Cheating Extinction

I read Matt’s post about the danger of trash to animals and I am definitely looking forward to the discussion we will have in his class on Tuesday. But before that, I will present some initial thoughts regarding Matt’s main topic of discussion, “If we believe in evolution, survival of the fittest, and that extinction is a natural part of life, then why do we feel the need to ‘save’ endangered species.” Firstly, I think there is a dichotomy between those who think that extinction is natural and those who feel the need to save endangered species. Therefore, “we” should be better specified. So from now on, I shall use “we” for those who want to save endangered animals.

Some might consider the people who want to save endangered animals as “good” and people who will not step into action due to the belief in the naturalness of extinction as “bad”. But I shall state otherwise. Those who want to save the animals are the ones who want to transcend nature. Similar to the popular idea of cheating death, these people hope of cheating nature’s principles of evolution and extinction. I found a TV show on Animal Planet called Orangutan Island, in which people are trying to save the endangered Orangutans by protecting them and giving them homes. The title of Season 2’s Episode 1 is “Cheating Extinction,” which pertains quite well to our discussion. The regular viewer would think that the Orangutans are cheating extinction, but actually we are the ones cheating extinction. Not our extinction, but the Orangutan’s extinction. So now, we play a key role in the fate of other animals. Quite a weighty responsibility, isn’t it? Of course. Attempting to invalidate nature’s inherent laws by replacing it with human power is no small deal.

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