This year, World Wildlife Day (WWD) will be celebrated with the theme “Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration”. The United Nations (UN) celebrates this day every year and has stated that this year’s theme will draw attention to the conservation status of some of the most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora. The aim is to drive discussions towards imagining and implementing solutions to conserve them. World Wildlife Day has been celebrated over the years to raise awareness about wild animals and plants around the world.
As we talk about conservation this year, it’s heartening to know that through dedicated protection efforts, education and funding, a small handful of endangered animals have come off the Endangered Species list over the past few years. Hence, in recognition of World Wildlife Day, we bring to you some good news! Here are a few of the species whose fates have been changed for the better!
In 2016, the giant panda bear — a common symbol of conservation for over 50 years, especially being the inspiration behind the World Wildlife Fund logo — was officially struck off the endangered list. Their population in the wild jumped to just over 1,800. In 2016, the Giant Panda was officially downgraded from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’. Forest protection and reforestation measures in China are some of the major reasons behind this positive change, resulting in over 2,000 of these animals now living wild in protected reserves across the country.
Also check out this exciting nature and wildlife quiz
Technically, this species was once said to be extinct. The last remaining Arabian Oryx or commonly called the Arabian Unicorn was reportedly shot in Oman in 1972. However, in an effort to change their fate, a team called Operation Oryx had been set up to try and bring this species back from the brink. Capturing the last remaining few animals and breeding them in captivity, the Oryx was slowly released back into the wild in the year 1982. Today, there are more than 1,000 Arabian Oryx alive and roaming in the wild and nearly 6,000 – 7,000 said to be kept in semi captivity.
The gray wolf was put on the endangered list back in the 1970s and remained there for the following 35 years. In 2011, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reported that the wolf population had bounced back, with more than 5,500 of those animals now living in the United State’s wilderness. However, there have been recent announcements to delist the species completely from the Endangered Species Act (EDA), which could mean that hunting could soon be resumed, and their numbers could once again be threatened.
It is the state animal of Louisiana, and is one of 16 subspecies of the American mountain bear. By 1980, over 80 per cent of the bears’ environment had been changed or pulverised, and in 1992, the Louisiana black bear was recorded as threatened in its notable range. Then in 2016, this species was declared as no longer threatened and was delisted. The past years have seen 700,000 acres of habitats restored in an effort to save the bears. What has been the result? Today between 500 to 750 of them exist in the wild.
We could say that grey whales have literally come back from the edge of extinction. In the mid 1900s, with the creation of manufacturing plant ships, which prepared whales on board the vessels, whale hunting was a common practice. Consequently, the species rapidly dropped to less than 2,000. Protection came in around 1946 through a universal consent to quit hunting these whales. Since that time, the number has risen to 26,000 – back to what it had been before modern-day whaling. Thus, they have no longer been endangered since 1994.
Check out this video on endangered species:
Do you know about more animals that have made such massive comebacks from getting endangered? Tell us in the comments below.
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