Sharing Conservation Success Stories

Wild Hope

Every year, from April through August, 93-year-old Al Larson drives the high-country roads of southwest Idaho monitoring the 300 bluebird nesting boxes hemagazine cover depicting a woman holding an owl has mounted along five wilderness trails over the past 30 years. Larson bands every nestling he finds, and by his reckoning, has fostered more than 27,000 bluebirds, playing a crucial role in the bird’s recovery after a mid-century population decline.

At the Animals Asia China Bear Rescue Center in Chengdu, China, veterinarian Mandala Hunter-Ishikawa, tends to the wounds of 124 battered moon bears rescued from bile farms. In New York City, Rita McMahon, a former marketing executive, founded the city’s first wildlife rehabilitation center, the Wild Bird Fund, in 2001. Last year WBF treated more than 4,000 birds, including migrating rarities like a northern parula, a small warbler. In Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, the Jaguar Rescue Center takes in howler monkeys confiscated from poachers engaged in the illegal exotic pet trade and nurtures them back to health before returning them to the wild.

These are just a few of the inspiring stories of individuals and organizations endeavoring to safeguard wild species published in Wild Hope, a collaborative, community-sourced magazine. Our purpose in sharing their stories is to raise awareness of the need to preserve our biodiversity heritage and motivate readers to get involved in protecting other species with whom we share this planet.

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Throughout Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history, species have died off naturally when they couldn’t adjust to changing environmental conditions. Today, however, species are vanishing many times faster than the natural rate of extinction due to human interference, principally habitat destruction, species translocation, pollution, over-exploitation, and global warming. Humans are altering Earth’s atmosphere and landscape in ways that are inhibiting the ability of many species to adapt to the changes, pushing them to the brink of extinction, and in too many cases, over it.

The World Wildlife Fund, an international conservation organization, estimates that the lowest number of species becoming extinct each year is 200; the highest is 100,000. And thousands of species disappear before they are even identified by scientists. The Center for Biological Diversity, which works to protect the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive, predicts that between 30 to 50 percent of all living species may be lost by mid-century.

If you have an inspiring story or compelling images about saving a wild species that you’d like to share, contact

At Wild Hope, we believe it’s not too late to turn the tide of extinction, if we try. But many people are either unaware of the impact that the loss of biodiversity will have on the planet (and ultimately the survival of our own species) or they feel powerless to do anything about it. That’s why we created Wild Hope – to share conservation success stories that show how anyone can participate in saving Earth’s biodiversity by applying whatever skills or talents they have, and that a science degree isn’t a prerequisite to making a difference.

The idea to create Wild Hope was born out of conversations the founders, Kathryn Arnold and Jane Palecek, had with people who are actively engaged in preserving wild species. Over and over, we heard these individuals express an optimism and determination that isn’t being communicated in the mainstream or environmental media. We realized that if we could share their uplifting and inspiring stories with the world, the hope would become contagious.

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