No Longer Endangered

By Julia Kemp

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen what seems like an overwhelming abundance of negative stories on TV. From COVID deaths to climate change to political disputes–our news channels have been consumed with bad news. However, because humans haven’t been out as much and new acts supporting the conservation of endangered species have been passed, many endangered species were removed from the endangered species list. 

Giant Panda

Giant pandas live mainly in the forests of Southwest China, where they consume up to 84 pounds of bamboo each day. Pandas are extremely crucial to bamboo forests as they assist in spreading seeds and keeping bamboo forests fertile. Because pandas exist almost exclusively in China’s Yangtze Basin region, the infrastructure development in that area isolates and excludes panda populations, and prevents them from accessing the bamboo that they need to survive. However, China has designated a Giant Panda National Park to conserve the habitats of pandas during the pandemic. Thanks to the efforts of wildlife conservation organizations and China, pandas are now considered a “threatened species,” but not an endangered one. While pandas are no longer endangered, they are still vulnerable to extinction, and they need to have a larger and more conserved habitat in order to flourish again. 

Bald Eagle

Bald eagles, the patriotic icons of the United States, were declared endangered in 1978 under the Endangered Species Act. This has been a big hit on the country because not only are bald eagles a United States symbol of courage, freedom, and strength, but also because they are an essential predator. Bald eagles are opportunistic predators, meaning that they will eat whatever they can catch, and often scavenge. They help to keep the country’s ecosystem even by consuming slower and weaker animals and by scavenging dead animal matter to control prey populations. Since the Endangered Species Act declared bald eagles endangered in 1978, numerous protective acts and services allowed bald eagles to be removed from the list in 2007, and bald eagles are now considered a species with “least concern” of extinction. 

Humpback Whale

According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, most humpback whale species are no longer extinct. Thanks to boating and fishing regulations, whale populations have been able to recover, however, they are still very vulnerable to extinction. Since 1970, whale populations have decimated due to corrupt hunting and fishing practices. This has been detrimental to marine ecosystems; humpback whales, as predators, feed on fish and invertebrates to balance oceans and their carcasses add essential, nitrogen-rich nutrients to the ocean floor. With humpback whale populations rising again, the oceans’ ecosystem became increasingly balanced and more nutrient-rich. 

While many endangered species have been removed from the endangered species list thanks to protective measures and support from wildlife organizations, many still remain in critical condition. If we continue to work toward removing more and more species from the list, we can achieve the goal of preserving the majestic animals that roam the earth today.