In the past few months, uplifting news has been hard to come by. Combined with unrest abroad and an election whose negative aspects have captivated the news, it’s easy to feel as though the past year has been a dreary one. Yet the past few months have not been without some positive change, even if it hard to spot. One beautiful piece of news is that some of the worlds largest, most lovable and goofy animals have made it off the endangered list.
That’s right, both pandas and manatees have just recently been moved from “endangered” to “vulnerable.” This is great news for a few reasons. First and foremost, its great news that these animals will not become extinct. For generations to come, men and women of all ages will be able to enjoy these animals, both in the wild and in zoos across the world.
Alongside the simple and important fact that these animals will now be around for the foreseeable future, it, almost more importantly, proves that conservation efforts can be effective. Conservation efforts have long been thrown into question, for their efficacy, but successes like these are important indicators that conservation efforts can go a long way in increasing and preserving bio-diversity. Especially important is the preservation of the panda. Besides being beloved by the internet and being cute and culturally significant, they have also been the front man for conservation efforts for a long time. Their removal from the endangered list is a victory for conservation: a symbol of which has not gone unnoticed.
The President of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has since stated, “For over 50 years, the giant panda has been the globe’s most beloved conservation icon as well as the symbol of WWF. Knowing that the panda is now a step further from extinction is an exciting moment for everyone committed to conserving the world’s wildlife and their habitats,” the president, Yolanda Kakabadse said, in a quote from the WWF website.
This bodes well for other species for whom conservation could be their last hope at recovery. Take for example tigers, (different species grouped together on the WWF website). There are roughly 4,000 tigers left in the wild across the entire globe, and they are registered as endangered. With poaching still a very tangible threat to tiger population and human encroachment at an all-time high, things only seem to be looking down for tigers. Their pelts have been a luxury good since ancient times, falling into the same hyper expensive category of goods as silk and nard. This could be the perfect recipe for extinction of tigers.
Yet the WWF and other foundations have been working hard on conservation, protecting habitats and working to end the black markets for poached goods and illegal items.
The success of conservationist in the case of pandas, one of the most critically endanger mammals on the planet, gives hope for the tiger and for other species that are struggling for survival. If the pandas can come back, along with manatees and several other animals, why not tigers? Why not white rhinos?
Simply put, against the many endangered species, successfully conserving one seems a small victory. Yet, the real victory lies in the fact that conservation can work and now has.
We can rest a little easier not only knowing that some of the largest and entertaining animals, on land and in water, will be around for a while longer yet, but that their success brings nothing but hope to the plight of other animals endangered around the world. Hopefully efforts to save other endangered animals will be successful