During the holiday season, we come together across lands, faiths and cultures to celebrate the persistence of light in the darkness. And we at Natural Habitat Adventures are especially happy to share some good news with you from the natural world. In 2016, all of us can celebrate some important conservation triumphs in an age where many wild creatures the world over are threatened.

As we mark the bright spots of 2016, we hope you’ll join us in gratitude for these big conservation achievements:

The giant panda has been removed from the endangered species list. Efforts by China, WWF and others committed to the panda’s protection have helped it rebound from the brink of extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced the change in the giant panda’s official status in the Red List of Threatened Species, charting the 17 percent rise in the giant panda population in the decade up to 2014. The most recent nationwide census in China found 1,864 giant pandas in the wild.

See Wild Panda Bears in Chengdu China

Photo © Expedition Leader Brad Josephs

Tiger numbers are rising for the first time in a century, with 3,890 counted in the latest census encompassing 13 Asian tiger countries – that’s nearly 700 more than just five years ago. In India, which has seen the most significant population rebound, tigers have benefited from concerted attention from India’s government, conservation groups and eco-travelers who bring economic sustenance to local communities through tiger-focused tourism.

Wild Tiger in India

“India Tiger” — Ranthambore National Park, India. © Timothy Brooks

Mountain gorilla births are up in Uganda. An infant was born in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in November, the third in as many months, signaling that consistent and sustained efforts to ensure the gorillas’ survival are paying off. Under decades of diligent surveillance, Africa’s mountain gorilla population has increased from 620 individuals in 1989 to approximately 880 individuals today. Just under half of those live in Bwindi, with the remainder in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Baby Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda

“Curious Gorilla” — Virunga National Park, Rwanda. © Dennis Stogsdill

We’ve still got a lot of work to do on behalf of elephants, rhinos, giraffes, orangutans and other species that face grave challenges from poaching, habitat loss and other threats. But conservation success stories like these provide encouragement that a concerted global effort can turn their fate around, too.

Want to join us in that mission? You can, when you travel with Natural Habitat Adventures and WWF. As a participant in conservation travel, your presence directly supports the protection of nature and wildlife while benefiting local people who are closely involved with both. What better way to welcome 2017 than by booking a nature adventure?

All of us here at Nab Hab and WWF wish you the very best for the holidays, and a New Year filled with peace and gratitude.