Species extinction, it is normally within the context of making an attempt to stop it from happening. All over the world, many nations, and worldwide organizations grant authorized protections to species getting ready to die out. Humans are good at a lot of things when you think about it. Sadly, it seems one of our greatest achievements is the ability to kill off vast quantities of plants and animals. We have pushed whole species to extinction, but on occasion, we have been able to bring some back from the brink. Granted, it’s rare, but thanks to conservation efforts, captive breeding programs, and legislation protecting our environment, we have been able to stave off extinction for some of our animal friends. The following are some species we pushed to the brink of extinction but kept from going over the edge. Here are 5 species humanity saved from extinction.
Arabian Oryx, often called the Arabian unicorn, was listed as extinct in the wild by the early 1970s thanks to excessive hunting. Fortunately, there were small populations of the Arabian Oryx spread about in zoos across the globe, which pushed conservationists to launch Operation Oryx, with the goal of breeding and reintroducing populations into the wild. The Phoenix Zoo began the project alongside the Fauna and Flora Preservation society of London, with help from the World Wildlife Fund.
Since the project began in the 1960s, the Phoenix Zoo alone has successfully seen more than 240 births, and by 1980, they had enough animals to reintroduce them into the wild.
Przewalski’s horse is rare and currently listed as Endangered, but they were completely extinct in the wild by 1966. All existing individuals are descendants from nine of 31 horses captured in 1945. Those horses were held in captivity, and their progeny were used in a breeding program initiated around the time they went extinct in the wild.
The breeding program established by the Zoological Society of London alongside Mongolian scientists intent on bringing the horses back to the wild, those nine horses have helped to reestablish the Przewalski’s horse back into its habitat, with more than 2,000 horses by 2016. A separate population was also introduced into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in 1998, with the express purpose of keeping the horses in an area devoid of humans.
Amur leopard is the rarest subspecies of leopard on Earth, thanks to the illegal wildlife trade that prizes their pelts, which can go for as much as $1,000 on the black market. They are native to the Primorye region of Southeastern Russia and a small part of China, where they are poached for their fur. The IUCN listed then as Critically Endangered due to their near-extinction in the wild. By 2015, it was estimated that less than 60 individuals remained in Russia and China.
Conservation efforts have been ongoing since 2007 with captive breeding programs, due to the belief that the wild population’s gene pool is so reduced that they are at risk from inbreeding depression. Their survival is further threatened by civilization encroaching on their natural habitat and the poaching of their prey. Captive populations of the Amur leopard have reached levels approaching reintroduction, with 173 recorded in 2011. Since conservation and reintroduction efforts began, the wild population increased to 103 individuals by early 2018.
People recognize Bald Eagle as the national bird and national animal of the United States of America, but many don’t realize that it was once on the edge of extinction. When the nation was founded, there were hundreds of thousands of nesting pairs of bald eagles, but by the 1950s, that number had dropped to only 412 in the contiguous United States. The National Wildlife Federation listed hunting as the primary reason for the decline in 1984, with additional blame being placed on DDT, a pesticide, which has since been banned. Conservation efforts were put into place, and by 2006, 9,789 breeding pairs were reported by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The bald eagle was finally removed from the federal government’s list of endangered species in 1995 when it was reclassified from Endangered to Threatened. In 2007, it was completely removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife with the new classification of Least Concern by the IUCN.
Humpback whale was nearly hunted to extinction via the whaling industry. When it became apparent that the whales were nearly gone and would not be able to recover without help, the planet got together and instituted a delay on hunting whales in 1966. By this time, more than 90% of the total population of humpback whales had been destroyed, leaving as few as 5,000 individuals.
Since 1966, the whales have made an amazing comeback. Unlike the other animals on this list, a captive breeding program isn’t possible for an animal that weighs an average of 36,000 kilograms. So much of the work that went into preserving the species involved keeping people from killing them. While they still succumb to occasional poaching and often become entangled in fishing gear, the population of humpback whales has increased to an estimated 40,000 individuals, which is significant but only one-third of their pre-whaling levels.
These were the top 5 species humanity saved from extinction. Missed out on any other species that humanity save form extinction? If yes, share your thoughts in the comment section below.