Stories Of Wildlife Conservation Success: Animal Species Spared From Going Extinct
For thousands of years, humankind viewed wilderness as both infinite and hostile; we entered natural creation as if stepping onto a battlefield. As human populations evolved and spread, we constantly divided the wild creatures we encountered into those that were to be feared and avoided, and those that could safely be conquered and exploited. Increasingly, as our technology improved and our skills developed, we found fewer animals that we thought we needed to fear, and increasing numbers of species we felt the need to kill, either because we had a use for their meat, skin, feathers, bones, or horns, or merely because we felt them to be a nuisance or an inconvenience.
It wasn’t until the end of the 1800s that significant numbers of humans began to realize that our battle with nature had become completely one-sided, and that, not only were we on the verge of stamping out large swaths of living creation, but that doing so would be an irredeemable tragedy. A few foresighted members of our species began trying to roll back some of the damage we were inflicting in our zeal to dominate, populate, and develop the planet. In some cases, and in spite of heartbreaking failures and losses, these early, enlightened men and women were actually able to save one special place or another, or to preserve the remnants of this species or that.
The accomplishments of our first few generations of conservationists were not easy to bring about, and they should be celebrated. Following are some of the stories of creatures that were pulled back from the brink of extinction by people who realized both their value to us as part our natural heritage, and their right, completely independent of us, to continue to exist.
Following are links to pages about specific endangered species that conservationists have saved from going extinct. Included is one page about a few of the American animals—the bald eagle, the California condor, the peregrine falcon, the gray wolf, the red wolf, the grizzly bear, the American alligator, and the whooping crane—that were saved from extinction by the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The final link leads to a page about some species that were rediscovered after they were thought to have been driven into extinction.