Tuesday, October 25, 2011


It's not like I have nothing else to think about; and I really prefer to not pass on depressing news these days. We all have enough of that.

But there was an event announced today which has been preying on my mind since I saw it; and which truly should not go unnoticed, unmarked.

We've lost another big animal. The "Javan" rhinoceros- which actually used to range from India and Burma throughout SE Asia- is now known to be extinct on the mainland, entirely. The last remaining Vietnamese rhino was poached.

For a long full story; a video from Vietnam is here. It works well at full screen. If you have children who can understand it, tolerate it, it would be great to share with them.

This is a bigger loss than the international press is recognizing, I'm pretty sure. The only remaining members of the species are the 50 or so in an isolated national park in Java. The island populations have been separated from the mainland animals for a very long time; while they were called just subspecies- I can guarantee they were genetically quite distinct.

The world is changing. Much of what we are losing is completely irreplaceable. The extinction of such a creature- so ancient- a species that has survived so many challenges over its existence- is sad beyond any words I can find.

I won't forget this day. But the truth is- the world has barely noticed; and this loss will change nothing about the way we do business. Maybe- time to boycott cashews. That seems to be the major factor in the loss of the rhinos' last Vietnamese forest. And- who knew? And what other species are vanishing, for a few luxury nuts, and a little money?

These are in Java, captured by camera trap. Palm oil may be the biggest real threat there. It's in everything processed in the US, these days.


Alice Y. said...

Thanks for writing. I appreciate you taking the time to share the news. I don't know if you have come across Joanna Macy's work? She has some litanies for mourning extinctions, part of her 'Work that reconnects'. I agree with her that I need to allow myself to feel grief about this predicament, in order to stay connected to myself. Staying connected to the feelings can become a source of strength, if I can bear it. We can encourage each other to stay connected, allow ourselves to feel.

Lauren said...

I had a relative who was possibly channeling Fox news who told me animals are meant to go extinct, otherwise we would be walking around with dinosaurs. My response is that nature can give and take away, but the willful over-consumption by mankind is another story. If the over-consumption is a part of natural events, then I hope nature corrects it soon before we cause more extinctions of species ithat are more in harmony with other living creatures.

Bee Girl said...

Oh no :-( Thank you for sharing this information. We really are losing the irreplaceable, all for a few dollars and a snack. Tragic.

Sandy J. Omaha said...

Thanks for letting us know, Greenpa. Good or bad, I'm sure that most of us are interested in what you have to say. I'm willing to boycott cashews. I've always been one to "vote with my feet". Makes me doubly glad that I went through the messy job this fall of processing black walnuts. Wish we'd have known about this years before, maybe enough of us could've made a difference.