Celebrating the Conservation Victories of 2015
2015 brought plenty of good environmental news to go around, and the world of conservation was no different. Here are some of the stories we celebrated on social media this year.
The Birds and the Bees
Everyone loves honey bees! They’re essential to our lives — much of food we eat is pollinated by bees. Unfortunately, pesticides, habitat loss, and other factors have contributed to population declines. That’s why we were excited when we heard that the Obama administration had put together a plan to protect bees — and other pollinators.
The good news continued in September when an insecticide that was harming our striped friends was banned.
Monarch butterflies have been facing problems with their migration and populations dropping, but a report out in November suggested that their population may be on the increase.
The graceful whooping crane has faced challenges over the years, but there’s an intense, dedicated program that’s helping these birds make a comeback.
Under the Sea
Our oceans are under threat from a variety of factors, but this year saw so much good news, from increasing wildlife populations to the protection of large swaths of the seas.
In March, the world’s largest marine reserve was announced around the Pitcairn Islands in the Pacific Ocean, protecting an area bigger than the state of California.
A few months later, right during Shark Week, another new marine sanctuary was announced in the Philippines:
In October came news of two new nations protecting oceans around them, Chile and Palau.
There were some great wildlife victories as well, starting with the growing population of orcas in Puget Sound — there were many babies born this year, starting with this one in February:
In some good news for animals in captivity, California placed a ban on captive breeding of these intelligent mammals. This only affects SeaWorld in California, so we hope more states will follow suit.
Sharks may be feared by humans, but it’s really the sharks that have more to fear from us. This year, there was some good news for our finned friends, especially when it came to shark finning. In June, Texas became the tenth state to ban shark finning.
Even a corporation joined in — UPS banned shark fin shipments in August!
Comeback stories are the best and loggerhead turtles wanted a turn this year:
It wasn’t just the oceans — forests, and mountains, and many other places were home to good news! A census of tigers early in the year revealed that India’s tigers were doing well:
Not to be outdone, the wild panda population in China was also on the rise.
Rhinos haven’t been doing well lately because of illegal wildlife trafficking, but a daring operation featuring the world’s largest rhino airlift was meant to give these iconic creatures a better chance at survival.
Wildlife trafficking is a problem for many species, unfortunately. The unique-looking pangolin is the world’s most trafficked animal. Not surprisingly, it’s critically endangered. In November, a whole bunch of these scaly critters were rescued and released back into the wild.
And back in the United States, endangered gray wolves, vital to the environment but threatened by poaching, habitat loss, and diminishing protections, thumbed their noses to all of that as they expanded into new (old) territory:
Originally published at www.greenpeace.org on December 23, 2015.