The World Wildlife Fund estimates it global wildlife populations they have fallen by nearly 70 percent in just 50 years.
Deforestation, human exploitation, pollutionAnd climate change were the major drivers of the loss.
Yet hope is not lost. To the COP15 Biodiversity Summit, which kicked off this week, countries are coming together to fight threats like these.
To demonstrate the incredible resilience of our planet’s underdogs and highlight the success of ongoing conservation projects, here are the resurrection stories of some extraordinary species once thought to be extinct.
Somali elephant shrew
Neither elephant nor shrew, these compact anteater-like creatures were believed to have become extinct in the 1960s due to lack of data. Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) had even listed it as 25 of their “most wanted” species after such an absence of sightings.
Researchers have decided to investigate further nearly 50 years after a reported sighting in Djibouti, a country within the horn of Africa. They were puzzled by this revelation because their namesake was the only country he was believed to have inhabited before the extinction.
Using a delicious supply of peanut butter treats, they were able to locate 12 of them who were living happily without any immediate threat to their well-being and hope to sustain that existence.
It has since thankfully been removed from the list and may even have carried its tiny paws through the Horn Ethiopia.
The black-haired pheasant pigeon was last documented by scientists in 1882, that is, until 2022, filming captured the rare bird in Papua New Guinea.
The new discovery was like “finding a unicorn,” said expedition co-leader John Mittermeier.
The pigeon lives only on rugged Fergusson Island to the east Papua New Guineawhere the mountainous terrain and thick forest made finding the bird extremely difficult.
After a local hunter heard the pigeon’s distinctive call, researchers supported by the American Bird Conservancy set out to camera traps and were “stunned” to catch the bird on film.
Fernandina Giant Tortoise
This took more than a century, but it was definitely worth the wait. In 2019, turtle Conservationists were thrilled to find this reptile’s feces in Galápagos National Park after zero signs of life since 1906.
The tortoise responsible was a female who wandered around the island the entire time. It is surprising how this was possible given the Galapagos the huge lava flows of the island.
His age it has no bearing on mating prospects, as turtles are capable of living up to 200 years.
The director of the Galápagos Conservancy’s Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative (GTRI) called it the “most important achievement” of his life.
In 2022, finally scientists established which is really a member of the species chelonoidis phantasticus – better known as the “fantastic giant tortoise” – which is believed to have become extinct more than a century ago.
Lord Howe’s stick insect
These huge “tree lobsters” were thought to have been significantly affected by a shipwreck on Australia’s Lord Howe Island more than 100 years ago. Bands of rats have been released on the island with no control to stop them, nearly eradicating the population of these insects.
In an unexpected twist, the number of rats on the island they hovered high with no larger mammals around to rule them.
Lord Howe’s stick insect numbers staggered downwards until they were finally classified as extinct in the 80s. They were found to thrive atop the trees surrounding the Pyramid of the Spheres, an island formed from volcanic it remains, several decades later.
In fact, reclassifying this particular species wasn’t without its challenges: Scientists argued that the differences between these stick-like creatures were too difficult to distinguish from similar species.
This story has a happy ending thanks to the Melbourne Zoo’s captive breeding program and the genome sequencing of the museum’s old remains. The Australian government now plans to do so reintroduce bring them back to the island.
The rediscovery of the coelacanth is confirmed as one of the most important animal rediscoveries of the 20th century. How come? Because they preceded dinosaursHere because.
Before its rediscovery, the coelacanth’s only known existence was over fossil record of over 65 million years, when it is thought to have become extinct.
None of this would have been possible without the insight of self-taught zoological expert Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer. The South African the museum worker was often called upon to identify the fishermen’s strange finds and to do so he sought the help of Professor James Leonard Brierley Smith. They broke the news of its existence by telegram.
Much of his behavior is still a mystery conservativesbut we do know that they live a quiet existence on the ocean floor and that the latest survey put the population at 230-650 fish.
We now know that they commonly inhabit the waters of Indonesia also.
There was a time when Americans thought the Caspian Horse, a beloved starter breed for budding riders, was a historical footnote. They were rediscovered in the mountains of Iran by researcher Louise Firouz during her research horses to accompany his new equestrian center for children.
He realized that they had used the land as a refuge away from the carriage of rich Persians and chariots Egyptians and made it his mission to create a breeding farm where they could thrive. They were even able to survive his brief captivity during the Iranian revolution.
Luckily it worked and now there are over a thousand of them around the world.
In the 15th century it was said that over a million Bermuda Petrel called the island their home. Given that the island’s human population is currently around 60,000, they would have had a decent presence.
After a long period of decimation by land mammals, their extinction they seemed certain so much so that they were titled “lazarus species,” a type of bird so disparate that any increase in population would look like a return from the dead.
This comeback became a reality in the 1950s by pure chance and has since been facilitated by the fact that these birds (adorable) companion for life.
A settlement project is underway on Nonsuch Island after the first batch of birds were successfully imprinted. Tourists can experience them in all their glory on boat tours, and an amazing live camera of their burrows can be streamed online.
Two bird watchers roaming the rainforests of BorneoIndonesia, they couldn’t believe their eyes when they stumbled upon this long-extinct bird.
After some speculation in the global ornithology communities were able to discover what a sublime discovery this past October was. The time away from public life is the longest “time away” of any Asian animal, and people have no idea what they’ve been doing for the past 170 years. Researchers now think they may have been hiding in plain sight from people who just didn’t know how to spot them.
“The sensational discovery confirms that the Black-browed Babbler originates from southeastern Borneo, ending the centuries-old confusion about its origins,” says Panji Gusti Akbar of Indonesian bird conservation group, Birdpacker.
He created an invaluable facility for their jungle populations to grow.