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: Klaus Feichtenberger via Flickr)

1. Iberian lynx population doubled in the past three years

“The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) continues along its upward path, although it is still at risk of extinction. The last census in 2023 shows that the species has doubled its population in the last three years and has reached 2,021 individuals […] Despite the good data, 750 breeding females would be needed to classify the species in a favorable conservation status, and in this latest count only 406 have been detected.

“The ministry believes that the data allow for a degree of optimism, because the feline’s trend is positive and has continued on an upward trend since 2015.”

2. New study shows rewilding large species helps with ecosystem degradation

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and their collaborators investigated the impact of a successful one-horned rhino introduction program in Nepal, by observing how other species within the ecosystem interact with their dung. They observed four mammal and four using rhino dung to feed on insects or plants growing around the area.

“Our study provides strong evidence that rewilding of rhinos can restore the function of latrines as nutrient hotspots for other organisms. Therefore, reintroduction of large-bodied animals can mitigate ecosystem deterioration,” said one of the researchers.

3. California senate passes ban on thick single-use plastic bags in stores

“This legislation stops the use of plastic film bags that are currently sold at checkout to consumers by most stores. Those type of bags were allowed in the original ban on single use plastic bags passed in 2014 because they were deemed recyclable and reusable. The reality is that these bags are difficult to recycle – and so few are ever recycled – and they are seldom reused. […]” The new law will hopefully reduce the amount of plastic waste going into the ocean and improve conditions for biodiversity.

4. Bangladesh’s olive ridley turtles see 53% increase in eggs, the highest in 4 years

“This year, Bangladesh has seen its highest number of olive ridley turtle eggs, thanks to extensive conservation actions, including building awareness among local people and the vigilance of local conservation groups to ensure favorable conditions for the species.

“Nature Conservation Management (NACOM) found 12,425 eggs in five turtle hatcheries — Pachar Island, Shilkali Island, Shahpari Island, Matharbunia, and Shonadia Island in Cox’s Bazar district — through April 17 this year.” The olive ridley is listed as an endangered turtle on the IUCN Red List.

5. The nature-based tourism initiatives helping communities and wildlife across Africa

In this article from the African Wildlife Foundation, learn more about how the organization collaborates with governments and communities across Africa to preserve biodiversity while also boosting the local economy. One remarkable example being the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, which has become a thriving habitat for the endangered mountain gorilla, and provides an important source of income for communities surrounding it!

6. New “snake tunnels” encourage Britain’s adders to reproduce

After radio-tagging studies showed two adder populations on the Greenham and Crookham commons in Berkshire were not mixing, due to fear of crossing the road between them, the local wildlife trust tried a creative solution: Britain’s first adder tunnels.

“We’ve got a biodiversity crisis. We need to be doing new and innovative things,” said Tom Hayward, of the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT). “We need to be thinking outside the box as to how we benefit these species.”

7. With the help of local mushroom enthusiasts, Fungi Foundation rediscovers species lost to science for 36 years

“The big puma fungus (Austroomphaliaster nahuelbutensis), an enigmatic species of fungi that lives underground in Chile’s Nahuelbuta Mountains had only ever been found in the wild once in the 1980s, until it was recently rediscovered by an expedition team with the Fungi Foundation and Fundación Nahuelbuta.

“The story behind this rediscovery encapsulated all of the aspects that can help ensure a successful outcome,” said Christina Biggs, program officer for Re:wild’s Search for Lost Species. “These discoveries are often collaborative efforts between scientists and local communities, and since scientists think it’s likely only 10% of species in the fungi kingdom have been described, these kinds of partnerships are increasingly important since plants, animals and fungi are all facing threats.”

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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.