Thursday, September 8, 2022

Threatened Species Day

Yesterday was Threatened Species Day in Australia. The date was chosen because it was on this day in 1936 that the last Thylacine died. (I do notice that goggle spellcheck tells me I'm writing about hyacinths here. Even the Tasmanian Tiger's name has become extinct in the etherwebs. Thanks blogger.)

The day is beset with a complicated stew of feelings about colonisation, the Anthropocene and resurrection. Apparently some Australian-born movie stars, among others, are helping fund an initiative to clone the tiger using numbat, tiger and dunnart genes. More practical ecologists are asking how this funding could be diverted to managing future extinctions. But no, the tiger clone/sighting bling always wins. 

The video of the last surviving tiger does me in. Yes it is a species made iconic for its extinction, but there are many other species that have suffered and become extinct over the last two centuries. Birds, marsupials and insects. Personally, I see the attempted resurrection of the tiger as the ultimate human arrogance. It's using Euro/settler 'science' to justify the elimination of a species ... and then bring it back from the dead. Wow. It's Frankenstein stuff for sure, with an added dose of Theseus' boat. But ultimately, 'building' another tiger is not absolving us of our past. 


  1. The mind boggles, the heart aches and the timbers shiver. There are so many more distressing problems that could be solved with the ridiculously accumulated wealth of seemingly thousands of billionaires and lesser souls than the correction of one mistake. Alas, we know that they will not be solved because it is more important to have wealth and therefor power over others. It seems that the mammoth is also being given the Lazarus treatment.

  2. I couldn't agree more Sarah. I am absolutely horrified and disgusted at this turn of events. It's like saying 'fuck you 'God' - we can make species go extinct and we can bring them back'. This video reduces me to tears. It focuses the deep grief I feel for the loss of our beautiful planet at the hands of the most destructive and cruel species that has probably inhabited it. I know I am not alone in despising my own species and that has to say something. Based on the rules where life is determined by whichever species is the 'fittest', how can any functional species call for its own demise? But that is what so many people are doing, including me.

    1. The colourised version of this footage came out a few years ago and I know it's just cosmetic, but for me the pain becomes more immediate.