According to a new study, up to 48 bird and mammal extinctions have been prevented by conservation efforts since a global agreement to protect biodiversity.
To name a few, the Iberian lynx, California condor and pygmy hog are among animals that would have disappeared without reintroduction programmes, zoo-based conservation and formal legal protections since 1993, research led by scientists at Newcastle University and BirdLife International found. The study, published in the journal Conservation Letters, estimates that extinction rates for birds and mammals would have been three to four times higher over that period, which was chosen because 1993 is when the UN Convention on Biological Diversity came into force.
15 bird and mammal species have become extinct or are strongly suspected to have disappeared however, researchers say that between 28 and 48 bird and mammal species were saved. For example, in Mongolia, around 760 Przewalski’s horses roam the steppes once again, despite having become extinct in the wild in 1960.
Dr Stuart Butchart, chief scientist at BirdLife International and instigator of the study, said the findings showed that commitments to prevent future species loss were “achievable and essential to sustain a healthy planet” and gave hope to conservation efforts for other species.
Dr Rike Bolam from Newcastle University, co-lead author of the study, said: “It is encouraging that some of the species have recovered very well. Our analyses provide a strikingly positive message that conservation has substantially reduced extinction rates for birds and mammals.”
With more and more people becoming aware of sustainability and more conservation efforts being put into action, we will hopefully see more species saved or recovered!