Wondering what went right this week in the conservation world? We’ve got you covered with our Conservation Optimism Round-Up! We are collating stories of optimism from around the globe so that you never miss your dose of weekly motivation.

(Image Credit: Bob Haarmans via Wikimedia Commons)

1. Marine conservation zones in South China Sea protecting crabs and livelihoods

Thanks to an initiative supported by UNEP and GEF, over 1 million hectares of conservation areas called refugia have been established to protect the the biodiversity of the South China Sea, which supports nearly 4 million people in the surrounding region. “Fishermen are helping marine species rebound by restricting fishing in these areas during spawning season and releasing immature or breeding fish and crabs.”  According to UNEP, “Six countries are now integrating the refugia approach into their national policies. And coastal communities around the region have become protectors of the species they depend on.”

2. Cross-fostering program for Mexican Gray Wolves shows success

Twenty-seven captive-bred Mexican gray wolf pups have been successfully fostered this spring into wild packs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed. In partnership with FWS, Defenders of Wildlife sponsors wildlife technicians who work alongside the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team to place pups into the wild.

“This is a critical initiative for a species struggling to overcome existential genetic challenges,” said Craig Miller, Defenders of Wildlife senior representative for Arizona. “We’re grateful to the field team’s hard work to improve the odds for Mexican gray wolves. Despite challenging working conditions, limited resources and political constraints they’re creating a future for one of the most imperiled animals on Earth.”

3. EU Leaders adopt the Nature Restoration Law

The #RestoreNature coalition, consisting of BirdLife Europe, ClientEarth, EEB and WWF EU, says: “Today’s vote is a massive victory for Europe’s nature and citizens who have been long calling for immediate action to tackle nature’s alarming decline. After years of intense campaigning and many ups and downs, we are jubilant that this law is now reality – this day will go down in history as a turning point for nature and society. Now, we need all hands on deck: Member States must properly implement this legislation without delay in their countries, in close collaboration with all involved stakeholders. At the end of the day, nature can rebounce, for the benefit of our climate, biodiversity and people!”

4. Celebrating #WorldGiraffeDay with the Somalia Giraffe Project!

See pictures of how community-based giraffe conservation group, the Somalia Giraffe Project, celebrated this year’s World Giraffe Day! Local school children took part in activities like coloring, planting acacia trees, and learning how they can become young conservationists and raise awareness for giraffe conservation.

5. Vermont passes new laws for wildlife and sustainable development

“In an impressive display of progressive policy-making, Vermont has achieved significant legislative milestones that promise to protect its natural heritage, promote sustainable development, and invest in the future of our youth,” says Audubon Vermont in its blog post. One of the bills passed, H.706, is a restriction of the usage of neonic pesticides, which “have been shown to have devastating effects on various wildlife, particularly songbirds.” The other piece of legislation (H.687) would foster new housing developments that have minimal impact on nature, tackling both housing needs and environmental protection at the same time!

6. Proposed marine managed areas in the Falklands to protect its albatrosses

In celebration of #WorldAlbatrossDay, Falklands Conservation gives us a wonderful glimpse into the beautiful albatrosses that call the islands home. Thanks to the proposed designation of MMAs (Marine Managed Areas), the seabirds and their habitats would be protected to give them a better chance of recovery. At the same time, the conservation group stresses the importance of swiftly establishing solid protections within these areas, as the local government has recently announced oil-readiness as a key priority for the Falklands.

7. Rewilded beavers create habitat suitable for water voles in Scottish rainforest

“The voles, once abundant in Scotland but now one of the country’s most threatened native animals, could thrive in the “complex boundary between water and land” that beavers have created in Knapdale in Argyll and Bute since their reintroduction there in 2009. […] Pete Creech, a wildlife ranger at the Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation, which is working with the FLS in the initial stage of the reintroduction of water voles, said beavers were better engineers than humans when it came to creating wetlands.

“The human creation of wetlands is an extremely costly undertaking and, frankly, we’re not as good at it as beavers.” He added that water voles were themselves “eco-engineers” that could in turn create conditions for wildflowers to flourish.

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Kali Samutratanakul
Kali is a freelance illustrator and Italian translator based in Bangkok. Having volunteered for local social justice NGOs, she is passionate about crafting focused and emotionally-resonant messages to help save the planet.