Here is the news…and it’s ALL uplifting. The naysayers may have you believe that 2020 was nothing but COVID, Brexit and Trump but here’s a look back on some of the good stuff that happened in 2020.

1. Peru began reforesting the area around Machu Picchu with plans to plant 1M trees on the site in the next 5 years.

2. Blue whale numbers are on the up. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey have recorded ‘unprecedented numbers’ of the world’s largest mammal in the waters around South Georgia.

Humpback Whale, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

3. Kenya Wildlife Service announced an increase in elephant numbers in 2020, from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,000 in 2020. As of August, last year, only 7 elephants had been poached (still 7 too many) compared to 34 in 2019 and 80 in 2018. And Amboseli National Park saw a baby boom with the birth of 140 elephants in 2020.

Elephants, Amboseli National Park, Kenya

4. 2020 was the 30th anniversary of the reintroduction of red kites to the UK. In 1980 they had been persecuted to near extinction but today there are 10,000 red kites across the UK.

5. In November 2020, the Falkland Islands were finally officially cleared of all land mines, nearly 40 years since the end of the conflict between Argentina and the UK. Tens of thousands of mines have been cleared since a UK funded programme started on the project in 2009.

World War 2 Gun Relic, Ordnance Point, Falkland Islands

6. On the Isle of Mull in north-west Scotland, 22 breeding pairs of sea eagles now inhabit the craggy rocks and cliffs of Loch Na Keal and the island’s other waterways. In 1917 they were persecuted to extinction. Off the back of the successful reintroduction in Mull, sea eagles (also known as white-tailed eagles) have now been reintroduced to the Isle of Wight and have been seen on England’s south coast.

7. There are now 894 Iberian lynx in the wilds of Spain, a dramatic increase from just 92 animals in 2002. The EU has set aside EUR18M to support conservation projects for the next 5 years which means projects like the one sponsored by TENT, can continue working towards restoring a viable, genetically diverse population of lynx.

Iberian lynx close up of face, Spain
Iberian lynx

8. For the second year in a row, Iceland did not hunt any whales in 2020. Opinions are changing in Iceland and the consumption of whale meat has dropped. There are signs that Iceland, one of only three remaining countries that hunt whales, will end the annual hunt permanently.

9. Kazakhstan became the 88th country to sign an international protocol agreeing to the abolition of the death penalty.

Kazakh man, Astana, Kazakhstan

10. North Sudan officially ended 30 years of Islamic State rule in 2020 when its dictator was toppled and replaced with a combined military and civilian government. There followed far-reaching human rights reforms including the banning of public flogging and the outlawing of female genital mutilation.

Have more good news from 2020 to share with us? Let us know by emailing [email protected]. Here’s to a positive outlook for 2021.

Thanks for reading

Jarrod Kyte

Author: Jarrod Kyte