Endangered Tortoises: ‘Just Let Us Go Extinct Already’
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, October 1 (Reuters) – At a press conference today, Ulglp, a spokesturtle for the superfamily Chelonioidea, begged humankind to just let sea turtles die out already.
For centuries, the global population of sea turtles has been in decline as humans have expanded their activities and effects on the marine reptiles and their habitats. Pollution, habitat reduction, “bycatching” by fishing boats and a host of other factors have combined to threaten the persistence of the creatures, who apparently don’t want to bother anymore.
Conservation efforts have included fishing regulations, limitations on various kinds of oil drilling, restrictions on coastal lighting, and the invention of devices to free turtles trapped in fishing nets. Ulglp shook his head sadly at the mention of these efforts. “We simply do not wish to share the planet with a species that spawned reality television,” he lamented.
Sea turtles are not the first species or group of species to request that human endeavors to protect them cease. The African lowland gorilla, long endangered by habitat reduction and hunting, took out a full page ad in The Economist two yeas ago requesting that they be allowed to go extinct, as they could no longer stomach the thought of continuing to inhabit the same global ecosystem as anyone who had ever willingly listened to Barry Manilow.
Earlier this year, a squad of Adélie penguins commandeered a fishing vessel in the Antarctic Ocean and attempted to ram an oil tanker. The conspiracy was foiled when the vessel’s net became entangled in the rudder, and the penguins were captured. They later told their captors they intended to drive their species to extinction in one fell swoop rather than see the planet’s flightless waterfowl endure another two centuries of being in the same orbit around the sun as Marmite eaters.
These animal rejections of human conservation have yet to have an appreciable effect on projects to preserve the species in question. “That’s a function of the very nature of the animal protection activist, as a species,” explained Zoe Al-Lejee, a cultural anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. “The Greenpeaceniks, as we call them in academia, aren’t only out of step with other humans, who couldn’t give a Muroidea’s posterior about the fate of the Caribbean Sponge; they’re also wildly out of touch with what the animals themselves want.”
Al-Lejee cited the 2002 example of feminist activists who set up lit trails and distributed female health information to lionesses in Africa, only to meet complete apathy on the part of the intended beneficiaries, as well as instances of manatees that have tried to mate with the very humans attempting to trap them.
In addition to reality TV, the sea turtles cited a number of other human creations that make their existence pointless, even painful. According to a list distributed by Ulglp, these include: energy drinks; the New England accent; present-day collectors of action figures from the 1980’s animated series Voltron; televised snooker matches; prepackaged “slices” of peanut butter; Axe body spray; people who say, “I could care less” when they manifestly mean, “I couldn’t care less”; the Ziggy comic strip; call-in radio shows about sports; and phishing.
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