Today major news organizations are reporting that, according to the IUCN, the Western Black Rhino is officially extinct. The BBC, CNN and others must have received a press release that is not yet available on the IUCN website (as of my writing and posting this), but if you search on the terms IUCN and rhino you will find a link to the following video that provides a good visual definition of melancholic beauty:
When I see news like this, I fight the natural inclination toward depression and channel the emotional energy as best I can, using the news as a reminder of how slowly we are working at the various tasks mentioned in a string of earlier posts. It is another example of the feeling I seem to have with increasing frequency: being late.
I wandered around the IUCN website looking for the specific details about that extinction, and rediscovered their invaluable explanation and link to their compilation of information about endangered, threatened and extinct species appropriately titled the red list.
I came across this photo to the right, accompanied by data about the habitat and plight of this animal. I realized I was in that habit a few weeks ago, and snapped a few photos from the water, remarking to my colleagues that I had never seen mangroves backdropped by desert before.
As my colleagues swam in the waters you see in the photos above, our attention was on the marine ecosystem. I had no clue that in that desert on the island behind the mangroves this charismatic little creature was facing such tough times.
That day I saw the island’s salt mines mentioned in the IUCN red list information and I also saw, visiting with the owner of that island, the plan for resort development mentioned on the red list site. That resort was never built, and almost certainly will not be (at least not as described on the red list site). But for this creature, that is probably not reassurance enough. The clock is ticking. C’mon!