World Animal Day happens annually on 4th October all over the world. Their mission is "to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe." We wanted to celebrate this World Animal Day by taking a look at the hard work of animal charities all over the world to bring back many species from the brink of extinction. These are some of our favourite conservation success stories...
Just 10 years ago, wild tigers were rapidly heading towards extinction. At the start of the 21st century there were an estimated 100,000 tigers in the wild. But in 2010 tiger numbers in the wild hit an all-time low of 3,200 globally. Tigers face many pressures from poaching, conflict with people, habitat destruction and industrialisation. Thankfully though, things have started to dramatically change for the tigers. In 2010, a global recovery programme was started by the governments of 13 countries where wild tigers live. This programme, headed by the WWF, has seen huge success. Tigers have since made a fantastic comeback in several countries including India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Russia. Nepal has almost doubled their wild tiger numbers since 2009, and, in some parts of India they have more than doubled!
The reintroduction of the red kite to Britain is definitely one of the greatest conservation success stories of the 20th century. After years and years of mistreatment from egg collectors and illegal poisoning, red kites were virtually extinct in the UK by the late 1980s. However, in 1989, conservationists started re-introducing red kites from Sweden, and their numbers steadily grew. Today, red kites are a common sight over large parts of the countryside here in the UK. According to the RSPB, they’ve been so successful it’s no longer possible to count them in an annual survey!
Image via AAD
Antarctic Blue Whale
The Antarctic blue whale is the largest animal on the planet, weighing up to 200 tons and reaching up to 30 meters in length. The Blue whale population in Antarctica was drastically reduced by commercial whaling, which started in South Georgia in 1904. Despite the legal protection through the International Whaling Commission in 1960’s, illegal hunting continued until 1972. From a population of about 125,000 in 1926, numbers were reduced to about 3,000 in 2018. A team of scientists were able to share some good news when returning from their recent expedition to the island of South Georgia. They counted 55 Antarctic blue whales during their expedition, which they describe as “unprecedented”. These number mean the population is returning to what it was like before whaling ever took place in these waters.
Of course, there is still a lot to be done to continue to protect these species as well as all the other animals we share our planet with. These wonderful stories help to spread some hope and make us realise that it is possible to undo some of the destruction humankind has caused. Happy World Animal Day.