Photo: Walter SiegmundNo doubt that many Gristers will receive or buy iPhones, Droid Xs, and other high-tech smartphones as holiday presents and may feel twinge of green guilt at e-trashing their old phone.
So here’s one way to broadcast your environmental bona fides from your shiny new gadget: Download an endangered species ringtone and make every call a cry for help from a Gunnison’s prairie dog, a Mexican gray wolf, or a California condor.
The Center for Biological Diversity has offered the free ringtones for some time and now has a collection of calls from nearly 100 mammals, reptiles and birds from around the world.
New arrivals include the Pacific walrus, the Puerto Rican crested toad, and the Okinawa dugong. In case you were wondering what kind of sound an Okinawa dugong (a relative of the Florida manatee) makes, it’s a snapping noise.
“Whether the cry of the Mexican gray wolf or the underwater warbles of the beluga whale, our ringtones provide a great starting point for talking about the plight of threatened species worldwide,” the Center for Biological Diversity said.
People in more than 150 countries have downloaded the endangered-species ringtones, according to the Center.
Myself, I downloaded the squeak squeak squeak warning cry of the American pika for my iPhone.
A member of the rabbit family, the pika lives on rocky slopes high on alpine ranges in the American West and Canada. Many biologists who study the pint-sized mammal believe it faces potential extinction from climate change as its habitat warms and it literally reaches the mountaintop. (Since the pika does not hibernate during frigid winters, it maintains a high constant body temperature and thus even small spikes in the thermometer can prove fatal.)
“Kinda annoying,” texted my friend Mike, who tipped me off to the pikatone.
Then again, so is extinction from global warming.