Endangered Species 2016: The Good the Bad and the Beautiful


photo courtesy of google images

Luke Adelhoch, Staff Writer

We all know 2016 has been a difficult year to say the least, but there’s no excuse for forgetting that this year has been just as difficult for our non-human neighbors. While the year has certainly been rather trying, there has been plenty of good to balance out the bad for both people and animals. Several different kinds of bees are now on the endangered species list, but in contrast, pandas have been taken off the same list due to a higher population and improved conditions.

To start off this recap, I will get the bad news out of the way. Most ecosystems require bee’s vital contribution of pollination. The trade of lion and cheetah bones in Eastern countries continues due to beliefs in its medicinal value- beliefs that have been observed for hundreds of years. Monstrous levels of overfishing continue, putting many marine species in danger. One species of gorilla has even been marked as critically endangered due to their habitats being destroyed by the mining industry.

2016 has not been all bad though; there has been plenty of good news as well. Perhaps most notably, the panda – a mascot of conservation for many years – is no longer an endangered species. Humpback whales and manatees have been taken off the endangered species list as well due to a rising population.  Conservation efforts have finally helped these populations return to a stable level. While tigers are still very much at risk, their population has increased from the low numbers observed in 2015. The black market in Asia and Africa have been crippled, which has removed much stress from the African grey parrot (one of the world’s most intelligent birds) and pangolin (an odd animal that looks almost like a cross between an anteater and pinecone) populations. Ivory trade has also been heavily reduced, which will do much to protect endangered rhinos and elephants. More fishing laws have been passed to protect marine species, with specific laws protecting thresher sharks, mobula rays, and devil rays. With all the work put into conservation, many endangered and threatened species can begin the long process of recovery.

Just like it has been for people, the year of 2016 has been a bit rough for the rest of Earth’s inhabitants in a few ways. While politics got ugly in the USA, environmental conditions got ugly in the African jungles. But for every bad thing that happened this year, there was something good happening somewhere else. As the gene that caused ALS was finally discovered, so were ways to protect the most vulnerable inhabitants of our world. Just remember that no matter how hard of a year 2016 can seem, something good is happening somewhere in the world, whether it be to you, your neighbor, or even one of the bees that lands on a flower outside your home.