Conservation efforts to save endangered species worldwide, from the creation of protected areas to campaigns against the illegal trade of wildlife, have had some positive impacts, a new study says. According to
the paper, published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, a wide range of projects have in many cases reversed extinction rates of endangered species, from the U.S. bald eagle, to wild ungulates in Nepal, to mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. And at least 16 bird species from five continents are still surviving that would have gone extinct without direct conservation efforts. The paper categorized conservation efforts in three scales: microscale, in which efforts focus on a single species or ecosystem; mesoscale, which occur at regional levels or between nations; and macroscale, which target global organizations and corporations. One notable success has been the establishment of more than 100,000 protected areas — including national parks, wildlife reserves, and marine protected areas — that now cover more than 7.3 million square miles worldwide. Despite the success stories, however, the authors say such projects require more long-term funding and increased popular and political support.