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12 U.S. Animals That Have Bounced Back From the Brink of Extinction

U.S. animals that bounced back
Image by thediver123 via Depositphotos

This list of U.S. animals that have bounced back from the brink of extinction serves two purposes: to offer a glimmer of hope but also to underline the importance of conservation efforts. An animal going extinct is completely irreversible, and while these creatures are technically in the green, there’s no time to rest – they still need our help.

#1 Bald Eagle

bald eagle national animal of the U.S.
Image by Stephen Meyers via Pexels

Once endangered by hunting and pesticides, the national bird of the United States has made a remarkable recovery thanks to legal protection and conservation efforts. Their population has increased significantly, allowing them to be removed from the endangered species list.

This impressive resilience serves as another reason why it’s a fitting national animal of the U.S.

#2 American Alligator

By Gareth Rasberry – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27851773

Although it might be difficult to believe, considering the alarming amount of alligator attacks seen in states like Florida, this species was once in real trouble.

Faced with habitat loss and unregulated hunting, the American alligator was once on the brink of extinction. Conservation measures, including habitat protection and regulated hunting, have helped their populations rebound across the southeastern United States.

#3 California Condor

seven condors
Image by wollertz via Depositphotos

At one point, this species was down to an alarming 22 individuals in the wild before a captive breeding program helped increase their numbers. They are slowly being reintroduced into their natural habitats, with ongoing monitoring to ensure their continued recovery.

Although their numbers remain relatively low, measuring roughly 560 birds, this is still a massive improvement. That being said, we shouldn’t slack when it comes conservation efforts, as in the grand scheme of things this is still a dangerously low number.

#4 Gray Wolf

mexican gray wolf
Image by donfink via Depositphotos

After being nearly eradicated in the lower 48 states, reintroduction and legal protection have helped restore populations in several areas, including Yellowstone National Park.

The reason for their drastic decline was, of course, caused by us humans. Other than the destruction of their habitat and a decrease in their typical prey, a lot of their deaths were directly caused by humans believing them to be a menace and danger to their cattle.

#5 Channel Island Fox

channel island fox
Image by buteo via Depositphotos

Native to California’s Channel Islands, this fox species faced extinction due to disease and predation by non-native species. Realizing the severity of the situation, concerted conservation efforts were pushed, including vaccination and breeding programs.

Currently, their number has significantly increased, but remains a federally protected species.

#6 Northern Elephant Seal

Southern Elephant Seal
By Antoine Lamielle, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=128628148

Hunted to near extinction for their oil-rich blubber, these seals have rebounded in the absence of hunting, with their population now in the hundreds of thousands. Their recovery is considered one of the most dramatic successes in marine conservation.

#7 Humpback Whale

Bubble Net Feeding
Bubble Net Feeding humpback whale. Image via Depositphotos

Once endangered by whaling, humpback whales have seen their numbers increase significantly since the 1970s due to international protection.

These majestic creatures continue to be a symbol of conservation success. However, they continue to face threats from entanglement in fishing gear, ship strikes, ocean noise, and climate change.

#8 Peregrine Falcon

Angry Peregrine Falcon.
Angry Peregrine Falcon. Image by ca2hill via Depositphotos

The world’s fastest bird was once endangered by pesticide use but has bounced back thanks to bans on harmful chemicals and breeding programs. By now, their population is big enough for them to be removed from the endangered species list. Still, monitoring their numbers is crucial to ensure that it stays this way.

#9 American Bison

bison
Image by Lubos Houska via Pixabay

Nearly driven to extinction in the 19th century, conservation efforts have helped restore bison populations in several areas across the U.S.

These iconic animals are now a symbol of the American West and their extinction wouldn’t only be an ecological loss, but also a cultural one.

#10 Green Sea Turtle

Sea turtle swimming close to a reef. Image by Jesse Schoff on Unsplash.

Threatened by habitat loss, hunting, and pollution, conservation measures have helped increase nesting sites and populations in the U.S. Their recovery is bolstered by international agreements and local conservation efforts – just as with the humpback whale, it highlights the importance of protecting marine habitats.

#11 Manatee

manatee
Endangered Florida Manatee Underwater with Snorkelers in Background. Image via Depositphotos

Also known as sea cows, these gentle giants have benefited from habitat protection and speed restrictions on boats in their habitats. Despite facing ongoing threats from water pollution and habitat loss, conservation efforts have helped stabilize their populations in U.S. waters.

While still legally protected, their total population is estimated to include 13,000 individuals.

#12 Black-footed Ferret

black foot ferret
Image by Kimberly Fraser / USFWS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/43/Endangered_Black-Footed_Ferret.jpg

Once thought to be extinct in the wild, a small population was discovered in 1981. Captive breeding and reintroduction efforts have helped increase their numbers since then, although they remain one of North America’s most endangered mammals.

The main reason for their perilous situation was the drastic decline in their favorite food: prairie dogs.

U.S Animals That Have Bounced Back: Conclusion

bald eagle
Image by Richard Lee via Unsplash

Although the successful conservation stories of the animals on this list invoke a glimmer of hope, this does not at all mean that we can sit back and relax! While they’re not actively flirting with extinction, their numbers are still not what they ought to be – and it’s up to us to fix this since we’re the ones to have caused it.

Thank you for reading this article about these lovely U.S. animals that have bounced back from the brink of extinction! For other stories like this one, take a look here:

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