Kate on Conservation

2019: A good year for animal conservation

2019 good year for animal conservation - tiger image courtesy born free

As another year draws to a close, it’s a good time to look back and count our blessings.

These can feel few and far between in the conservation and animal welfare worlds, where we seem to be constantly hit with devastating news of another species close to extinction, or another heartbreaking image of an abused animal.

One mantra that echoes in my head however, is the positive thought that “there is still a lot to be hopeful for”.

To spread festive cheer and hope to animal lovers around the world this holiday season, here are 19 conservation successes for 2019 shared by international wildlife charity Born Free… 

1. The wild tiger population in India…

The wild tiger population in India has increased by more than 30% including in two areas where Born Free’s Living with Tigers initiative operates.

2. The Lions of Lyon…

The Lions of Lyon ­– four lion cubs being kept as exotic pets in France – were relocated by Born Free to their homeland in Africa and are now thriving in the charity’s big cat sanctuary in South Africa.

3. Wild animals in English circuses ban…

The government finally banned the use of wild animals in English circuses and a bill for Wales to follow suit is now underway.

4. British Airways Holidays’ animal welfare strategy… 

British Airways Holidays announced their new animal welfare strategy with Born Free to never promote the captivity of wild animals and discourage its hotel partners from doing so. Other travel operators including Virgin Holidays and TripAdvisor also took action against captive and wild animal entertainment. 

5. Ivory Act challenge defeated…

The Ivory Act challenge brought by representatives of the antiques industry who argued the act was incompatible with EU trade and human rights law, was defeated.

6. Lions discovered…

Lions were discovered for the first time in Mpem and Djim National Park in southern Cameroon.

7. Hippo cull decision reversed…

1,250 hippos from Zambia’s Luangwa Valley were spared their lives after international pressure from Born Free and other NGOs meant the Zambian government reversed their decision to cull the animals.

8. Campaign against trophy hunting…

Born Free launched its campaign against trophy hunting which included a petition to ban trophy imports to the UK – the charity received over 550,000 signatures and was instrumental in getting the government to agree to launch a public consultation.

9. Award for Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation…

Dr Jamartin Sihite won the 2019 Virginia McKenna Award after his work with the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation ensured that more than 400 rescued orangutans have been reintroduced into their natural habitat.

10. Canned hunting spotlighted in animation…

Born Free rescued and rehomed three lions from canned hunting facilities. They also released their Bitter Bond animation highlighting the plight of thousands of lions left in these horrendous facilities resulting in their petition to the South African government receiving over 260,000 signatures.

11. International ban on trade in live elephants…

An international ban on trade in live elephants was finally agreed meaning that elephants from Zimbabwe and Botswana will no longer be captured from the wild to be exported to captive facilities around the world.

12. New rescue section at Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary…

Born Free, supported by British Airways Holidays and IAG Cargo, opened a new rescue section at Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa’s Western Cape and rehomed two older lionesses so they could live out their days in safe and natural surroundings.

13. 21 vervet monkeys were rescued…

A troop of 21 vervet monkeys were rescued and are expected to be released back into the wild in January 2020 in Kafue National Park, Zambia by Born Free’s supported Zambia Primate Project.

14. A new classroom for Ensessa Kotteh Wildlife Rescue & Education Centre…

Born Free opened a new education centre classroom at their Ensessa Kotteh Wildlife Rescue & Education Centre in Ethiopia. The new classroom includes information in three languages so that local schools and community groups can learn about wildlife.

15. West African giraffe population increase…

A survey in Niger, West Africa, by the Born Free-supported Giraffe Conservation Foundation has shown that the West African giraffe population has increased by over 11% since 2017.

16. Increase in Javan rhino numbers…

Born Free’s partners in Indonesia have reported a 10% increase in Javan rhino numbers.

17. Hungary remains a dolphinaria-free country…

Over 5,000 people joined Born Free in taking action and calling on the Hungarian Minister of Agriculture to keep their ban on the import, transportation and keeping of dolphins in captivity. As such, Hungary remains a dolphinaria-free country.

18. 68 Ethiopian Wolf pups born in 2019…

68 Ethiopian Wolf pups were born this year – with only an estimated 500 left in the world, this is great news for Africa’s most threatened carnivore and the world’s rarest canid (dog family).

19. Born Free’s predator proof boma intiative…

A report this year has shown that over 2,500 people and 32,500 livestock are better off since the launch of Born Free’s predator proof boma initiative in Kenya. Bomas are simple, cost-effective fence rings that protect livestock from predation at night thus reducing human-wildlife conflict.

For more information on all Born Free’s conservation initiatives visit www.bornfree.org.uk.

Want to support animal conservation and contribute to more success stories? Check out this Christmas gift guide for animal lovers!

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