Small Wildlife Victories Yield Hope
Attorney Andrew Wetzler, director of the Chicago-based Endangered Species Project, watches and reports on the status of threatened species around the planet. This past year saw the brown pelican fly off the endangered species list. Saiga antelope are making a comeback in Eurasia and wolf sightings are up in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.
Prospects for captive breeding programs are on the upswing for both the Siamese crocodile in Cambodia and endangered freshwater mussels in Kentucky. Expanded preserves will provide more habitat for Humboldt penguins, Peruvian diving petrels and East African elephants.
New legislation now protects Alaskan habitat for polar bears and beluga whales. Recent Mexican and U.S. fishing limits will support survival of vaquita marina porpoises and loggerhead sea turtles, and large-scale industrial fisheries have been pre-empted from expanding into U.S. waters north of the Bering Strait to preserve this strategic Arctic ecosystem.
More species winners included Chesapeake Bay oysters, England’s rare lapwing (a crested plover) and its Duke of Burgundy butterfly, New Zealand’s parea pigeon, Southeast Atlantic coral reefs and wild-spawning Atlantic salmon, spotted in New York’s Salmon River for the first time in a century.