Gray whaleJune 16, 1824: In the back room of a London coffeehouse, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is founded. The RSPCA is the world’s first national animal protection organization.

June 16, 1972: Declaring that "The protection and improvement of the human environment … is the urgent desire of the peoples of the whole world and the duty of all governments," the U.N.'s first environment summit ends in Stockholm, Sweden.

June 16, 1987: Orange Band, the last member of its species — named for the ID band tied to its leg — died in Florida. The dusky seaside sparrow was once common along a stretch of the Atlantic coast of central Florida, but intense development doomed the species.

June 16, 1994: Off-limits for hunting for nearly half a century, California gray whales (at right) are removed from the Endangered Species List.

Photo: Jim Borrowman, Straitwatch/NOAA

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.