Humans are the leading cause of biodiversity loss — but there are signs that some conservation efforts may be paying off, even as new animals face critical endangerment.
We’ve curated news and analysis you should read on the efforts to conserve key species.
- Brazil’s golden lion tamarins have rebounded, thanks to a conservation effort that has been ongoing since the 1970s. As of late July, researchers with Brazil’s Golden Lion Tamarin Association announced that their population had jumped to nearly 5,000. At one time, they numbered just 200. The success of the project can’t be pinned to one specific action, but biologists believe that a campaign to vaccinate the monkeys against yellow fever combined with an increase in their available habitat are among the factors. — The Associated Press
- A census conducted in India found that the country’s tiger population had jumped to 3,167 last year. Decades of conservation efforts have brought the species back from the brink of extinction, though they occupy just 7% of the land they once inhabited. The Indian government went to great lengths to save the country’s tigers: In some cases, entire villages were moved to make way for the cats. India has 53 tiger reserves, up from just nine when the project to save them began. — CNN
- Despite human efforts to save certain species, our outsized impact on the environment is still putting animals at risk. On Monday, the International Whaling Commission issued an extinction alert for the tiny vaquita, a porpoise-like mammal which lives off the Gulf of California. Entanglement in fishing nets is the leading cause of their decline, and it’s had an outsized impact on their numbers. A decade ago, there were 567 vaquitas in the area, but they now number just 10. — The Guardian
A report last month found that a sixth mass-extinction event — led by anthropogenic climate change — is likely to be worse than previously predicted.
Among the threats to species are habitat loss, human reliance on pesticides, and over-consumption through hunting or fishing. Some species are at greater risk than others, the report found. Amphibians are experiencing larger drops in their numbers than other classes of animals, and species that live in the tropics are also at higher risk than those from other regions.