Back from the brink.

There are often some quite depressing stories in the news about species going extinct, for example the case of lonesome George who sadly died in 2012 and was the last remaining Pinta Tortoise. Hopefully this blog post will show you that there are some successes when it comes to bringing species back from the brink of extinction.

The Humpback Whale

A Humpback Whale leaping out of the water. Source: Pixabay, 2017.


In the 1960s the humpback whale was listed as endangered due overfishing, with only a population of 1,600 left. Commercial fishing of Humpback whales has since been banned in an attempt to save these creatures from extinction. The number has now risen to over 60,000 as a result and have now been de-listed from being endangered, and are now classified as least concern. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) divided the whale population into geographical groups as you can see from the picture below, 4 of the 14 groups are still considered endangered and 1 group is considered threatened, but this is a huge improvement in humpback whale numbers.

Humpback Whale Map
Map showing locations of the 14 distinct population segments of humpback whales worldwide. Source: (NOAA)


The Tiger

A tiger in water. Source: Pixabay, 2017.

Tigers were once thought to have a population of 100,000 wild tigers, this population has almost disappeared with a population of only 3,200 left in the wild in 2010. This is a decline of a shocking 95%! Habitat loss is a major threat to tigers it is thought that they have lost as much as 93% of their historical range. Tigers have also been poached relentlessly and used for medicine and there skin. In 2015 its thought that this number has risen to 3,900, which may appear to be a very small rise but is promising. WWF are trying to double the number of Tigers in the wild by 2022. India, Nepal, Bhutan and Russia have all stepped up their tiger conservation efforts since 2010, this will be the reason why in 2016 WWF are halfway to their goal of doubling tiger numbers.


Peregrine Falcons

The beady eye of a Peregrine Falcon. Source: Pixabay, 2014.

This success story is a bit closer to home for me, the Peregrine Falcon is mostly found in upland areas of Wales, southern Scotland and northwest England. During the 19th and 20th Century they were killed illegally by humans and as a consequence the population declined. The Peregrine Falcons population finally collapsed in the 1950s due to toxic chemicals used on agricultural land. By the early 1960’s the Peregrine population had declined a staggering 80%, only birds in remote parts of Scotland remained unaffected. The toxic chemicals used on agricultural land were finally band and by the 1990s Peregrine numbers reached pre-decline levels.

Costa Rica Rainforest

The Costa Rican Rainforest. Source: Pixabay, 2016.

There has been an unlikely conservation success story in the Costa Rican Rainforest, one achieved totally by chance. An area of the Costa Rican Rainforest was left barren, 2 decades ago. An orange juice company discarded 12,000 tonnes of orange rinds and pulp onto this land. This yielded great results and brought new life to the area a better result than ever could be hoped for. There were 24 different species of trees, researchers didn’t even start on small shrubs and vines, it looked like a jungle again. The diversity in this area was actually greater than the surrounding well established woodland. The orange peels were successfully able to block out an invasive species, it also allowed the formation a thick loam, both these factors were key to allowing new growth.

All of these amazing creatures have been brought back from the brink of extinction, it just goes to show that even populations in the most desperate need are able to be saved. Even vast expanses of rainforest are able to be brought back. Of course this does not mean to say that we can continue on this path of destruction and that everything will be able to bounce back, there will come a point where it simply isn’t possible, save all that needs conserving. There are so many more success stories and the WWF website is a really great place to start if you want to learn more about lots of different species that have made it back from the brink of extinction, click here to learn more.


Dockrill, P., 2017. How 12,000 Tonnes of Dumped Orange Peel Grew Into a Landscape Nobody Expected to Find. Available: (accessed: 23 November 2017).

Fears, D., 2017. These Creatures faced extinction. The Endangered Species Act Saved Them. Available: (accessed: 24 November 2017).

Hawk and Owl Trust, no date. Peregrine. (accessed: 24 November 2017).

NOAA Fisheries, no date. Humpback Whale. Available: (accessed: 24 November 2017).

RSPB, no date. Population numbers and trends. Available: (accessed: 23 November 2017).

Scharping, N., 2017. 12,000 Tons of Orange Peels Bring a Jungle Back to Life. Available: ( 24 November 2017).

The Guardian, 2016. Most humpback whales to be taken off federal endangered species list. Available: (accessed: 24 November 2017).

WDC, no date. Humpback Whale. Available: (accessed: 23 November 2017).

WWF, 2016. Wild tiger numbers rise for the first time in 100 years! Available: (accessed: 23 November 2017).

WWF, no date. Humpback Whale. Available: (accessed: 23 November 2017).

WWF, no date. Tiger. Available: (accessed: 23 November 2017).



NOAA Fisheries, no date. Humpback Whale. Available: (accessed: 24 November 2017).

Pixabay, 2017. Tiger. Available: (accessed: 15 December 2017).

Pixabay, 2017. Humpback Whale. Available: (accessed: 15 December 2017).

Pixabay, 2014. Peregrine Falcon. Available: (accessed: 15 December 2017).

Pixabay, 2016. Rainforest. Available: (accessed: 15 December 2017).







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