Telling Success Stories – Saving Animals in the Wild

Telling success stories is really not what the media does best. There are many out there but my email box is overwhelmed daily with people sending me wildlife related news content – really bad news related content. In just one day, I received the following  links for me to take a look at.

Great apes face extinction says conservationist Jane Goodall

Rare Pangolins May Be Eaten to Extinction, Conservationists Warn

Poachers threaten new slaughter of South African elephants


How can we even try to inspire people to learn about the people working around the world to save wildlife when all we really see are articles depicting a crisis scenario? And the problem is, these articles are the truth – these really are crisis scenarios.

Although we need to work harder to reduce these losses and turn the tide in favor of wildlife, there really are a number of programs making positive gains to protect animals and their habitat.

This spring in Botswana, work began to identify and capture black rhinos from South African protected areas and transport them to neighboring Botswana, where they will be released to secure habitat in the Okavango Delta. Black rhinos were effectively “poached” out of Botswana and classified locally extinct there by 1992.

So this year, six black rhinos were collected from Kruger National Park, held in bomas, and then air-lifted by the Botswana Defense Force to their new home. More than a month later, an additional 10 rhinos (four males and six females, including two calves) were collected from South Africa’s Northwest Parks and similarly transported to Botswana.  The project is a collaboration between the International Rhino Foundation, Wilderness Safaris, and the governments of South Africa and Botswana, and is supported largely through grants from the Tiffany Foundation, Houston Zoo, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Leiden Foundation, and other donors.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle release-Galveston Bay
Loggerhead Sea Turtle release-Galveston Bay

Closer to home, you have heard us talk about local work to protect sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico and in just this year alone, we have worked closely with our colleagues at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to treat and return 53 sea turtles back to the wild.

In East Africa, partners are working in Mozambique at the Niassa Lion Project and in Tanzania at the Ruaha Carnivore Project to make a difference for not only wildlife but all the local communities that need to live day-to-day with the potential conflict between large predators and their livestock. These projects are absolutely making a difference and seeing positive signs of change. These are just a very small sample of the great working going on around the world.


We should not need to go out and look for signs of hope and a future for wildlife but the media makes it difficult some times to see through the tragedies. The world’s population is going to continue to grow and with it the need for more and more natural resources and in all this, there are solutions for both wildlife and people. We just need a little hope and to support the people who have dedicated their lives to making a difference.

Go to for more on these and other programs.

Velasquez Elementary in Richmond, TX worked with the zoo to support Lion Fun Days in Mozambique
Velasquez Elementary in Richmond, TX worked with the zoo to support Lion Fun Days in Mozambique

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