The Animal Kingdom

So you’ve probably heard about the new report saying human-caused climate change is putting about a million different species of animals and plants at risk of extinction, and we just wanted to pop on over and say that it’s true, a lot of us are on our way out the door.

Bye!

Seriously, look at the time! We can’t believe it’s been hundreds of thousands of years already! That’s a pretty long time, when you think about it, and you can’t go on coexisting as humans and animals on the same planet forever. And you know what they say: It’s better to burn out than to fade away. We’re gonna take our cue here and get out of your hair pretty soon. So arrivederci, and adios!

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We’ve had some really good times, us and you humans. Who can forget the crazy days of the Pleistocene epoch? Sure, the Ice Age was no picnic, but it was honestly pretty great later on hanging out and watching y’all evolve. We’ve had this whole symbiotic thing going where animals and Homo erectus could live side by side. Over the years, we’ve gotten to migrate with you as you’ve moved around and really had a chance to find ourselves and flourish in new places. It was paradise. It would’ve been awesome if life could’ve stayed that way forever, you know?

We’re not trying to flake or anything, believe us. Look, you guys are obviously busy with your machines and your wars and your relentless pursuit of profit. Sometimes, people and animals grow apart. And that’s okay. We’ve always been pretty chill with what you guys are doing, so don’t worry, it’s totally cool. A flourishing ecosystem that supports all of Earth’s creatures isn’t going to be everyone’s thing. It’s your habitat now, after all, and you’ve been gracious hosts to us for a long time. So thanks!

Since we’ve got you here, we do want to mention that it hasn’t been all fun and games. If we’re being honest, we’re still not totally keen on poaching, pollution, zoos, deforestation, or raising us in terrible conditions for the express purpose of slaughtering and eating us. Those things are kind of a buzzkill. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not trying to be overly critical, since you obviously have your reasons. We just wanted to get that off our chests before we get going.

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Also, it’s sort of weird you breed some of us as pets. Just saying.

Do we wish we could stick around longer? Sure, a little. When the dodo peaced out back in the late 1600s, we were like, really? Already? The party’s just getting started! But now when we look around—the oceans are heating up, the food’s running out, and most of our natural environments are gone—we wonder if maybe the dodo was right to take off when it did. The vibe is getting kinda weird in here. Not that the last couple hundred years of rapid industrialization have been all bad for us, but let’s just say the Earth’s not quite as fun for us as it used to be.

We don’t want to belabor our departure—no one likes a guest who overstays their welcome—so we’ll just do a quick soundoff of who’s heading out soon so you can say a quick toodle-oo: the Bengal tiger, Amur leopard, hawksbill sea turtle, Chinese giant salamander, Javan rhinoceros, Sumatran rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, giant panda, vaquita, eastern gorilla, Sumatran orangutan, Borean orangutan, saola, gharial, Asian elephant, Philippine crocodile, Chinese pangolin, Malayan tiger, mountain pygmy possum, Andaman shrew, western swamp turtle, Philippine forest turtle, Ploughshare tortoise, Cross River gorilla, eastern lowland gorilla, saola, South China tiger, pika, giant otter, red wolf, Tasmanian devil, peppered tree frog, northern tinker frog, mountain mist frog, armored frog, Eungella torrent frog, Sumatran elephant, African wild donkey, Saiga antelope, giant muntjac, addax, bowhead whale, beluga whale, Balkan lynx, Asiatic cheetah, gloomy tube-nosed bat, Armenian whiskered bat, Hill’s horseshoe bat, Thongaree’s disc-nosed bat, Aru flying fox, central rock rat, pygmy hog, Gilbert’s potoroo, Allan’s lerista, Carpentarian rock rat, Kangaroo Island dunnart, Darwin’s fox, Peruvian black spider monkey, the red wolf, spoon-billed sandpiper, Siberian crane, Bengal florican, regent honeyeater, orange-bellied parrot, great Indian bustard, sociable lapwing, white-billed heron, whooping crane, red-vented cockatoo, Himalayan quail, Hainan black-crested gibbon, Bulmer’s fruit bat, Philippine naked-backed fruit bat, Fijian monkey-faced bat, Northern white-cheeked gibbon, indri, Andohahela sportive lemur, Manombo sportive lemur, Sahamalaza sportive lemur, all the other sportive lemurs, Celebes crested macaque, Pagai Island macaque, Sarawak surili, kipunji, hirola, tamaraw, wild Bactrian camel, white-rumped vulture, red-headed vulture, Indian vulture, slender-billed vulture, longcomb sawfish, Ganges shark, red-finned blue-eye, finless porpoise, squatina, northern river shark, Pondicherry shark humphead wrasse, orphan salamander, cloud forest salamander, Monte Escondido salamander, El Cusuco salamander, Zarciadero web-footed salamander, Cerro Pital salamander, blue whale, black-footed ferret, Yangtze finless porpoise, Zapotec salamander, and basically everyone from the wetlands.

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We’re definitely missing a bunch who are just slipping out really quickly without saying farewell. We hope that’s okay. You probably won’t even notice they’re gone! We’re not all leaving yet. Just a lot of us.

But we don’t want to go out on a bad note. We have so many wonderful memories of the pre-Anthropocene era, and we don’t want those fond recollections of vibrant, life-sustaining forests and jungles and prairies to be forgotten. But it’s time for us to mosey on out down the dusty trail. Sayonara!

Oh, and we hope you don’t mind, we’re taking most of the plants with us too.

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