NATURE’S GREATEST COMEBACKS

10 Animals That Recovered From The Brink Of Extinction


Published on May 2, 2024


Credit: Sid Balachandran

Life always seems to find a way, even against what looks like insurmountable odds. And in a world where the specter of extinction looms large for many species, these tales of resilience and recovery are truly heartwarming.

Join us to meet 10 animals that have defied the odds, bouncing back from the brink of extinction to thrive once again.

1

American Bison

Credit: Jon Sailer

The American Bison, once teetering on the edge of extinction with only a few hundred individuals remaining, has made a remarkable recovery. Through concerted conservation efforts, populations have rebounded to over 500,000 today. Bison now roam freely again across national parks and private reserves, symbolizing a fortunate success story of collaborative conservation initiatives.

2

California Condor

Credit: Kacie Long

Declared officially extinct in the wild in 1987 - with only 22 individuals left - due to a mix of habitat loss and lead poisoning from ammunition, the California Condor faced imminent extinction. Though the conditions for their long-term survival are still to be addressed, captive breeding programs and rigorous conservation measures helped raise their numbers to over 500 birds.

3

Humpback Whale

Credit: Thomas Kelley

In the mid-twentieth century, humpback whales were hunted to the brink of extinction for their blubber, then used to make a valuable type of oil. Fearing that the species would soon disappear if the practice continued unregulated, a number of international bans on commercial whaling were imposed, and this led to a remarkable recovery. From just a few thousand individuals in the 1960s, their population has rebounded to over 135,000 today. Conservation efforts continue to focus on mitigating threats such as entanglement in fishing gear and habitat degradation.

4

Giant Panda

Credit: Elena Loshina

The iconic giant panda, synonymous with conservation efforts worldwide, has also experienced a dramatic recovery from the brink of extinction. Thanks to extensive captive breeding programs and habitat conservation measures, in 2016, the species was reclassified from "endangered" to "vulnerable." Despite this improvement, the species' survival continues to be threatened by habitat loss and climate change.

5

Black-footed Ferret

Credit: Colorado Front Range National Wildlife Refuge Complex, CC BY 4.0

Once hunted for its fur, the black-footed ferret was thought to be almost extinct in the late 70s, with some surviving populations discovered in later years. A 30-year-long recovery program through captive breeding and reintroduction into its native range has helped re-establish populations across the western United States. But the cute mustelid species is not yet out of danger, and it is still considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

6

Peregrine Falcon

Credit: Carlos Delgado, CC BY-SA 4.0

The fastest animal alive, reaching speeds over 200 mph, the majestic peregrine falcon was almost annihilated by widespread usage of the pesticide DDT during the 60s, becoming an endangered species over much of its native range. Since the ban on the toxic insecticide, the species has staged an impressive recovery. Their population has rebounded across North America, with successful reintroduction efforts in urban areas as well.

7

Southern White Rhino

Credit: Geraldine Dukes

The southern white rhinoceros was almost driven to extinction during the 19th century, mainly due to sport hunting and land clearing for crops and cattle. Reduced to a population of 20 to 50 animals, the species has miraculously recovered in recent years. Official conservation efforts, including anti-poaching measures and community-based conservation initiatives, have helped their population rebound to over 18,000 individuals in the wild.

8

Whooping Crane

Credit: Josie Weiss

A species believed to have been naturally rare, the whooping crane was pushed to the cusp of extinction due to overhunting. Their estimated pre-European contact population of around 10,000 birds was reduced to just 15 individuals by the 1940s. Fortunately, intensive conservation efforts have managed to restore their population to over 800 cranes today.

9

Mauritius Kestrel

Credit: Josh Noseworthy, CC BY 2.0

The Mauritius kestrel, a species endemic to the forests of the island country of Mauritius, was once the world's rarest bird, with only a handful of individuals remaining. Indiscriminate use of pesticides and the introduction of invasive species like cats and mongooses pushed the Mauritius Kestrel to the very edge, reaching an incredible all-time low of only 4 individuals in 1974. Against all odds, conservation efforts managed to save the dying species, raising its population to several hundred individuals today.

10

Bald Eagle

Credit: Alexas_Fotos

Not even the mighty Bald Eagle - an American symbol of strength and resilience - is safe from environmental damage, and during the first half of the 20th century, its population was severely reduced by a variety of factors like illegal shooting, pesticides, and habitat loss. Luckily, a number of protection efforts allowed the eagles to successfully rebound and repopulate their native ranges across the country.


RETRO REWIND

10 Timeless TV Shows That Are Still Worth Watching


Published on May 2, 2024


Credit: Jonas Leupe

In the fast-paced world of television, some shows still manage to transcend their time, retaining their charm and relevance decades after their original airings. Whether it's the captivating storytelling, memorable characters, or universal themes, these old-time gems continue to captivate modern audiences.

Here are 10 classic TV shows that stand the test of time, offering stories that remain as fresh today as they were during their heyday.

1

The Twilight Zone

Credit: ALEXANDRE LALLEMAND

Rod Serling's groundbreaking anthology series, The Twilight Zone, remains a masterclass in storytelling. A genius mix of horror, pulp fiction, and comedy, each episode plunges viewers into a world of mystery, often ending with unexpected and thought-provoking twists. And the good news is that, despite premiering in the late 50s, there have been a steady stream of revivals and spin-offs, almost to this day.

2

I Love Lucy

Credit: Bureau of Industrial Service

Lucille Ball's comedic genius shines in I Love Lucy, a seminal sitcom that set the standard for the whole genre. Spanning six seasons, the show was the most-watched show in the United States for several years, and with good reason! The show's blend of physical comedy and witty dialogue still elicits genuine laughter and resonates with modern audiences. If you are a fan of the genre, this is a must-watch.

3

Bonanza

Credit: Sarah Lachise

Named after a term used by miners when referring to a large deposit of silver ore, Bonanza is a Western set in the 1860s. The show follows the adventures of the wealthy Cartwright family as they navigate life on the Ponderosa Ranch in Nevada, near Lake Tahoe. With a unique blend of action, drama, and moral lessons, the show remains a classic example of the genre.

4

M A S H

Credit: CBS Television

An acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, M A S H explores the realities of war with a very well-balanced blend of comedy and drama. Set in the early 1950s, during the Korean War, the show has an ensemble of larger-than-life characters that try to survive and keep their humanity in the chaos of war. A timeless gem, the show's sharp writing and memorable characters make it relevant to this day.

5

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Credit: CBS Television

A trailblazer for women in television, The Mary Tyler Moore Show broke new ground with its portrayal of a single, independent career woman. In the 1970s, this was a rarity in American television, and it soon became one of the most beloved shows of the decade. Praised to this day for its complex and relatable characters and storylines, the series remains a cultural touchstone for its wit, charm, and serious themes.

6

Cheers

Credit: Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0

Set in an eponymous bar in Boston, Cheers is a quintessential sitcom that revolves around the lives of its colorful regulars. Although it was almost canceled during its first season, Cheers ascended to become one of the most beloved and critically acclaimed series in television history, running from 1982 to 1993, and spanning a total of 275 episodes across eleven seasons. The show's clever writing and amazing cast make it a mandatory watch for anyone seeking laughter and camaraderie.

7

The Honeymooners

Credit: CBS Television

A classic sitcom that captures the humor and dynamics of working-class life in the 1950s, The Honeymooners follows the lives of New York City bus driver Ralph Kramden, his wife, and friends. Jackie Gleason's larger-than-life performance as Kramden and the show's timeless humor ensure that even modern audiences can relate.

8

The Dick Van Dyke Show

Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Starring comedy legend Dick Van Dyke, this sitcom follows the misadventures of a comedy writer for a fictional TV show and his family. The series delves into the everyday lives of its characters, presenting a myriad of comedic scenarios that the main cast often find themselves entangled in. Both sharp and endearing, The Dick Van Dyke Show left an enduring legacy in the world of comedy TV shows, and its influence in modern shows is evident to this day.

9

Star Trek

Credit: Wonderlane

A visionary science fiction show created by Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek continues to inspire audiences with its exploration of space, humanity, and the unknown. Certainly one of the most rewatchable TV shows that there have ever been, and despite beginning in the 1960s, the franchise hasn’t lost an inch of cultural relevance. Whether you want to revisit the original series, and its modern successors or immerse yourself for the first time in the awe-inspiring world of the series, you are in for a treat.

10

Bewitched

Credit: ABC Television

Bewitched follows the life of Samantha Stephens, a witch married to a mortal man, as she tries to navigate the challenges of suburban life while keeping her magical abilities a secret. With the stellar performance of Elizabeth Montgomery, the show's blend of fantasy, humor, and social commentary remains enchanting to this day.

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quibble

/ˈkwɪb(ə)l/