RARE: Portraits of America's endangered species

Brilliant talk by photographer Joel Sartore here at the Aspen Environment Forum, sponsored by the National Geographic and the Aspen Institute.

"What can I do to get people to care about the environment? I want people to fall in love with these animals as much as I did so the world pays attention. I need to do a better job but what else can I do? Why should anyone care about mussels? Because they filter our water. We need these things to keep our planet healthy.

We need to take care of our pollinating species. Without pollinators we have to use paint brushes to pollinate our orchards by hand. How bad does it have to get before we care?

Why not provide a fund to pay landowners for an easement to protect biodiversity?

We can save 95% of the endangered species if we want to. But we need to fund it. We invest the equivalent of one stretch of the LA freeway on protecting endangered species.

What is the true cost of gasoline? I am willing to pay $10/gallon as long as I can trust that it will be there and that I am not destroying the environment.

At a time when we face huge complicated challenges, we must think in more creative ways. The only thing that makes people change is discomfort. Otherwise they will stay distracted to the end (eg of his teenage daughter hooked up to an iPod) until there is nothing left to talk about.

At my house in Nebraska, any time in the fall, I hear screaming. 80,000 people screaming for the Huskers. If I could get people to care that much about something important, we could change the world.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world"

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The problem is that our system punishes the conservationist and rewards the eliminator. If I have a rare species on my property that might be declared endangered, and I keep it there, my property becomes worthless by being declared critical habitat. But if I go and exterminated the last few samples I can then offer my land as "prime habitat as evident by prior infestation occupation" to the government, for plenty of financial gain.
They recently had a meeting in my state to discuss the protection of a lesser prairie chicken, I was wondering how many people went out afterward to make sure there weren't any to be found on their land.

With today's inexpensive camera technology and video sites like YouTube, wildlife footage has become commonplace. We are not going to stop the extinction event by taking pictures of it.

Is that a coyote?

It looks like a coyote to me and if it is, they aren't endangered at all.

When I see one it is usually running away with a poodle or a dirty diaper in its mouth instead of looking sad and pensive like the animal pictured so I can't tell.

Maybe it's a gray wolf....also not endangered.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 28 Jul 2010 #permalink

The animal on the cover looks like a red wolf, which used to live in the southeastern US until they were wiped out in the wild before 1980. A reintroduced population of about 100 is hanging on in North Carolina but still highly endangered.

How about not posting unless you know what you're talking about?

I stand corrected Reah. That one is in the Takoma zoo The North Carolina population isn't doing very well because they keep murdering livestock and mating with coyotes from which btw they are completely genetically indistinguishable.

How about not posting at all if you are boring because we can all cherry pick Wikipedia?

Just kidding :p It was rather interesting but now what I'd like to know is whether this is a species we hunted to near extinction or one that is being bred away by coyotes and grey wolves that have proven a lot more successful as proximity populations or both?

To what extent are we realistically calling this species versus sub-species or even variety?

How do we regard and allocate resources regarding these taxonomy morphology behavior range versus genetic questions in a set of circumstances where we are doing biological diversity triage?

I looked. I can't find the answers to those questions on wikipedia and I suspect they are not in that glossy coffee table book either.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 28 Jul 2010 #permalink

Judging by the size and shape of its ears, and its long legs, I'm guessing that is a maned wolf found in the South American grasslands. The long legs are for visibility in the grass, the ears to detect rodents:


Recently visited the marshlands of Argentina. No place like it on Earth.

Google Biodiversivist: Esteros del Ibera--Buenos Aires, Argentina

If we want wolves, or eagles, or whatever on ranch land, all we need to do is make them economically profitable for the rancher.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 29 Jul 2010 #permalink

I went to the photographer's web site. He says it is a red wolf.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 29 Jul 2010 #permalink

Sadly, history teaches us that until a major catastrophe occurs we are not conscience. If national governments do not care for the children leaving debts of its citizens, except when it comes to problems with a view to within a few generations.
It is trying to make by law are considered subjects of rights to animals (some animals) abogados, in principle, generally are not compliant because it represents a major shift to all the earlier right.