Positive Environmental News: 10 Recent Conservation Success Stories

September 11, 2021

 



I've been feeling more overwhelmed than optimistic recently, and with what seems like a relentlessly harrowing news cycle, it's not difficult to see why. So, it seemed like a good time to actively seek out some positive news. Not to distract from the bad - it's important to know what is going on so we can support where we can - but to remember that there are still good, helpful people all around the world working hard to create a better future for people and the planet. 



1. After disappearing centuries ago, wildcats are stalking the forests of the southern Netherlands once more. Their return is a result of rewilding efforts, where forest management favours nature over wood harvesting. 


2. In Bolivia, after 16 years of hard work, Asociación Armonía saw the 100th blue-throated macaw chick to fledge thanks to their nest box program. These 100 macaws make up around a fourth of the entire breeding population of this endangered bird, making this a huge victory!


3. Back in 1996, a breeding project was established in England to reintroduce ospreys, and this July, the team revealed the birth of the 200th chick! The project has helped the species to breed in both England and Wales, and is a success that shows us what is possible for nature's recovery.


"Success stories like this prove what's possible and help us to visualize how our countryside could look in the future - with wildlife in abundance, a rich tapestry of habitats, green corridors for species to move through landscapes, rivers and lakes free from pollution, and access to nature for all." - Rob Stoneman, director of landscape recovery for The Wildlife Trusts.

 




4. A piercing cry or croak could mean you are in the presence of the threatened kiwi. This is the sound that conservationists were so desperate to hear at the kiwi call count in New Zealand, and they were not left disappointed. 50% of sites that were silent in 2016 had kiwi calling in 2021, a testament to the community efforts to save this iconic species.


5. Beaver reintroductions have been all over the news for the past year or so, a cause for celebration as their return has improved water quality and boosted populations of fish, amphibians, and water voles. Now, the UK government is set to give them legal protection in England, which would come into force in 2022.


6. In Indonesia, maleo eggs are considered a delicacy, so are often dug up to be eaten or illegally sold, putting the species in danger of extinction. Local communities were determined to come to their rescue and began to protect nesting grounds from poaching and ensure that the birds could nest naturally and undisturbed, and now, maleo numbers are on the rise.


7. Earlier this month, the RSPB announced that cranes had bred in Oxfordshire for the first time in 500 years! Cranes had been attempting to breed at their Otmoor reserve for the past five years, and this year, efforts paid off and a fledgling has been sighted at the reserve.

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9. On the west coast of South Africa, populations of African penguins are on the decline due to lack of food. So, BirdLife South Africa, CapeNature, and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds have teamed up to save this beloved species. Although there is more work to be done to re-establish a penguin colony, there was cause for celebration in June when 30 juvenile penguins were released into the wild.


10. India was once home to an estimated 40 million vultures in the 1980s, a figure which dropped by almost 97% by the 1990s. This is mostly due to diclofenac fed to cattle, which poisons vultures when they feed on the carcasses. The Bombay Natural History Society are hard at work to save vultures and this year released the first captive-bred vultures into the wild with the hope of saving these keystone species.



"Optimism is not soft, it is gritty. Every day brings dark news, and no end of people tell us that the world is going to hell. To take the low road is to succumb. To take the high road is to remain constant in the face of uncertainty. That we may be confronted by barriers galore should not surprise anyone. That we may see worsening climate conditions in the short term should not surprise us. We have to elect to boldly persevere. With determination and utmost courage, we must conquer the hurdles in order to push forward." - The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac 

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