The results of environmental protection and conservation don’t just happen overnight. Sometimes it can take decades before we slowly begin to see the results of our hard work. Because of this, many skeptics wonder whether the efforts we have been making to preserve our natural world are really working.
However, the endangered species list gives us a little peek into how our decades-long efforts to reverse the damage humans have done to our natural world are beginning to pay off.
In recent years, dozens of animals have been removed from the endangered species list thanks to the tireless efforts of conservation organizations. Thanks to things like habitat restoration, poaching protections, and other environmental protection work, these animals are bouncing back from the brink of extinction and once again starting to thrive in the wild.
Stellar Sea Lion
In the 1970’s, Stellar Sea Lion populations began to sharply decline due to overfishing of their primary food sources as well as habitat destruction due to both natural and human-caused disasters. In 1990, they were officially placed on the endangered species list.
Thanks to renewed fishing regulations and environmental protections, the Stellar Sea Lion has made a stellar comeback! Experts estimate that there are now over 70,000 of these sea lions currently thriving in the wild.
North American Grey Wolf
The North American Grey Wolf is one of the most impressive comeback stories in recent memory. Placed on the endangered species list in 1970 due to intentional hunting, barely 300 were still roaming the woods of Michigan and Minnesota at this time.
However, thanks to the Endangered Species Act of 1974, hunting of these animals became illegal and they began to make a spectacular comeback. By 2011, they were officially removed from the endangered species list and continue to thrive in Canada and the United States.
Lesser Long-Nosed Bat
This tiny bat was driven to the brink of extinction due to habitat loss. In the 1990’s, only 1,000 of them were known to still exist. However, thanks to habitat protections, these bats have made a comeback, which is not only a win for the biodiversity of our planet, it’s also a win for tequila makers. These bats pollinate the blue agave plant, a favorite variety for making vegan-friendly tequilas.
Louisiana Black Bear
The Louisiana Black Bear was another animal suffering from both habitat loss and intentional hunting, but thanks to the Endangered Species Act, it has bounced back and was officially taken off the endangered species list in 2016.
North American Bald Eagle
Bald eagles, a national symbol of the United States, was driven to the brink of extinction due to habitat loss, hunting, and the widespread use of DDT in commercial agriculture. When birds are exposed to high levels of DDT, it weakens the eggshells they produce, making it incredibly difficult for them to reproduce.
Thanks to bans on the use of DDT and habitat protection efforts, the bald eagle has made a stunning comeback, and was removed from the endangered species list. There are now over 10,000 successfully breeding pairs of bald eagles in the wild today.
Another victim of the widespread DDT use of the 1950’s and 1960’s was the brown pelican. Its numbers dwindled so low people were concerned it had become extinct. However, thanks to the DDT ban, their numbers have exploded once more and they are no longer on the endangered species list.
Humpback whales were driven to the brink of extinction due to the commercial whaling industry that persisted for most of the 19th century. Thanks to a ban on commercial whaling in 1982 in tandem with habitat protections, the humpback whale communities are thriving once more.
Just like the humpback whale, the fin whale was also driven to the near-extinction due to commercial whaling. And thanks to the same bans and protections, the second-largest species of whale on earth has nearly doubled its population in the last 50 years and is no longer endangered.
Thanks to devastating habitat losses, the giant panda was driven to near extinction by the 1960’s, with nearly no animals still existing in the wild. Thanks to habitat restoration efforts and careful repopulation programs, there are now more than 3,000 giant pandas in the wild today and they have been removed from their “endangered” status. They are still a threatened species, but experts are hopeful that continued efforts will restore this magnificent animal to the thriving population it once was.
Less than 20 years ago, there were only 25 blue iguanas left in the world. Their population decimated by habitat loss, this beautiful animal was nearly extinct by the time conservationists stepped in and began to restore their natural environment. Now, over 1,000 of them are thriving in the Cayman Islands, and they have officially been removed from the endangered species list.
You can help conserve the natural habitats for these and many more animals by purchasing products from companies dedicated to producing plastic-free, sustainable products that don’t contribute to deforestation or pollution. RIO not only helps you stock up on sustainable goods but is also dedicated to using the proceeds to rid our oceans of plastic once and for all and preserve our natural ecosystems for generations to come.