Dolphins on a flippery slope
This is a photo of an eight-year-old female Homo sapiens hugging a five-year-old female Tursiops truncatus. According to my daughter (a dolphin enthusiast), killer whales are just big dolphins with really sharp teeth, and there are thirty-something species of oceanic dolphins and five river dolphin species (found in five different rivers).
Not too many years ago biologists were whining that this or that species was going to be extinct in the next forty or fifty years. The time frame has now shrunk to about ten years for many of these same species (gorillas, river dolphins, you name it).
It is a race between Cambodia’s river dolphins and China’s river dolphins to see which goes extinct first. A few years ago an attempt was made in China to move the dolphins from the main rivers into a lake. They gave up after several were inadvertently killed. Hot on their heels are the Ganges River dolphins, which live in the world’s longest open sewer. Their population has dropped 75 percent since the early 1990s.
How is this for an idea: Build a website to take bets on what will be the next species to go extinct, holding the money in a special trust fund. A winner will be declared with each extinction, their picture will get in Newsweek, and all funds will be donated to a conservation organization. In fits of genetically predisposed patriotic fervor, politicians will strive to prevent the extinction of animals found in their country and nobody will ever be declared a winner.