Last Resort

As a kid I was fascinated by a small photograph I found in an old encyclopedia. The picture was the last one taken of some extinct rhino in a bygone jungle, somewhere on an island in the indian or pacific ocean. In the blurry darkness of the picture I couldn’t tell the trees apart, let alone the rhino from those moosy and unsound trunks huddling in that black and grey frame.

The photograph could of course not save that specimen, nor the species - in this case not even prove its existence. But I felt that this picture was important nevertheless. And I still do.

Species are disappearing so quickly, we don’t even know they existed by the time they are gone. Simultaneous to festive openings of new compounds in zoos, haunts are vanishing all around the world. And with them thousands of plants and animals, that didn’t even had a name yet. They disappear forever.

The enclosures I photographed are not only the last, involuntary resort to dying species, but memorials to our carelessness with the unknown. We can‘t preserve our planet by putting a few chosen species on display, to silence our conscience while forgetting about the greater part of life forms. Neither photography nor zoos can protect what they expose. It is us, the viewers and visitors, that have to realise whats at stake!

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