As the new year begins, we reflect on some of our biggest stories and achievements from 2018.

UK microbeads ban takes effect

The ban covers all microbeads in rinse-off cosmetic products. Credit: Tanya Cox/FFI
The ban covers all microbeads in rinse-off cosmetic products. Credit: Tanya Cox/FFI

The year began with the UK microbeads ban coming into effect. This was a huge victory for everyone who fought long and hard to stop these plastics reaching our seas.

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New hope for critically endangered Myanmar snub-nosed monkey

Myanmar snub-nosed monkey. Credit: Shaohua Dong
Credit: Shaohua Dong

In Myanmar, a new report revealed that concerted conservation action has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the outlook for the unusual looking snub-nosed monkey.

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World’s last male northern white rhino dies

Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino. Credit: Paul White/FFI
Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino. Credit: Paul White/FFI

In March, there was great sadness when Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, died at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. There are now just two females of the same sub-species left in existence.

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Great news for ocean plastics as Commonwealth nations join forces to take action

Plastic pollutes our oceans and the life they support. Credit: whitcomberd/Adobe Stock
Plastic pollutes our oceans and the life they support. Credit: whitcomberd/Adobe Stock

Positive news in April as the world moved one step closer to cleaner oceans with a commitment by several Commonwealth nations to work together to prevent marine plastic pollution.

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Super-rare giant sponge discovered in seahorse hotspot

The incredibly rare Neptune's cup sponge. Credit: Marianne Teoh/FFI
The incredibly rare Neptune’s cup sponge. Credit: Marianne Teoh/FFI

During a seahorse survey, conducted by FFI and its partners in Cambodia’s first dedicated marine protected area, an incredibly rare sponge (called Neptune’s cup) was recorded for the first time in the country.

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Magical transformation spells brighter future for Redonda’s fantastic beasts

Redonda tree lizard. Credit: Ed Marshall
Redonda tree lizard. Credit: Ed Marshall

Fantastic news from Redonda, as the remote Caribbean island saw a miraculous transformation in its native flora and fauna following the removal of invasive rats and goats.

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The heat is on – And that’s great news for rare Siamese crocodiles

Siamese crocodiles are among the world's rarest reptiles. Credit: Jeremy Holden/FFI
Siamese crocodiles are among the world’s rarest reptiles. Credit: Jeremy Holden/FFI

In July, 65 Siamese crocodile hatchlings were born at a captive-breeding facility in Phnom Penh, representing a momentous event for one of the world’s rarest reptiles.

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Rare pear expedition bears fruit in Kyrgyzstan

The Bukharan pear is restricted to tiny populations across Central Asia. Credit: Ishan Kanungo
The Bukharan pear is restricted to tiny populations across Central Asia. Credit: Ishan Kanungo

In Kyrgyzstan, a new population of one of the world’s most endangered trees, the Bukharan pear, was discovered. This discovery provides a massive boost to the survival prospects of this species, which has virtually disappeared from most of its former strongholds in Central Asia.

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Little fish, big deal – Baby sturgeon offers hope for the future

Juvenile sturgeon found in the Rioni River. Credit: Tamar Editherashvili/FFI
Juvenile sturgeon found in the Rioni River. Credit: Tamar Editherashvili/FFI

August brought the exciting discovery of a critically endangered sturgeon in the Rioni River in Georgia. This juvenile is a symbol of hope for the future of these magnificent, mysterious fish.

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Mountain gorillas off the critical list – but they still need intensive care

Young mountain gorilla. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI
Young mountain gorilla. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI

In November, following mountain gorilla population surveys which showed an increase in numbers, mountain gorillas were officially down-listed on the IUCN Red List from Critically Endangered to Endangered. While we must remain vigilant in our work to protect these great apes, this news shows what dedicated conservation action can achieve.

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UK ivory ban sets the global standard

African elephant. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/Northern Rangelands Trust
African elephant. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/Northern Rangelands Trust

UK Parliament passed new legislation banning the sale of virtually all ivory products, regardless of age. The ban, which FFI called for, is one of the toughest in the world.

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Celebrating 20 years of golden opportunities in Belize

Golden Stream River, Belize. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI
Golden Stream River, Belize. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI

As we reach the end of the year, we celebrate one of our longest standing partnerships – 20 years with the Ya’axché Conservation Trust. Over the years the partnership has blossomed and together we are protecting the Maya Golden Landscape in Belize.

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