European bison: A conservation success

The European bison has moved a step back from the brink of extinction, according to an update of the official extinction list.

Europe’s largest land mammal was almost wiped out by hunting and deforestation a century ago, but their numbers have now risen to more than 6,000 in wild herds across the continent.

The recovery is regarded as a “conservation success” story. But 31 species of plants and animals have gone extinct in the latest tally by the International Union for the Conservation for Nature.

In the third and final update for this year, Dr. Bruno Oberle, the union’s director general, said the recovery of the European bison and 25 other animal and plant species demonstrated “the power of conservation.”

But he added the growing list of extinct species “is a stark reminder that conservation efforts must urgently expand.”

It has now assessed almost 130,000 species of plants and animals, of which over a quarter are threatened with extinction.

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