It’s been silent here for a while. I started my stage, participated in various excursions and field experiences and also took 3 exams, so it’s been one hell of a month, and not only because the temperature here is rising at an alarming rate. Hopefully I’ll deliver some more content in the next days, but today I bring you one sad piece of news: Lonesome George is dead. Remember him? He was the last of his subspecies. Now, i’m not usually the one to think that every single existing variety of every single existing species should be preserved at any cost (I think many of these cases could be taxonomic inflation, which in my opinion is more harmful than good for environmental education and sensibilization), and I don’t think that the death of a single tortoise (that additionally didn’t want to mate with any other tortoise of different subspecies) will impact in any way the survival of the species as a whole. But I must admit I’ve always found the tale of the last Pinta tortoise and of the desperate (and sadly useless) efforts to make him reproduce very fascinating and inspiring. R.I.P. Lonesome George, and R.I.P. Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni, a now extinct subspecies.
Parasites aren’t really widely appreciated, and they can be annoying or even dangerous to people and environment. Most of the times, however, they’re just part of a balanced ecosystem, and they fill an important role of population control and selective pressure on many species. Also, they’re living organisms, like all the other species: why, from a conservation point of view, a tiger that brutally kills animal to survive deserves appreciation and protection, and a louse that sucks a little blood to survive can die out and nobody cares? The California Condor, Gymnogyps californianus, was saved from extinction thanks to captive breeding and reintroduction but its louse, Colpocephalum californici, was lost forever. Think about it, folks.