Silent Zoo

The movie Silent Running made a huge impression on me when it came out. As a loner, I liked the idea of being alone on a space ship and tending to the plants and animals that were being rescued from our dying planet. But in reality, that ship or those ships would be so costly to put out in space. The better plan is to send ova and sperm, frozen and protected from radiation. If you read Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, you get the idea.

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While not quite ready to launch them into space, The San Diego Zoo has a frozen zoo, with exactly the materials needed. Through their Institute for Conservation Research, they have stored valuable genetic materials from a wide range of endangered animals. Some extinct animals have also been harvested for this process.

My preference, of course, is that this process somehow help restore the passenger pigeon, the Carolina parakeet, and the thick-billed parrot. All of these are American birds that are gone or close to the cliff of extinction. All due to mankind and actions taken without regard to global impact.


But after that, think of the kakapo, the Spix macaw, the Puerto Rican Amazon, the blue throat macaw, the yellow eared parrot, and all the birds on this list. And on this chart.

This process of saving animals has moved out of the realm of science fiction or speculative fiction, and exists in our world. We can do this. What can we do to encourage the use of all the science available today? There are a couple important things you can do that are easy.

First of all, if your local zoo or animal park has conservation facilities, make a point to visit the zoo as often as you can manage. Your entry fee helps pay for the care and keeping of the animals, and if anything is available after that, it will trickle over to the endangered species folks.

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If you live near a conservation or endangered species preservation area, volunteer to help with anything that needs to be done. Type up notes, sweep floors, blog about the place, donate food for the animals.

Do you recycle bottles and plastic bags? That alone is super helpful, but if you don’t have a need for those pennies, donate them to the cause.

And finally, because there is so much going on in the world that requires the attention of politicians, be sure to write to your local incumbents to keep the need for conservation in front of them. Not only do we need clean air and water, we also need to help talented students get into the science programs at the local colleges so they can make a difference.

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To those who have always been out in the fields, helping to preserve parrots, birds, and all the creatures that make this planet so beautiful, I want to say thank you. Keep up the struggle and let us know how we can best support you.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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