The dodo is easily one of the most popular creatures to be known to be extinct. The bird, endemic to Mauritius, has been extinct since the 17th century but it is still fairly recognisable to most people. It may feel like we’ve all experienced its presence throughout our lives, despite it having been absent for so long. We may say it’s a bit of a standard-bearer for all extinct species.
There are other creatures that are risking extinction, often because of human beings’ habit of treating precious and finite resources as if they were not.
Animals which still feature prominently in children’s story books may find themselves being gobbled down into a dangerous extinction spiral if we don’t all focus on their protection.
The mountain gorilla and the Javan rhino are two animals which are risking extinction if poachers, ruthless traders and other irresponsible people are not stopped right away.
A series of videos and posters was produced by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) a few years back, asking whether soon only the words describing the animals will remain, because the animals themselves will be long gone.
IFAW does a splendid job in providing tools to help protect endangered species, or species that are not endangered yet but may become so if left uncared for. They operate in more than 40 countries and territories and also work on political advocacy to complement their smart campaigns and drive their work further.
We don’t want to have to read The Jungle Book to our children in a few decades’ time and have them think that the Indian elephant, the sloth bear and the black panther were but figments of Kipling’s imagination.
They’re not invented. They’re right here, so let’s make sure they remain with us.