Wondering what went right this year in the conservation world? We’ve got you covered with our Conservation Optimism Round-Up! We have collated 12 stories of optimism (one from each month) from around the globe for that final dose of motivation before the start of 2023.

1. JANUARY: Giraffe populations are rising, giving new hope to scientists

” According to a recent analysis of survey data from across the African continent, the total giraffe population is now around 117,000, approximately 20 percent higher than it was thought to be in 2015, when the last major survey was published.” ”

2. FEBRUARY: Panama Enacts a Rights of Nature Law, Guaranteeing the Natural World’s ‘Right to Exist, Persist and Regenerate’

” The nation joins a host of other countries in embracing a legal movement that gives land, trees, rivers, coral reefs and mountains unique legal rights, similar to humans, corporations and governments.”

3. MARCH: Plastic pollution: Green light for ‘historic’ treaty

” The world is set to get a global treaty to tackle plastic pollution. Nearly 200 countries have agreed to start negotiations on an international agreement to take action on the “plastic crisis”

4. APRIL: New natural history GCSE  in the UK to focus on protecting the planet

” The Department for Education said the qualification would allow pupils to learn about organisms and their environments, as well as environmental and sustainability issues, “to gain a deeper knowledge of the natural world around them”. Pupils will also develop skills for future careers in conservation, “from understanding how to conserve local wildlife to conducting the fieldwork needed to identify species”, the DfE said.”

5. MAY: Record number of dams removed from Europe’s rivers in 2021

” At least 239 barriers, including dams and weirs, were removed across 17 countries in Europe in 2021, in a record-breaking year for dam removals across the continent. Spain led the way, with 108 structures taken out of the country’s rivers. 

6. JUNE: Tiny Pacific island nation declares bold plan to protect 100% of its ocean

” The Pacific island state of Niue has announced that it will protect 100% of the ocean in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which spans 317,500 sq km (122,000 sq miles), roughly the area of Vietnam. 

7. JULY: Nepal has doubled it’s wild tiger population

” Nepal has succeeded in doubling its wild tiger population, with a latest estimate of 355 individuals – that’s an increase of >190% since 2009″

8. AUGUST: Magnolia species lost to science for 97 years rediscovered in Haiti

” A conservation team has rediscovered a native magnolia tree in a forest in Haiti for the first time since it was lost to science in 1925.”

9. SEPTEMBER: Cheetahs are back on Indian soil after 70 years

” 70 years after its extinction from India, the cheetahs are back on Indian soil. Eight big cats were released into the Indian wildlife in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno-Palpur National Park (KPNP) on Saturday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who termed it a “historic day” ”

10. OCTOBER: Innovative dolphin-saving devices bring hope for remaining river dolphins

” Thanks to electronic pingers, the last 80 river dolphins in the Mahakam river in Indonesia can breathe a little easier. A pilot project last year proved that the pingers prevent dolphins from becoming entangled in fishing nets – their main cause of death – and now the project has been extended to all fishers along the stretch of river where the dolphins live.”

11. NOVEMBER: Shark fin trade regulated at last in landmark decision

” Countries at the world’s biggest wildlife summit have voted for the first time to regulate the trade that kills millions of sharks every year to feed the vast appetite for shark fin soup. In what marine conservationists have hailed as a landmark decision, parties at the 186-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, voted to limit or regulate the commercial trade in 54 shark species of the requiem family”

12. DECEMBER: Meet the first 10 UN World Restoration Flagship programmes- due to be launched early next week at COP15.

” These 10 examples spread across 23 countries, all ecosystems and represent some of the most promising. ambitious and inspirational examples of making peace with nature and biodiversity. ”

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