Every year, the third Friday of May marks Endangered Species Day, an annual day dedicated to bringing awareness to the many at-risk and critically endangered species of wild animals.
This year, I teamed up with Jyothee Murali, a talented Toronto artist, to create a photo series entitled “COEXIST” which portrays our connection with wildlife. Our lives have been overtaken by technology and the need for independence and privacy that we have created a sense of separation within us. Many of us feel that we are not the same as ‘animals’. We have forgotten that we, too, are from the animal kingdom. We, too, were once wild and free, living off the land.
Without wildlife, human life would not exist.
We must #coexist.
Tiger | For the first time in 100 years, tiger populations are increasing! However, they are still endangered and continue to face significant threats, such as poaching, habitat loss, climate change and human-wildlife conflict. There are less than 4000 tigers currently in the wild.
Burrowing Owl | Burrowing owls were once common during the summer time in the southern regions of the prairies and BC. However, cultivation of the land for agriculture has severely reduced their habitat over the years. Today, there are approximately less than 1,000 pairs remaining in Canada.
Timber Rattlesnake | The Timber Rattlesnake was once common throughout Southern Ontario. However, it has been eradicated due to hunting. They currently live throughout eastern and central USA, but are still classified as an endangered species due to habitat loss.
Polar Bear | Polar bears have an important role in the overall health of marine environments because they are at the top of the food chain. The biggest threat facing polar bears is the loss of sea ice habitat from climate change. Other threats include polar bear-human conflicts, industrial impacts, and over-harvesting.
West African Giraffe | The West African Giraffe has been severely impacted from human population increase. Due to habitat loss and hunting, there only remains less than 200 individuals left in the wild.
Mountain Gorilla | Mountain Gorillas live in fertile forests with rich biodiversity. These forests are attractive to humans who depend on the land to grow food. However, growing human populations and deforestation pose a huge threat to these animals. Only 1000 individuals remain in the wild.
Grevy’s Zebra | Historically, Grevy’s Zebra populations spanned across many countries in Eastern Africa. However, due to habitat loss and hunting, there only remains less than 2500 individuals.