Conserving Endangered Animals


Human activity, pollution, hunting and poaching have destroyed a lot of the world's flora and fauna. These activities, along with global warming, are responsible for endangering some species and causing others to become extinct. But even in this grim scenario, conservation efforts have brought back a few animals from their almost extinct status. RobinAge tells you more about three such species.

The return of the wild oryx to the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula is considered as a great conservation success story. The latest International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species states that the wild population of the two-horned antelope species now stands at around 1,000, nearly 40 years after the last wild oryx was hunted and killed. The species is now listed in the 'Vulnerable' list and this is the first time an animal listed in the ‘Extinct in the Wild’ list has improved its status by three categories. This has been possible because of the conservation efforts that began in 1982 in Oman. The oryx were successfully released back into the desert habitats of the country and then in regions of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel and Jordan. Locally known as Al Maha, the Arabian oryx uniquely adapts to living in harsh, dry environments and has the ability to smell water from miles away.

Whooping cranes had almost vanished in the mid-20th Century when the 1941 count showed that there were
only 16 living birds. Captive breeding programmes have boosted their numbers and successful reintroduction
efforts have raised the number of wild birds to over 200, with roughly the same number living in captivity.
At one time, the range for these birds extended throughout Midwestern North America. The whooping crane
is still one of the rarest birds in North America. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed that 266
whooping cranes made the migration to Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge in 2007.

By the mid-1970s, there were around 1,000 pandas left in China, many of them restricted to small strips of forest that surrounded agricultural lands. The Chinese government, with help from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and foreign conservationists including legendary wildlife researcher George Schaller, began a serious study of pandas in order to figure out how to save them. Scientists estimate that now there are around 2,000 giant pandas in the mountains of central China. Another 200 giant pandas live in zoos and breeding stations. Giant pandas are among the rarest of the world's living mammals. The conservation of giant pandas was possible due to the Chinese government's strict poaching laws and provision of suitable habitats.

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