Almost a year ago, I was looking back on 2011 and considering some of the species we had lost. Now as we contemplate the completion of another year, I thought it might be nice to see what we’ve managed to save. Are there species which, through the efforts of dedicated conservationists, have been able to come back from the brink?
As before, my source is the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, which keeps track of conservation status for all our planet’s previously and currently threatened species. The IUCN Red List is updated regularly, with species statuses ranging from least concern (species that are doing well) to critically endangered (about to disappear), and even extinct.
Poring through the summary table for species status category changes, I’ve sought out species that have become more plentiful and stable over the course of 2012. If you look for it, it seems there is a little good news out there to be found.
The Steller sea lion, which was critically endangered, has now had its threat level downgraded to near threatened, the lowest category of danger (other than least concern). The attractive marine creature is found primarily in Northern seas, and in greater numbers today than the same time last year.
It’s true, we tend to be more interested in our mammal cousins than more distant taxa. There’s a reason tigers and panda bears are the poster children for conservation efforts, though I don’t know if it’s the soft fur or mammary glands. Whatever the reason, to all you nipple-bearers out there: this one’s for you.
Steller sea lions are more plentiful than last year. (Photo credit: Kevin Bell – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)
Photo credit: Kevin Bell - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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