In the 21st century, the story of species extinction is not a story about ‘natural’ extinctions; it is a story about humans forcing species into extinction. And humans are forcing Earth’s species into extinction at an alarming rate.
Of the 120,000 species listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2020 Red List, over 32,000 species fall into a “threatened” category. This category includes species that are considered vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered. They are considered by the IUCN to be threatened with global extinction. They are the species being forced towards the edge of extinction and beyond.
Examples of threated species include the endangered Siberian tiger as well as the other five remaining subspecies of tigers. All six subspecies of tigers are listed as either endangered or critically endangered. Also considered threatened is the secretarybird which is native to Africa. It was listed as a vulnerable species in 2016 but then relisted as an endangered species in 2020. The Spinetail Devil Ray, which makes its home in tropical waters throughout the world, is also considered an endangered species. However, the Spinetail Devil Ray, like so many other species, is currently in need of an Action Recovery Plan.
So, these species, and over 30,000 other species on Earth are threatened with global extinction. And the primary threat to these species is humans.
But the story of extinction is not just about humans pushing species towards extinction. It is also a story about how other humans are working tirelessly to keep that from happening. Someone pushes a species towards the edge of extinction and someone else tries to keep that species from falling over the edge. It is a battle being waged every day on Earth.
The battles being waged are unique for every species that is threatened with extinction. These battles are part of each species’ unique story. These are stories about abuse and loss. They are also stories about effort and hope. And most importantly, they are stories that are unfolding every day.
When weaved together these stories tell ‘The Unfolding Story of Extinction.”
This journal is a journey to tell that story.