Every two seconds, an area of rainforest the size of a football field is cleared by humans; poaching continues to threaten species such as the Black Rhino and Bengal Tiger, and plastic and rubbish fill the world’s oceans. Today, it is estimated that 52 percent of wildlife has already disappeared from the face of the earth over the past 40 years, with many of those losses the result of human interference. However, thankfully not all human activity is detrimental to our planet’s endangered species.
In recent years, more and more conservation programmes have been put in place to try and save some of our most threatened animals from extinction. Here are some of the success stories…
1.The Gray Wolf
The war between humans and wolves has been raging for years. While it is the wolf that has the reputation for being a ruthless and efficient hunter, nothing could match the brutality of human hunters. After having a range that spread across the 48 lower states of America in the early 1900s, the Gray Wolf was reduced to just a small population in northeast Minnesota and Michigan. It was not until the 1960s that the true impact of hunters on Gray Wolf populations was understood.
In 1973, the Gray Wolf was given protection, and this has gradually led to the recovery of the species. Although numbers are nowhere near where they were, at least they’re now starting to go the right way, with 5,000 individuals once again inhabiting America’s lower 48 states.
2.The Giant Panda
One of the world’s best-loved animals is the Giant Panda, but unfortunately, this distinctive animal is also very slow to reproduce. This, combined with the impact of human interference and the loss of panda habitat, has led to the decline of these wonderful creatures. In fact, in the late 1970s, panda numbers were down to just 1,000. However, thanks to ongoing efforts from conservationists, the Giant Panda population had increased to 1,864 at the last count in 2014.
3.The Mountain Gorilla
It was not until 1902 that the first non-African encountered a mountain gorilla, but since then a combination of habitat destruction and hunting has driven this primate to the brink of extinction. Without the conservation efforts of a dedicated group of people, the Mountain Gorilla would undoubtedly already be extinct.
Thankfully, the work of conservationists has shined a light on the plight of the gorilla and a number of programmes have been created to protect the gorilla and educate the local population. Although there are still only 880 Mountain Gorillas currently in the wild, this number is now slowly on the rise.
Although these three species have made a comeback, there are still many more that are currently on the brink. Due to human interference, we are currently losing between 200 and 2,000 species every year, so we all need to do our bit to protect more of the creatures we are so incredibly lucky to share this planet with.