Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Going, Going, Gone

Grand Canyon Arizona
I watched Nature on PBS this week. The "Life in Death Valley" series highlights the plight of the Devil's Hole Pupfish--a fish that exists nowhere else and has survived in isolation for over 25,000 years. Until recently that is. Now, there's only about 125 of the little guys left. For more information: Life in Death Valley: Little Fish, Big Splash

This got me wondering about the many animals that are on the brink of extinction (never mind the ones that have already fallen over the edge). A large number of these are kept in the relative safety of zoos, but their living-in-the-wild brethren aren't faring too well:

2000 Giant Panda (Asia)
1650 Peregrin Falcon (North America)
1400 Hawaiian Monk Seal (Central Pacific)
700 Black-footed Ferrets (N.A.)
650 Mountain Gorilla (East Africa)
300 Cook Inlet Beluga Whale (Alaska)
200 Riverine Rabbit (South Africa)
100 Florida Panther (N.A.)
100 Red Wolf (N.A.)
100 Pink Dolphin (Taiwan)

And there's only 10-20 million black-tailed prairie dogs left. Yeah, I know, that sounds like a lot, but consider that their numbers have decreased by 95% in the last century.

Human encroachment, pollution, disease, commercial hunting/fishing, poaching--there's a long list of reasons why the world's wildlife are disappearing. The fact that we're responsible for the declining numbers is rather obvious.

I'll leave you with these fitting quotes:

"What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected."

Chief Seattle, Leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes

"Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it."

Milan Kundera, Czech Author, Critic


Devon Ellington said...

It's very scary. I work with the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation. And sometimes I just feel so helpless.

Lynn Sinclair said...

Have faith, your work is making a difference, Devon.