“It’s extremely important that, as a writer, we give a voice to those who don’t have voices, including the other animals that we share the planet with and the places that are endangered or being lost.”–Alison Hawthorne Deming

World Wildlife Day is a great way to celebrate the progress of protecting endangered species and their habitats. Today, we can recognize the remarkable efforts of conservationists, scientists, neighbors, and ourselves, who are dedicated to preserving wildlife. Conservation efforts like practicing Meatless Mondays, building an Owl house, and carrying your own water bottle to reduce single-use plastic all help protect wild animals worldwide. This day also serves as a platform to raise awareness that everyone has a stake in continuing sustainable practices that ensure our treasured wildlife and, in doing so, the health of our planet earth.

Through committed conservation efforts, here are six animal species no longer considered endangered and ways you can help protect and increase their numbers.

Bald Eagle: The national bird of the United States was once on the brink of extinction because of DDT, an insecticide used to control mosquitoes. Hunting and power line electrocution also contributed to their decline. At one point, it was estimated that there were fewer than 1000 birds. However, due to the Federal Government in 1973, bald eagles were removed from the endangered species list, and their population has been steadily increasing. Today, it is estimated that there are over 316,000. Continuing restrictions are in place to ensure the bald eagle population continues growing and thriving.

Giant Pandas: These wild Giants were upgraded from endangered to vulnerable in 2016 because their numbers rebounded after years of decline. China, the main home of the wild pandas, adopted reforestation methods in the country’s highlands. Today, between 1800 and 2000, pandas live in protected reserves. However, more must be done to protect their habitat from infrastructure projects that destroy the bamboo forests they need for food.

Kiwi Bird (Northern Brown variety): Kiwis are the national bird of New Zealand. The northern brown kiwi variety was once on the brink of extinction. But thanks to a concerted conservation effort, they have been taken off the endangered species list. The operation involved collecting eggs from wild birds and hatching them in captivity. Once hatched, the chicks were released into protected, uninhabited areas. Today, there are over 20,000 northern brown kiwis thanks to this successful conservation effort.

Louisiana Black Bear: The Louisiana Black Bear was once endangered because of overhunting, deforestation, and water pollution. As its numbers dwindled, its plight inspired the teddy bear, named after President Teddy Roosevelt, who created the National Wildlife Refuge System in 1903. Thanks to this system and other conservation efforts, 750 to 1000 Louisiana Black Bears are thriving in their natural habitat today.

Peregrine Falcon: like the Bald Eagle, American Peregrines experienced a number plummet because of environmental pollutants, including DDT, the pesticide known to thin bird eggshells, preventing babies from fully developing. Once it was banned, Peregrines recovered in significant numbers. Today, there are about 3,000 breeding pairs in North America.

Eurasian Lynx: Through a selective breeding program, the Eurasian Lynx has been successfully reintroduced to its original home, Central Europe, where it was considered extinct for two hundred years. There are about 9000 to 10,000 Eurasian Lynx in Europe today. Hunted to extinction as a nuisance, the Lynx are keystone species that impact their territory by controlling the numbers of other species.

Too many animals continue to be added to the endangered list. There are now 41,415 species on the IUCN Red List, and 16,306 of them are endangered species threatened with extinction, including:

  • Monarch Butterfly
  • African Elephant
  • Black Rhino
  • Amur Leopard
  • Humpback Whale

If we save them, they save us.



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