This is unprecedented for me because I usually only talk about animals on Thursdays but I woke up to some sad news in my Google Now feed. For those of you who have followed Reactionary Tales for a while know that I started a series called Endangered Thursdays where I highlight beasties from around the world that are struggling from the threat of extinction. This subject is something I’m quite passionate about as I’ve worked for many years in wildlife rehabilitation and conservation and awareness was always number one priority.
The very first creature I highlighted way back a year ago was the Northern White Rhino. I talked a bit about Sudan and how he was the last surviving member of this species. Back then my posts were only a paragraph or two and I didn’t go into much detail like I do now. But, for those that are fairly recent to RT, feel free to check out the original post HERE.
Now, as I’d mentioned in the post, Sudan was the last surviving Northern White Rhino. I was actually right and wrong at the same time. He was the last surviving member in the wild but there are still two female northern white rhinos, Najin and Fatu, who live at a conservancy in Kenya. Sudan was the last surviving MALE member of the species. He lived in a heavily guarded open habitat for most of his life because poachers are the reason this species have declined from 2,000, in 1960, to 3.
Sudan was very popular. Not only was he very cute, but he had his own Tinder profile created to collect donations to help fund his in vitro fertilization surgery. The goal was to collect as much sperm from him as they could because socializing with Najin and Fatu in order to get them to breed naturally was unsuccessful.
Last night, Sudan was euthanized. He was 45 years old and his health had just declined to the point that veterinarians decided it was time to let the old guy go. Now there are only the 2 females of the species that exist and sadly the outlook for this species just looks even more bleak. Even though sperm was harvested from Sudan, the only way to grow another northern rhino would be through some serious scientific miracles almost. You see, between Najin and Fatu, one is sterile, so that’s not an option and the other could be artificially inseminated but it might kill her because she’s just not physically able to carry a baby rhino. Scientists are looking to see if they can essentially grow an egg in a petri dish of sorts to insert into a Southern white rhino that can carry to full term.
Overall this just made me so sad but appreciative of modern technology. I know some people don’t agree with this kind of stuff but considering humans are the main cause for this extinct in the wild creature, I appreciate any and all last ditch efforts to save these animals and I for one will continue to bring as much awareness on my blog in my tiny little corner of the internet about animals and their survival struggles.
When my husband and I honeymooned in Firenze (Florence) back in 2015, this was one of our stops. In case you don’t know who this is, it’s the statue of David by Michelangelo. We learned all about him and were told that this is usually the main attraction for tourists. Obviously we were no exception but he wasn’t what enthralled us the most.
Everywhere you look in Florence you’ll see signs of the Medici family in some form or fashion. From the buildings, bridges, artwork and even to the actual bones of the family, some buried, some in the Medici Chappelle. They were the richest, influential family of their time!
From the left you have the beautifully painted ceiling, called The Chapel of the Princes. It’s located in the Mausoleum of the Medici Chappelle. It’s shaped like an octagon because at each point there are bronze statues that are supposedly sarcophagi that contain the Grand Dukes. The entire room is made up of different colored marble and semi-precious stones. This is one of many works of architectural art that celebrate the power the Medicis had for several centuries.
Next you have the Ponte Vecchio which has an amazing history! This bridge was built in 1345, commissioned by the Medici family because they wanted easy access from Uffzi to Palazzo Pitti. As we were told, during WWII, instead of blowing up the bridge and blocking access, the Germans were so awed by the bridge that they decided not to destroy it. There was also a huge flood in 1966 that this old bridge withstood. Today you’ll find TONS of jewelry shops on the bridge. But back in the 13th century there were butchers, tanners and fishmongers on the bridge. They would literally throw their animal waste into the river. Even today that river smells and tourists are highly recommended not to go in the water because you may catch some nasty water parasite. In the 1500’s it was decreed that only goldsmiths were allowed on the bridge hence why there’s only jewelry shops now.
The last picture is one of many Medici bones, immortalized forever, in the Medici Chappelle.
It’s super rare for me to sit and scroll through the channel guide on my TV, but when it happens, I often find myself watching one of two channels: History or Smithsonian. So, it really didn’t seem strange for me to select a marine animal to highlight for this post. As crazy animal lovers, my c0-author and I decided we’d do our best to shed light on some animals that are close to extinction. Today we talk about the vaquita. I bet many have never heard of it, seen it, or cared enough to look it up. (…and honestly, you aren’t alone.)
This little dude is found in the Gulf of California – pretty close to where some of you live, I’ll bet. He’s in the porpoise family but is so small at birth that he gets caught in fisherman’s nets and rarely survives. While this is just one of many porpoises that are being caught in the nets, it does point to a larger issue. As the human population grows so does the demand for food. Many times we are not sourcing wildlife responsibly and the sustainability of these precious animals is lacking.
…you would think more could be done to ensure the safety of the vaquita since they are practically the dolphins little cousin. If you want to know more about these guys, please check out this short video on Saving the Desert Porpoise.
What are your thoughts on the many marine animals that are being trapped and killed in these nets?