Breathe Easy

“Breathe Easy: Heartwarming Conservation Victories Amidst Climate Concerns”

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted by news of several catastrophic climate events so far this year: heat waves and heat domes, uncontrolled wildfires that blocked the sun and affected air quality worldwide; cyclones in Asia, tornados here in the U.S., devasting floods, the hottest month on record (July 2023) ocean water temperature in excess of 100 degrees…. How about some good news for a change?

So, I googled “good conservation news” and here are just a few of the things I found out. There are a lot more; try googling it yourself!

Two California Condor chicks were born in the wild, in two separate nests (condors only lay one egg) in Pinnacles National Park in California. Both are healthy, currently testing very low for lead, and are expected to take flight on schedule in November. Condors are susceptible to lead poisoning due to eating meat contaminated by lead bullets. (Photo: NPS Pinnacles Instagram)

Palm Beach County in Florida has broken the record for most sea turtle nests in a season, with almost 22,000 as of August 1, with three months left in the season! Most of the nests belong to loggerhead turtles, but there are also many green sea turtles and leatherbacks as well. All three species are considered vulnerable or endangered.

The kipunji, a primate that lives in the Livingstone Mountains in Tanzania, was discovered and determined to be Critically Endangered at the same time – in 2003. Thanks to conservation efforts undertaken by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) along with local community outreach, the kipunji numbers have increased by 65% in just 20 years. Illegal timber activity in the area is down 90%, helping to maintain habitat for these relatively newly discovered primates.

The Haiti magnolia was last seen in 1925 and was feared to be extinct following massive deforestation on its native island. Hoping the tree could have survived in higher elevations, a conservation team began a search for it and soon found 16 specimens in various stages of development growing in the Massif du Nord Mountain range. (Photo: Haiti National Trust)

Tiger populations are up to 40% higher than previously thought. The increase is not entirely due to an increase in numbers but to a change in the way they’re monitored. It seems we may have been undercounting them. They remain endangered, but areas where they are protected have been expanding, so there’s hope for continued improvement.  (Photo: Reka by Jack Bradley)

Finally, one item that’s close to my heart: Piping Plovers at Milford Point in Connecticut had a record year, thanks in part to persistent birds, but also thanks to a group of dedicated coastal rangers who walk the beach during nesting season, protecting birds and educating visitors. Sixteen pairs of the federally-threatened species nested there in 2023 and fledged about 30 young birds! That is over 1.5 birds fledged per nest – enough to increase the population across the range. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of birds, but it’s just a small sampling of the Piping Plover population in Connecticut, and it show what we can achieve with concerted conservation efforts!

Go ahead and google “good conservation news” and see what you find out!