Bald eagles. Gray whales. The air we breathe. What do they all have in common? They’ve all come back to health before reaching the point of no return. These are what we consider to be 10 of nature’s top “comeback” stories.
Each comeback has a unique story because, while humans certainly played a role in each decline, they also helped bring them back to where they are today. In fact, these comebacks could have easily ended tragically were it not for the efforts of dedicated individuals and organizations around the world.
But we still have work to do. That’s why we’ve also identified the NEXT great comeback stories. These are the places, species and landscapes for which the Conservancy is working on restoration efforts and hope could be nominees for the next list of great comeback stories.
Top 10 Comebacks
Bald eagle populations began to rebound after the pesticide DDT was banned in the United States in 1972. Explore
Grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area may soon be taken off the threatened list. Explore
The Conservancy helped initiate a successful captive breeding program that has helped the Santa Cruz Island fox population rebound. Explore
The Cuyahoga River Valley and Lake Erie were once devoid of most aquatic life, but have been brought back to health thanks in part to the Clean Water Act. Explore
Large swaths of the eastern United States are more forested today than they were in the 1800s, thanks to the Weeks Act, conservation easements and sustainable forestry. Explore
In 1974, the Mauritius kestrel was considered the rarest bird in the world – there were just four of them! Explore
The Endangered Species Act has been crucial in helping protect large predators like the gray wolf in the United States. Explore
The International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling may have saved gray whales from extinction. Explore
The passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970 established air quality as an issue of public and environmental health in the United States. Explore
Near the verge of extinction in the 1800s, the southern white rhino is now considered the most abundant rhino in the world. Explore
The NEXT Big Comebacks
China’s Yunnan golden monkey is one of the world’s most endangered primates, and the Conservancy and local partners are looking for ways to save it. Explore
Much floodplain land in the United States has been lost to farming or development, but reconnecting floodplains can be an effective and low-cost way to reduce flooding. Explore
Salmon are critical to the entire Pacific Coast ecosystem. The Conservancy is involved in more than 50 restoration projects across five states and Canada. Explore