A White Rhino’s Sad Message

You may have read in the news recently that one of only seven remaining white rhinos died last week.  There are now only six known white rhinos alive in the entire world.  White rhinos are functionally extinct.

One of the remaining white rhinos, in captivity at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido.

One of the remaining white rhinos, in captivity at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido.

Most people think of extinction as NO LONGER ALIVE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. But functionally extinct is a sort of twilight version.  It means that there may be remaining individuals in the wild or in captivity, but there are not enough individuals to provide their function in their eco system, or their breeding population has dwindled to the point of no return.  Although there are 6 remaining Northern White Rhinos in the world,  the number will only go down.

South China Tiger: Functionally Extinct.

South China Tiger: Functionally Extinct.

It’s shitty when you realize that a species exists now, but it will never bounce back.  Like somebody coming to their own funeral.  You hope it’s a wake up call to people around that species can so easily vanish for ever. Scientists estimate that as many as 200 species go extinct every 24 hours. So what message do White Rhinos have for us now that their days are literally numbered?

Golden Toads: Functionally Extinct.

Golden Toads: Functionally Extinct.

It may be too late for Northern White Rhinos, Golden Toads, China’s Yangtze River Dolphins Baiji, and Wild Ocean Oysters.  But there are 100 species alive right now that could be gone tomorrow.  There are 700 species alive right now that could be gone in a week.  How can we stop this loss?

China River Dolphins: Functionally Extinct.

China River Dolphins: Functionally Extinct.

The number one cause of extinction is loss of habitat.  This is why Marine Protected Areas are so important.  We can stop the destruction of wild habitat for logging and farming.  We can change our personal habits to consume less and prevent future expansion.  We can stay mindful. Take a minute and let your heart break, and then decide what you can do to help.

Next week’s blog, One Person Can Make A Difference. (…Dr. Laurie L Marker shows us how)

-merbabe

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