Today is a sad day for animal lovers, conservationists, naturalists, and ecologists all over the world. Lonesome George died today at the age of 100. Lonesome George was the last member of a subspecies of giant tortoises that lived on the Galapagos islands. George was an iconic conservation figure and thousands of people from all over the world would come to the Galapagos just to see him. It truly breaks my heart to see even a subspecies go extinct. Whalers in the 19th and 20th century would hunt these tortoises for their meat which greatly reduced their population. The sad part is that most people won’t even care that George was the last member of his species and will continue on with their daily lives as if nothing has happened. Even sadder, is the fact that it’s very unlikely that people will read or hear about this story, yet if Kim Kardashian gets a divorce the entire WORLD knows about it.
It does not matter if he was just a subspecies or just some animal you had ever met or seen in person. George was an iconic figure of conservation, a member of his last species living until today! I am very proud at the conservation work being done around the world though. So many people are fighting to save all endangered species and raising awareness of the importance of it. Even if George wasn’t your family member or friend, it should make people aware of the seriousness of this issue going on today. What gets me frustrated is that many species today are becoming extinct, not because of some naturally occurring event but because of human activity. Our selfishness and greed to use up all of the world’s resources has led to destroying the habitats of numerous species and eventually causing them to become extinct. New laws need to be made and stricter laws need to be enforced so when people or companies commit these environmental crimes, it is not just a slap on the wrist. Orangutans are on the brink of extinction because of people destroying their habitat in order to obtain palm oil from the palm trees they reside in. That is just one example.
More people need to be aware of these environmental issues so future generations can benefit from this planet. A lot of people just don’t care about saving these animals because they don’t see anything wrong going on in the world. The sad fact is, if we continue to lose biodiversity on this planet, we will ultimately suffer from it. I personally don’t think enough people are aware of the severity of the situation, and there should be more YouTube videos about conservation so we can all share with one another. Facebook and YouTube have become such popular media outlets, that if more people would start making awareness videos on conservation and it’s importance, there could be even greater movements and more supporters of these causes. Instead, we have videos of cats playing pianos going viral. I have even been thinking of making a video myself just to put it out there, but I am a terrible film editor and I have a lot more research to do before I can even plan to start making a video.
One last point I want to make is that obviously these tortoises aren’t the first or last species to fall victim to bad intentioned humans. So many other animals have become extinct due to human selfishness. We cannot continue to live this way, how can we humans be so inhumane? We need to stop being so vicious and cruel toward our fellow neighbors. And with that I leave you this quote:
“We share this planet with many species. It is our responsibility to protect them, both for their sakes and our own.”
– Pamela A. Matson, Ecologist, Dean, School of Earth Sciences and Goldman Professor of Environmental Studies, Stanford University, California
(To read the full story on Lonesome George, click here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-18574279)