island conservation preventing extinctions success

Five Conservation Success Stories to Celebrate

Revisiting conservation success stories is an important way to celebrate accomplishments even when there is more work to be done.

Conservationists always have more work to do, but giving pause to remember and celebrate victories is important and rewarding. Today, we’re sharing five conservation success stories to help spread and amplify the joy of conservation.

1. South Island Takahē population triples in 30 years

New Zealand’s native South Island Takahē was presumed extinct for almost fifty years until a population was discovered in 1948. Predation by invasive species has made population recovery slow but the conservation efforts have allowed their population to triple in the past three decades.

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Conservationists release Takahe into the wild. Credit: NZ Department of Conservation

2. New Critically Endangered Crested Tern population discovered

Exciting discoveries are made every day, but for the Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Tern a new population is especially uplifting, as it means hope for species recovery. On an island in South Korea, a routine bird survey uncovered a new population in a region the species has never before been observed. Researchers believe that habitat expansion could help save them from extinction.

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Chinese Crested Terns incubating an egg. Credit: Oregon State University

3. Wisdom hatches another chick

Midway Atoll is home to a world of seabird biodiversity. One of the best known species is the Laysan Albatross which breeds on the island every year. ‘Wisdom’, the oldest known wild bird at age 66, recently hatched yet another chick. It is estimated that she has had 30-35 offspring in her life and she’s showing no signs of ending her incredible track record.

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Wisdom the Laysan Albatross and her new chick. Credit: Naomi Blinick/USFWS

4. Goat Islands saved

The Goat Islands, located off the coast of Jamaica, have been preserved as habitat for the Critically Endangered Jamaican Rock Iguana. The species has been under pressure due to the presence of invasive species, habitat destruction, and hunting. A plan to develop the Goat Islands threatened to dismantle breeding and relocation plans. Good fortune befell the rock iguanas when development plans were dropped. The iguanas will be able to relocate to the Goat Islands after all.

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Researchers began a captive breeding program to boost the Jamaican Rock Iguana population. Credit: Robin Moore

5. Dibbler found not to be extinct, released into a safe island habitat

The Endangered Dibbler, a small marsupial, was once believed to be extinct. However, researchers discovered that a small population persisted, though at high risk of collapse due to predation by invasive feral cats and foxes. Conservationists stepped in and released 35 Dibblers onto Gunton Island where they could live free of threats from invasive predators. Dibbler monitoring allows researchers to identify individuals and track population growth.

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The Endangered Australian Dibbler. Credit: Emma Massenbauer

Conservationists are hopeful for the recovery of these species from their threatened and endangered statuses. Although new projects always drive us forward in conservation, the positive impacts we have already achieved together are greatly deserving of recognition and celebration.

Featured photo: Endangered South Island Takahē. Credit: Kerri-Lee Beasly

About Emily Heber

Emily is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Zoology. As a student, she discovered that she had a passion for the conservation of endangered species and their ecosystems. Her background in informal education has allowed her the opportunity to share her passion for animals with others, something she seeks to continue doing while working with the communication team. In her spare time, Emily enjoys exploring the amazing hiking trails found in Santa Cruz and tries to SCUBA dive whenever possible. Emily is excited to join the Island Conservation team and to help share the amazing work that is being done here.

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