After poaching and deforestation nearly wiped out these bears in the 1980s, the Chinese government began enacting protections and restoring bamboo forests. By 2014, there were 1,864 pandas in the wild, enough to take the species off the endangered list.
In 1963, there were only about 400 wild nesting pairs of the U.S. national bird. This was due in part to the widespread use of DDT, a pesticide that contaminated the bald eagles’ food. But the federal government passed protection laws and banned DDT, and now 14,000 nesting pairs can be found in the lower 48 states.
Decades of hunting nearly exterminated the American wolf population—in 1975, only about 1,000 were left in the contiguous states. But they received endangered species protections that same year, and their numbers have grown to about 5,000 today.
Lesser Long-Nosed Bat
There were fewer than 1,000 of these bats in the late 1980s—but then the U.S. and Mexican governments began protecting the caves and abandoned mines the bats like to roost in. Between the two countries, there are now more than 200,000 bats.
Trappers hunted otters for their fur for centuries. By the time the International Fur Seal Treaty was signed in 1911, fewer than 2,000 of the creatures were left in the wild. Today the population is still endangered, but it has grown to more than 125,000 otters.