Photography News 100 - Web

Book review

The last mass extinction happened 65 million years ago, when an asteroid struck the planet and wiped out the dinosaurs. There’s another one happening right under our noses – and we are the cause Extinct possibilities

EXTINCTION BY MARC Schlossman explores creatures either no longer around or on the verge of elimination – and factors threatening them. His lifelong interest in ecology and the natural world has led to numerous environmental photography awards. Schlossman has recently taken pictures of specimens from one of the most important natural history

collections in the world, at the Field Museum in Chicago. These are not on public display – his images are the only way to see them, accompanied by informative commentary about each species, the reasons for their decline and the conservation efforts currently in place to prevent them vanishing forever. The book is the result of over a decade’s work.

“Human-related activities are almost certainly contributing to the extinction of species that we do not even know exist”

XERCES BLUE BUTTERFLY Writing in 1998 about the sadness associated with extinction, veterinarian and author Dr Mark Jerome Walters remarked: “When the tiny wings of the last Xerces blue butterfly ceased to flutter, our world grew quieter by a whisper and duller by a hue.” The Xerces blue was last observed in the wild in 1941. This small, periwinkle-blue butterfly was native to the coastal sand dunes of San Francisco, before being driven to extinction by habitat loss due to urbanisation. It was the first North American butterfly to die out as a result of human action.

CAROLINA PARAKEET The Carolina parakeet was the only indigenous parrot in North America. In the 1800s, farmers saw them as agricultural pests, and they were hunted for their colourful feathers. It was thought poultry disease and competition for nesting cavities from newly introduced honeybees were the final causes of extinction.

Issue 100 | Photography News 27

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