Jasper was reading about endangered species while munching on some dandelion greens this morning.
Tasmanian Wolf/Tiger Trophy
"Hey, Mom!" Jasper called out to Chippy. "Mom, you have to hear this!“ Jasper then read aloud from the World Wildlife Fund's website: "Australia is known around the world for its unique wildlife and beautiful rugged landscapes. But what many people don't know is that Australia has the worst rate of mammal extinction in the world.”
Chippy nodded and softly replied, "I know son." She then added, "Almost half the mammals that have become extinct globally in the last 200 years were Australian. You should let your readers know about The National Threatened Species Day."
"What's that day about, mom?" Jasper asked.
Chippy explained, "The National Threatened Species Day is held on September 7th in Australia each year as a way to raise awareness about animals and plants in danger of extinction. September 7th was chosen to commemorate the day Benjamin died in 1936. Benjamin was the very last known Tasmanian Tiger and spent his life in captivity at the Hobart Zoo."
Jasper shuddered at the thought of having to live caged up in a zoo for humans to come by and point and look at him.
Chippy then quoted from a WWF article, "On September 7th events are organized across Australia encouraging the community to help conserve Australia's unique native plants and animals and draw attention to the great conservation work being done across Queensland."
Chippy handed her son a book and said, "This gives some more information about the Tasmaninan Tiger. Maybe you can tell your readers about them."
Jasper loved books about animals. "Thanks mom." Chippy scampered off but not before flashing that smile -- the kind that only a mother smiles for her child. Japser curled up with the book. Here's what he discovered....
The Tasmanian Tiger, also known as the Tasmanian Wolf, was native to both Australia and New Guinea. It became extinct from mainland Australia and New Guinea about 2000 years ago and was only found in Tasmania when European explorers discovered it in the 1600s.
According to an article from the Discovery Channel, a DNA analysis determined that, despite the fact that a Tasmanian Tiger resembled a cross between a dog and a tiger, it was a marsupial closely related to striped insect-eaters called numbats, and more distantly to kangaroos and koalas.
These beautiful and fascinating creatures were sadly regarded as a pest by early settlers after killing a number of livestock including sheep and chickens. A bounty of $1 per dead “Tassie Tiger” and 10 shillings for pups was offered by Van Diemen’s Land Company and later The Tasmanian Government. By the early 1900’s the Tasmanian Tiger had been hunted into extinction. "What were humans thinking?" Jasper wondered. "Why would they kill off an entire species and not even care??!!"
A befuddled and sad Japser then read more about the National Threatened Species Day and how the WWF designated a flagship species. He'd never heard about that before. He learned that a flagship species is a species selected to act as an ambassador, icon or symbol for a defined habitat, issue, campaign or environmental cause. Jasper was excited about that. "I'm kind of a flagship specie!" he thought to himself.
By focusing on, and achieving conservation of that species, the status of many other species which share its habitat - or are vulnerable to the same threats - may also be improved.
Click to see which species have been chossen as flagship species by the World Wildlife Fund.
Chippy came to check on her son the next day and told him that she'd read where some people believe the Tasmanian Tiger still survives. People have reported sightings of the animal for years. Nothing has been definitively proven yet, but she let Jasper know there's a possibility that the animal might not be extinct.
"Ask not what an animal can do for you; ask what you can do for an animal." Jasper
"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men." ~Alice Walker
The source of the quote is Walker's preface to Marjorie Spiegel's 1988 book, "The Dreaded Comparison" . Her next sentence was, "This is the gist of Ms. Spiegel's cogent, humane and astute argument, and it is sound."
"I was so moved by the intelligence, sense of fun and personalities of the animals I worked with on (the movie) Babe that by the
end of the film I
was a vegetarian."
~ James Cromwell