Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Maybe we can find a banana for your aye-aye

Today I stumbled across the slideshow: "Bye-Bye to the Aye-Aye." Slate Magazine summarizes Mike Levitin's piece thusly:
The aye-aye may be one of the most repellent animals in the world. It also happens to be on the verge of extinction. Click here to read a slide-show essay about an effort to save the endangered species that got hit with the ugly stick.
The piece addresses serious issues: endangered species, conservation and ecology. It also highlights how shallow we humans can be:

"Cute" animals [...] are the cash cows of the conservation movement; we pull out our checkbooks for the faces we find most adorable. For many years, conservation efforts tended to focus on individual endangered species—the white rhino, the gray wolf—that could be easily marketed to the cute-loving public. However effective these programs may have been, they gave short shrift to ugly, endangered, and genetically distinct animals like the aye-aye.
My concerns about those topics run deeper than that. Nonetheless, I confess: reading "WHO WANTS TO SAVE AN UGLY ANIMAL" made me recall Flip Wilson's ugly baby skit. I couldn't help myself; the devil made me do it.