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Two Animals Saved from Extinction

Amidst all the stories of biodiversity loss are some conservation success stories of animals that have been saved.

Arabian OryxThe animal that might have inspired the unicorn stories, the Arabian Oryx, is once again gracing the Arabian Peninsular, according to the IUCN. A-grain-of-hope-in-the-desert Hunted till it was extinct in the wild, the oryx was captive bred until there were enough animals to release into the wild. There are now 1,000 individuals, and the oryx has qualified for a move from the Endangered category to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List—the first time that a species that was once Extinct in the Wild has improved by three categories.

The other animal with good news is the Orange-Tailed Skink, which was recently rescued by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.  The story makes for great conservation reading.

The skink was discovered on Flat Island, the largest of the Mauritian islands, in 1995. Since then it has been increasingly threatened elsewhere in Mauritius by habitat modification and the introduction of non-native predators and the only surviving population was on Flat Island. Then fears of development on Flat Island in 2008 led the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to translocate 82 orange-tailed skinks to a nature reserve. Predatory shrews were found on Flat Island in 2010, and a futher 390 orange-tailed skinks were translocated. A recent expedition to Flat Island found that no orange-tailed skinks have survived on the Island. So if it wasn’t for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the skink would be extinct.

Now we need to achieve this conservation success with other endangered species.

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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