One immediate thing we can do is to preserve as many species as we possibly can while they are still living. These organisms can be reared and bred in the many zoos, preserves, botanical gardens, arboretums, national parks, and game parks around the world.
The San Diego Zoo (where Helen took many photos)
and The Singapore Zoological Gardens (where Galvin did his research)
Many zoos, in order to preserve the line of a species, will captively breed them and raise them as closely as possible to wild conditions. In certain circumstances, these animals or plants are returned to their native environments in the wild. These efforts have proven to preserve unique species that otherwise would have been lost forever.
Thousands of years ago, an unusual, tawny reddish gray deer lived in the swamps on the plains of northeastern China. During the Shang dynasty, the swamps where they lived were drained as a result of human spread. The deer became extinct in the wild.
In 1865, however, a French missionary named Abbé Armand David saw a herd of unique deer over the wall of the strongly guarded Imperial Hunting Park south of Peking. It was the last herd of the Chihli plains deer, surviving total annihilation only because it had been reared in game parks.
These deer were renamed Père David's Deer, and a few individuals were sent to the West, bred, and put in various zoos. This was lucky indeed, because the Hun Ho River flooded in 1894, leading to the deaths of most of the deer. Those that survived were killed during the 1900 Boxer Rebellion, when foreign troops slaughtered and sold their meat. Those that remained in Peking were all dead by 1921.
However, the Duke of Bedford gathered a great number of the deer on his estate in southern England. Starting with only 16 individuals in 1900, by 1922 the group had increased to sixty-four. From these individuals, herds were established in foreign zoos. It was only because of captive upbringing that this amazing species was able to survive.