In a world that often feels plagued with environmental problems, it’s imperative to recognize our triumphs! Here are nine celebratory pieces of nature news from across our planet. These victories demonstrate extensive conservation efforts by governments, businesses, local communities and organizations like our conservation partner, World Wildlife Fund

1. 30 by 30: Hope for a Nature-Positive World 

One of our most recent and significant victories occurred at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada. Nearly 200 UN member countries unanimously agreed to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. This framework also establishes a global target to conserve at least 30% of our lands, inland waters and oceans worldwide. Crucially, it emphasizes respecting the rights and knowledge of Indigenous peoples and communities and actively promotes their leadership roles in these transformative conservation projects.

This “shared global goal…is an exceptional feat…and a win for people and the planet. It sends a clear signal and must be the launch pad for action from governments, business and society to transition towards a nature-positive world, in support of climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.

WWF “campaigned for this agreement for nature to include: a mission to not just halt, but reverse nature loss; spatial conservation targets to protect 30% of land, freshwater and ocean by 2030; action to tackle our unsustainable footprint of production and consumption; significant increase in resources to finance action for nature; a strong mechanism to put this into practice and all underlined by a rights-based approach.”

2. UN Works to End Plastic Pollution 

Furthermore, the United Nations Environment Assembly took a momentous step by agreeing to develop a legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution. This is considered the largest environmental initiative since the influential 1989 Montreal Protocol, which successfully phased out ozone-depleting substances. 

Utende Beach, Mafia Island, RUMAKI Biosphere Reserve, Tanzania

Aerial photograph of the RUMAKI Biosphere Reserve in Tanzania.

3. Tanzania: Celebrating a New Biosphere Reserve 

In Tanzania, the most biologically productive and diverse marine area in East Africa, known as RUMAKI, has been declared a new Biosphere Reserve. This outstanding mosaic of tropical marine habitats encompasses coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves and intertidal flats. It hosts populations of sea turtles, migratory birds, dolphins and whale sharks. RUMAKI also contains two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. More than 229,000 local people will benefit from protected fisheries, seaweed farming, beekeeping and the potential for a burgeoning coastal tourism industry.

Elephant mother with child at the waterhole at sunset, Botswana

4. KAZA: Protecting Elephants & 

The first-ever synchronized and coordinated aerial survey was conducted to study elephants across the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. KAZA was envisioned “to establish a world-class transfrontier conservation and tourism destination area in the Okavango and Zambezi River Basin regions of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe within the context of sustainable development.

The data collected in this large-scale study is being analyzed to provide crucial baseline information on elephant numbers and distribution. It will guide collective policy and practices among KAZA’s partner countries for long-term protection and management of Africa’s largest contiguous elephant population.

Portrait of an African wild dog

5. Uganda: Sightings of Wild Dogs 

In another encouraging development, African painted dogs (commonly known as wild dogs) were spotted in Kidepo National Park in Uganda for the first time in four decades!

A brown bear catches a salmon in Alaska.

6. Alaska: A Win for Brown Bears, Wildlife & Communities 

In Alaska, the fight against the proposed Pebble Mine was won due to the establishment of a native-owned conservation easement. The easement runs directly through the heart of the now-defunct mining project. This victory was further consolidated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling based on the Clean Water Act.

A newly-discovered color changing blue lizard in the Greater Mekong.

© Henrik Bringsoe

7. Southeast Asia: New Species Discovered in the Greater Mekong 

Southeast Asia’s Greater Mekong region has proven to be a treasure trove of biodiversity, with 380 new species of plants and animals discovered over the past few years. This includes 24 amphibians, 19 fishes, one mammal, 290 plants and 46 reptiles (including a color-changing lizard!) across Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar.

Royal Bengal Tiger with cubs in India.

8. India: Tiger Populations Have Doubled 

Shifting our gaze to India, we find that the number of wild tigers has more than doubled since 2010. This inspiring increase is the result of rigorous conservation efforts demonstrated by 247,684 square miles of foot surveys, 32,588 camera counts and tireless work of conservation teams on the ground (equating to 641,102 person days). Some regions have even seen their tiger populations triple!

9. Australia: Eliminating Gill Nets from the Great Barrier Reef 

Australia, too, has seen inspiring progress. Effective conservation strategies have resulted in the elimination of gill nets in the Great Barrier Reef. This victory was achieved through a combination of policy changes, purchasing gill net permits and enhanced monitoring and management of fishing vessels.

These remarkable successes remind us of the power of collective action, the importance of science-based policies and the resilience of nature. They inspire us to keep striving for a sustainable future for us and the generations of conservation champions to come.