Count­down to obliv­ion

Sunday Times - - Insight | Dying Out -

The an­ni­hi­la­tion of wildlife in re­cent decades means a sixth mass ex­tinc­tion in Earth’s his­tory is un­der way. Pho­tog­ra­pher Sean Gal­lagher has set up the In­sta­gram feed Ev­ery­day Ex­tinc­tion, which fea­tures the work of sci­en­tists and pho­tog­ra­phers whose mis­sion it is to high­light through their sto­ries and pow­er­ful im­ages the many ways our planet is be­ing rav­aged. The de­scrip­tions of the an­i­mals whose lot is pic­tured here are taken from Gal­lagher’s feed.

Pic­ture: Jasper Doest @jasper­doest


A white stork wait­ing for food that will be ar­riv­ing shortly af­ter sun­rise at this land­fill in Por­tu­gal. White storks tra­di­tion­ally make an epic an­nual mi­gra­tion from Europe to West Africa, fly­ing thou­sands of kilo­me­tres to find sea­sonal food. But the prospect of an easy meal much closer to home is start­ing to re­place the long-dis­tance pil­grim­age. Vast land­fills in south­ern Europe and North Africa are too tempt­ing to pass up.

Pic­ture: Pa­trick Brown @patrick­brown­photo

THE SAD­DEST LINK A large bull ele­phant sits with its legs chained in Chit­wan Na­tional Park in Nepal. This 50-year-old was re­strained be­cause he had killed five ma­houts dur­ing his life­time.

Pic­ture: Lu­cas M Bus­ta­mante @luk­sth


He was tied from his waist to a house’s col­umn with a very short rope, be­low. You just needed to see his eyes to un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion of this baby squir­rel mon­key. Even more when his owner used to come closer to feed him a piece of bread. The il­le­gal pet trade is one of the most im­por­tant prob­lems in the con­ser­va­tion of wildlife. Peo­ple love to have wild an­i­mals as pets, con­tribut­ing to their be­ing taken out of their habi­tats. The ma­jor­ity of th­ese an­i­mals die mainly be­cause of a lack of un­der­stand­ing in their han­dling and feed­ing.

Pic­ture: Mar­cus West­berg @lifethroughalen­spho­tog­ra­phy

CLOSE TO THE HEART At Senkwekwe, the world’s only moun­tain go­rilla sanc­tu­ary, in Virunga Na­tional Park in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, Papa An­dre Bauma cud­dles 10-yearold Ndakasi. The go­rilla was or­phaned at two months old, when her mother was slaugh­tered, and she spent most of that trau­matic night in­side Bauma’s shirt, pressed against his chest. Their bond re­mains in­cred­i­bly strong, and al­though Bauma is fa­ther — or rather mother — to the sanc­tu­ary’s other moun­tain go­ril­las too, his re­la­tion­ship with Ndakasi is unique.

Pic­ture: Tris­tan Spin­ski @tspin­ski

DE­STROYED, SHELVED Tiger, leop­ard and other big cat tro­phies in the Na­tional Wildlife Prop­erty Repos­i­tory, a ware­house on the out­skirts of Den­ver, packed with il­le­gal an­i­mal parts and prod­ucts. Many are from threat­ened or en­dan­gered species. Most are con­tra­band, seized at ma­jor ports of en­try around the US. Col­lec­tively, the fa­cil­ity and the 1.3 mil­lion items within its walls rep­re­sent an ev­i­dence vault. One that tes­ti­fies to an econ­omy serv­ing the hu­man ap­petite for other species.

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