Conservation has saved 48 birds, mammals from extinction

A Przewalski’s horse is held at one of the captive breeding enclosures at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia. Credit: Joshua Rapp Learn

Efforts to conserve species have resulted in saving at least 48 mammals and birds from extinction since the early 1990s. The rates of extinction would have been three or four times higher if actions like captive breeding hadn’t been taken, according to a recent study in Conservation Letters. While extinctions of many species and large-scale population losses of others have been occurring at a massive rate in recent decades —15 mammal and bird species are known or suspected to have gone extinct since 1993 — the actions taken to bring species like Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) in Mongolia from the brink of extinction through captive breeding at facilities around the world has staved off some of these losses. However, other researchers noted that the lack of resources means many critically endangered species may not get the opportunity to survive extinction.

Read more at The New York Times.