2017 may not be looking so hot for us humans, but in the animal kingdom, things are looking up. In Australia, there have been multiple reports of Tasmanian tigers roaming the land, despite the common belief they’ve been extinct for 80 years,NPR reports. The carnivorous marsupials who look like cat-dog hybrids were thought to have died out in the 1930s after the last living Tasmanian tiger died in captivity. Native to Australia, locals now theorize the species never left, thanks to the numerous “plausible sightings” dotting the countryside, inspiring James Cook University researchers to track one down and find out for themselves.
Though the Tasmanian tiger isn’t the only animal making a comeback. These four other species are having a good year as well, further proving that humans need to step up our game.
Once an endangered species, manatee populations are now back in action. Last Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service upgraded the cows of the sea from an endangered status to a threatened status in response to growing numbers. In Florida alone, the manatee population has grown over the past three years to over 6,500 and counting. That being said, manatees die unnecessarily every year due toboat propellers and similarly horrific accidents, which means there’s still plenty of work to do to ensure their protection.
Grizzly bears had a scare in the 1970s when researchers determined there were only about 140 in the United States. Since the iconic type of bear was placed on the endangered species list in 1975, those numbers have steadily increased, leaving us with approximately 1,200 in the Rocky Mountains alone. According to The Seattle Times, grizzly bear populations have been doing so well, some federal officials are calling for their removal from the list.
When you conjure an image of a tiger (as one so often does), you’re most likely thinking of Siberian tigers. With their famous orange fur and black-brown stripes, there’s a reason they’ve dominated cereal boxes and children’s books for decades. While the species still sits squarely on the endangered list, a 5,600-square-mile reserve in northeastern China hopes to change that. By providing an expansive, protected home for both Siberian tigers and Amur leopards, the Chinese government intends to create a designated space for wildlife while also boosting population numbers.
In 2000, poor little island foxes dwindled in numbers after pesticide use decimated bald eagle populations and fox-hungry golden eagles took their place. By 2004, only 15 foxes lived on San Miguel and Santa Rosa Islands, which prompted federal officials to add them to the endangered species list. After sorting out the pesticides, reintroducing bald eagles, and relocating golden eagles, foxes bred in captivity were reintroduced to the islands from which they first came. Now that island fox populations are booming, their status has been upgraded to “recovered.”