The year of 2016 went through several ups and downs, saw smiles and sorrows, had surprises and shocks. As the year comes to an end, the conservationists are all in smiles. The year turned good for several wild species and created milestones in environmental conservation.
As the new year is yet to begin in a few hours, the World Wide Fund for Nature alongside IUCN and other conservationists recorded the successes. Here are a few of them.
After a century of decline, the wild beast saw an increase in its population. The population of tigers is, at present around 3,890, compared to an estimated 3200 in 2010. This increase is especially attributed to the following countries, India, Nepal, Russia and Bhutan. Along with utmost care and enhanced protection of these species, the awareness created and funds raised, contribute to this rise. Ginette Hemley, SVP, WWF said “This is a pivotal step in the recovery of one of the world’s most endangered and iconic species”. In addition to this, he said that the goal was to double this population within 2022.
The year turned up well for the giant panda, as they downgraded from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ in the Red List. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), announced positive change to the panda’s official status in the Red list. In support of this change, it pointed out the fact that the population of pandas has increased by 17%. A nationwide census in China found that there were 1,864 giant pandas in the wild. This demonstrates how an integrated approach can help save our vanishing bio-diversities.
Illegal trade of pangolins, the world’s most trafficked mammals, ends this year. All countries have signed an agreement to save this critically endangered species from getting extinct. There are 8 species of pangolins spread across Africa and Asia. They are the only truly scaly mammals on earth. Their flesh and scales are being traded illegally. A survey shows that, an estimated 117,000 to 234,000 pangolins were slaughtered between the year 2011 and 2013. In view of this, CITES has issued an international ban on illegal trade of the species.
United States finalized new regulations which will shut down the ivory trade within its country. As many as 30,000 elephants are being killed every year. To put an end, WWF came up with notice to ban ivory trade. Following U.S.’s regulations, China released timetable on which the work for banning ivory will proceed. In addition to this, hundreds of ivory were burnt. This was especially to pull the attention of wild life conservationists. This also marked their contribution in support of the ban.
The scientists discovered 163 new species in Greater Mekong region this year. The report, Species Oddity includes 9 amphibians, 11 fish, 14 reptiles , 3 mammals added to 126 plants found in Cambodia, Laos Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Marrakech Climate Change Conference, in November 2016 welcomed so many changes. This included the agreements signed by the nations to donate multi-billion and multi-million dollar packages in support of clean technologies. In addition to this, they also decided upon the climate action plans and initiatives for boosting water and food security. In specific, this conference saw, the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of about 40 nations, release a declaration that strengthens the call to limit global temperature rise to as close to 1.5 °C as possible.
America’s Arctic will be free from the new offshore drilling for oil and gas at least for the next five years. In the wake of the affects of oil spilling and drilling on the marine life, the President of United States, put a halt on new offshore drilling, earlier this December. This, indeed, is a positive step taken towards conserving whales, walruses, polar bears and many other species, and to preserve the serenity of Arctic.
During the month of April, Apple along with a team of 24 developers worked together to launch “Apps for Earth”, a global campaign to help the planet. With 100% of proceeds from participating apps and In-App Purchases going to support WWF’s conservation work, Apps for Earth raised awareness among a myriad people per day. Not to mention, the app generated more than $8 million in total proceeds, which is now used as funds to conserve several species.
In August, Scotland generated 106% of the total energy in a day, using its windmills. Scotland’s wind turbines produced 39,545 MW-hours of electricity, which was more than approximately 37,000 MW-hours consumed by the entire population of Scotland on that day.
Nepal marked 2 years of success with ‘zero’ poaching of rhinos. This, inspired several African countries, to take a step forward in curbing the illegal poaching and trading. The countries in Africa used thermal infrared cameras in order to catch criminals involved in this crime. This, in fact, is a notable step appreciated world wide.
Belize offshore seismic testing suspended after outcry. The longest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere received a reprieve from seismic surveying. Officials agreed to suspend the seismic portion of offshore oil exploration after learning its consequences on the bio-diverse species.
The IUCN World Conservation Congress Hawaii, saw several countries coming up with donations, the prominent one being the UK’s £ 13 million in addition to its prevailing funds for the conservation.
Kudos to the works of WWF, IUCN and several conservationists, which brought several notable successes this year. Looking forward to complete several goals, including that of curbing illegal trade and also, to save several species from extinction, the organizations will work a lot the coming years. The year 2017 will see more smiles in the lives of species.