There’s a lot of bleak tidings for far too many creatures these days, including (but not limited to) bats, monarch butterflies and bees. So it’s a relief when happier trends come along.
Here’s an example from Canadian Geographic‘s December issue: “Species on the rebound – The remarkable resurgence of seven Canadian Critters” As the intro puts it “From pintsize Prairie predators to Pacific giants, these seven Canadian species have rallied from the very edge of extinction.”
Those seven are: whooping crane, humpback whale, Eastern wild turkey, Swift fox, sea otter, wood bison, and peregrine falcon. The article added a “too close to call” category for three species that may be headed toward stability: black-footed ferret, Newfoundland marten and Kirtland’s warbler.
On a similar note, here’s a BBC comeback article highlighting gains in populations and health of key wild animals in Europe, including predators and scavengers like bears, wolves, lynx, eagles and vultures:
Frans Schepers, the organisation’s director [ed. note: of Rewilding Europe] said: “People have this general picture of Europe that we’ve lost all our nature and our wildlife.
“And I think what the rest of the world can learn from this is that conservation actually works. If we have the resources, a proper strategy, if we use our efforts, it actually works.”
Obviously, revitalizing animal populations – especially predators – is often controversial. Scott Sayare offers a poignant view of how that can play out in this September 2013 article for the New York Times: “As Wolves Return to the French Alps, a Way of Life is Threatened”:
But to the exasperation of this region’s shepherds, who for generations have scaled these hills with the seasons, the species’ success has been due in no small part to the ample, easy pickings. Wolves have been slaughtering vast numbers of sheep here — at least 20,000 in just the past five years, according to an official count. The government has spent tens of millions of euros in efforts to stanch the attacks, but to little avail, and shepherds increasingly call the wolf an existential threat.
“They’re killing shepherding as I know it,” said Bernard Bruno, 47, who has lost at least a thousand sheep in recent years. The wolf’s return may symbolize environmental progress to some, said Mr. Bruno, a stout, blue-eyed man who has spent 25 summers alone here with his flock and a walking stick. But it has also imperiled “one of the last natural, ecological kinds of livestock farming,” he said.
Of course, wild animals were here first and have every right to healthy continued existence. Similarly, a balanced ecosystem supports all life on earth, including we humans. But challenges arise when it comes to balancing conflicting interests. Ottawa residents know all about the wild turkeys of Barrhaven. (They may sound harmless, but check out the story-comment shared by Michael Greer.)
Are you in favor of putting the wild back in wilderness, or are cougars, wolf packs and such more than you want to deal with?