Monday, May 24, 2010

In Memory Of:

This is in memory of one of my favorite dolphins: The Baiji (or Yangtze River Dolphin), now declared extinct.

When I was 7 I saw my first picture of the Baiji. It was in the Whales and Sharks book my mother had just bought me from Barnes and Noble. I saw this beautiful dolphin, all cute and chubby, and I fell in love. I read that page over and over again. The book falls right open to it now. This was 1996. I still remember the shock I felt when i read they were critically endangered.

Now it is 2010. No Baiji have been sighted in several years. A study was conducted in 2002 and 2007 in search of the Baiji. Aerial images were taken, and boats with microphones listening for clicks and whistles searched the whole river. No sounds were heard, no fins were sighted. I remember it was september 2008, and i was on the IUCN red list they day they were listed as extinct. I felt a piece of me die that day, I sat there in my cinderblock apartment and cried. I have never felt so helpless. I was not fast enough, I was not old enough to save them. One of my dreams had died, it was gone and would never be coming back. That is extinction everyone: the empty feeling that something is gone, and will never come back. No matter how hard we try, man can never create a Baiji. It was created by God, Killed by man. We were given stewardship over this earth. What kind of stewards are we? Ask yourself that, what are you?

I thought extinction was a thing of the past: the dodo bird, the carrier pigeon, the red fruit bat, the persian tiger, tasmanian tiger (thylacine), and stellars sea cow. I pray everyday this will not happen to the Vaquita (Gulf of Mexico dolphin) or the many other cetaceans (or birds, plants, reptiles, and other mammals) critically endangered.

Only divine providence will allow for some to be alive still. Heaven help us stop destroying. Heaven help us save our world. Heaven help us for what we have done.