Habitat Interlocks

Quantifying the impact of human habitats on animal habitats is complex and ever-shifting. Only when a freak incident of a bear, or wolf, or deer wander into our developed environment - and a strange tussle between fumbling law enforcement officers and a primal instinct-driven beast ensues - are we reminded on our habitat overlaps. Urban wildlife (rats, pigeons, squirrels, etc.) is one version of adapted coexistence, though more frequently wildlife ends up inadvertently quarantined or cornered. Josh Keyes' paintings simultaneously acknowledge this conflict and propose terraced territories of frictionless micro-habitats.

As reportage continues on the GGADO, or Great Global Amphibian Die-Off, it is difficult to speculate on the outcome of such an extreme loss within one branch of species, such as amphibians. To put this in perspective, 12 percent of all bird species and 23 percent of mammal species are threatened with extinction compared to 35-50 percent of the world’s 6,300 amphibian species. About 100 amphibian species have disappeared since 1980. For comparison, a single species of amphibians would naturally go extinct after about 250 years.

This is primarily driven by the successful spread of the chytrid fungus, climate change, and environment disruption. In response, a proposal for an Amphibian Ark, similar to the Arctic seed vault, is gaining momentum. This would entail regional "biobanks" affiliated with the conservation departments within zoos and other related organizations. A kind of 21st century cabinet of curiosities  - in this case housing frog sperm.

Our contrasting habitats are interlocked in a nebulous way, with the borders redrawn each morning; Animal habitats often in a perpetual defensive retreat, or just confused and surrounded by an overnight track development. The fringes of this contested border usually mediated by controlled programs such as reserves, zoos, and wildlife parks.

Josh Keyes discovered viaBryan Boyer's Reader

Related Post: Convergent Species

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