There’s so many stars in this show. This is an attempt to talk about extinction in a broader manner, instead of just focusing on individual species and the stories that surround their individual demises. Included in this image are: (clock wise from top left) Greater Bilby, Yangtse River Dolphin, Abingdon Island Giant Tortoise, Barndoor Skate, Thylacine, Olm, Wonambi, Great Auk, Syrian Onager, Palestinian Spotted Frog, Caribbean Monk Seal, Mamo, Anancus, and the Lake Titicaca Orestias. Each of these creatures has its own story, and not all of them are extinct! The Olm, merely threatened, and the Barndoor Skate, merely endangered.
The problem with including so many creatures in one poster is that there’s not much room here for their individual stories. Anancus is an elephantlike creature that died out around 7 million years ago. Wonambi is an extinct giant snake from Australia, and probably was eliminated after human arrival, about 40,000 years ago. The rest are much more contemporary. Auks were obliterated for fur and feathers. Mamos had brilliant and coveted tail feathers. The Orestias was wiped out when the US fish and wildlife service introduced trout into Lake Titicaca. The Bilby, an Australian marsupial, fell to the fur market and to attempts to poison out rabbits. The Palestinian Spotted Frog was a victim of land-draining by Israel on the Syrian border, on the other side of which you might once have found the Onager, now hunted out of the world. The Giant Tortoise, like so many of its kind, was favored by sailors as a sort of living meat-cache, convenient to transport and already boxed. The Thylacine, marsupial predator, wiped out by incompetence, lies, hubris, and sexism. The Yangtse River Dolphin, or Baiji, had its prey fished out from under it and its habitat interrupted by the world’s largest dam. The Caribbean monk seal, first animal seen in the New World by Columbus, fared about as well as everything else he saw. A little worse, perhaps.