We live in a time when many animal species around the world are facing extinction. Scientists warn that global climate change will have a great impact on many animals leading to the extinction of several species, and habitat destruction due to an expanding human population is also a major player in animal extinction.
Even though the news for many animal species may seem bleak, it is not all bad news. There are species that were once on the brink of extinction that are now recovering their numbers in the wild.
The brown pelican is a conservation success story. Before reintroduction programs began, and over 1,200 brown pelicans were reintroduced into the wild, the brown pelican had almost vanished in the wild. Certain pesticides had caused this bird’s eggs to have such thin shells that when the mothers sat on the eggs, the shells broke apart. Since the reintroduction program began, nearly 24,000 brown pelicans have hatched.
Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel
This little squirrel that soars through the air from tree to tree was reduced to ten members living in the wild in 1985. Their numbers were reduced due to intensive logging in their habitat area. Groups like the Nature Conservancy helped with forest regeneration, and the squirrel was reintroduced back into the wild. Now, the squirrels number over 1,100 individuals.
When a gray wolf population count was taken in 1960, there were only 300 gray wolves in the lower 48 states, and these wolves were scattered in isolated pockets within Wisconsin and Minnesota. There was also a small population at Isle Royale in Michigan.
Gray wolves were reintroduced into many parts of their former range including within Yellowstone National Park. Significant populations were also reintroduced within Idaho and Montana. The recovery of the gray wolf is a conservation highlight. When a new wolf census was conducted in 2013, the wolf numbers had increased to over 5,400 individuals.
Aleutian Canada Goose
The Endangered Species Act was instrumental in helping this goose come back from the edge. Foxes that were not native to this birds habitat had decimated the population leaving only 790 birds. The foxes were removed, and this goose now has over 100,000 individuals in the wild.
While many species are on the verge of extinction, concerted efforts by conservation organizations can make a remarkable difference.