On June 28, 2007, the Bald Eagle was removed from the list of threatened species after being under federal protection since 1940. Here are 10 other amazing animals that have been removed from the endangered species list...
Panda Bear In 2016, the giant panda bear — long the symbol of wildlife conservation, via the World Wildlife Fund — was officially bumped off the endangered list, as the population of giant pandas living in the wild jumped to just over 1,800.
Yellowstone Grizzly Bears In a controversial move, the Yellowstone grizzly lost its endangered classification in 2017, as the bears now number in the 700s. Activists worry that the loss of the protections afforded to the grizzly under the Endangered Species Act put it once again at risk of dwindling in numbers (there were fewer than 200 of the bears in the mid-20th century).
Gray Wolf Gray wolves almost went extinct in the lower 48 states due to hunting. However, they were placed under protection in the 1960s after they disappeared from all areas of the country except a part of Michigan and Minnesota. They were reintroduced into Idaho and Yellowstone National Park, and recovering populations exist throughout the west.
Snow Leopards In 2017, the snow leopard was upgraded from the endangered list, where it was placed in 1972, to vulnerable, although animals in this category still face a high risk of going extinct in the wild. Estimates by the Snow Leopard Trust are that there are fewer than 100 in the wild, and the population could be 40. The beautiful white cat with black spots lives in subalpine and alpine regions where it blends in with the snow.
Southern White Rhinoceros The Southern white rhino is known for its square lip and neared extinction because of poaching of the animal’s horn. It is now listed as near-threatened due to poaching and habitat loss and is found in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The last of the northern white rhinos died in 2018 after a valiant attempt to save them.
Chatham Petrel There are only about 2,000 of these Pacific seabirds left in the wild, but their numbers have improved enough that they were lowered from the endangered list to vulnerable. This interesting bird, which lives in a burrow and lays only one egg, is endemic to New Zealand and the Chatham Islands. Conservation efforts in New Zealand, including protection from predators, have been successful in improving the breeding of these interesting sea birds.
Arabian Oryx In 1972, the last wild Arabian oryx was shot and killed in Oman. Native to the steppe and desert areas of the Arabian Peninsula, a massive effort was undertaken to breed captive animals and reintroduce them into the wild. This horned antelope with a distinctive shoulder bump is the first to have been returned to vulnerable status from its previous classification as extinct in the wild.
Gray Whale Gray whales that live in the Western North Pacific were once thought to be extinct, while those who live in the Eastern North Pacific are doing well. It is believed that around 130 of the Western gray whales along the Western North Pacific are in existence, which makes this group still critically endangered. The Eastern gray whales are believed to have recovered so well they are at near capacity.
Steller Sea Lion The Steller sea lion is currently listed as near-threatened and is the largest of the eared seals, attaining lengths of eleven feet and weighing more than a ton. They range from California coastal waters to the coast of Japan. Although severe overfishing caused a steep decline in their numbers, the population has increased, and they were removed in 2013 from the endangered list.
Northern Brown Kiwi The flightless northern brown Kiwi with its spiky feathers may be odd-looking, but it deserves love too. These small omnivores live only in New Zealand on the North Island. The Northern brown and rowi, two species that represent the national bird of New Zealand, have been upgraded to vulnerable because of dedicated conservation efforts.