At the Field Museum where I work, we have a big counter at the end of our Evolving Planet exhibit. It looks like this:
While true, sobering, and essential to recognize, I also find this display to be incredibly DEPRESSING. Which – I worry – can actually lead to stymying action to preserve and protect the species we still got! So I’d like to make my own counter, starting with my home.
Below is a partial list of the efforts to bring back and recognize the native species of Chicagoland, either by reintroduction, discovery of new populations, or just the biota realizing the coast is clear enough for them to move back in. While this is technically de-extirpation, that’s less attention grabby than “DE-EXTINCTION” although we are not bringing back the wooly rhinoceros… Yet.
I will update this list every time a new story emerges. Let’s fight the 6th Mass Extinction event with our urgent hope!
Smooth Green Snake, Meadow Jumping Mice, Least Weasel
Leafy Prairie Clover
Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake
Ornate Box Turtle
Slag Sedges (2 species)
Black Crowned Night Herons
Bobcats, Armadillos, Mountain Lions
Trumpeter Swans in Cook County (needs link!)
Do you have a suggestion for a Chicagoland de-extinction? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the link to article about it.