Africa is home to some of the world’s best loved and most fascinating animals, with large predators that sweep the savannahs, huge herds of grazing herbivores and monkeys, apes and dangerous snakes that inhabit its dense forests. There’s also the incredibly diverse birdlife and marine animals that make the African continent so unique.
Unfortunately, human interference has put a large number of Africa’s native species at risk. The sheer scale of poaching continues to be the biggest threat to the survival of endangered species in Africa, with an estimated 40,000 African elephants believed to have been killed in a single year.
Conservationists are working incredibly hard to educate the local population and their efforts are helping to bring some of the continent’s most endangered animals back from the brink.
Eco2greetings recently created a resource containing six success stories of animals that have bounced back from near-extinction, so we thought we’d expand on this with a look at the African animal species that are making a comeback of their own.
1. The Black Rhino
In the 1960s, it is estimated that there were around 70,000 black rhinos in Africa, but due to poaching and habitat loss, the black rhino has seen the most drastic population decline of all the rhino species. There are now about 3725 black rhinos left in the wild.
Thanks to conversation efforts, the numbers have stabilised and are slowly starting to rise, but there’s clearly still much more to do to secure the future of this magnificent beast.
2. The Mountain Gorilla
It was not until 1902 that the mountain gorilla was first encountered by a non-African. In the century since, a combination of habitat destruction and hunting has brought this rare primate to the brink of extinction.
There are now only approximately 1000 mountain gorillas in the world and that is only thanks to park authorities in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, who do tireless work protecting and managing the gorilla’s habitat and population.
3. The Echo Parakeet
The island of Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean but part of the continent of Africa, was once home to thousands of echo parakeets. However, by the 1980s, there were only a dozen parakeets left on the island due to the destruction of the forests in which they thrived.
A rescue effort was launched to save this colourful bird before it was too late. That included a captive breeding programme, building nest boxes and providing plenty of food to make up for the loss of habitat.
There are now hundreds of echo parakeets in Mauritius and this number is rising all the time.
4. The African Elephant
The African elephant has been hunted for centuries and is still under threat. There is still demand for ivory in parts of Asia and this is contributing to the poaching problem. Kenya was one of the most affected areas where as much as 85 percent of the population was wiped out between 1973 and 1989.
This led to the African elephant being placed on the critically endangered list, which led to more aggressive anti-poaching campaigns and increased investment in wildlife protection. Past efforts have now set African elephants on the road to recovery and hopefully, it will continue.
Although these are some of the success stories, there are still thousands of African animals under threat, so it’s incredibly important we do everything we can to safeguard the future of these magnificent creatures.