed below: Browns Canyon (21,589 acres), Berryessa Snow Mountain (330,780 acres), Basin and Range (704,000 acres), and the Sawtooth and Jerry Peak regions are among the wild places that the US government declared as national monuments and recreation areas in 2015. (275,000 acres).
In an attempt to save the Great Barrier Reef, Australia outlawed the dumping of dredge materials. The National Wildlife Federation attained over 200,000 recognized habitats in its Gardens for Wildlife Program.
As they guarantee the safety and preservation of habitats and ecosystems for many plant and animal species, these activities are essential to the success of wildlife conservation initiatives.