Red Wolf came, and Passenger Pigeon,
the Dodo Bird, all the gone or endangered
came and crowded around in a circle,
the Bison, the Irish Elk, they waited
silent, the Great White Bear, fluid and strong,
sliding from the sea, streaming and creeping
in the gathering darkness, nose down,
bowing to earth its tapered head,
where the Black-footed Ferret, paws folded,
stood in the center surveying the multitude
and spoke for us all: “Dearly beloved,” it said.
The IUCN Red List reports the red wolf as critically endangered. It was extinct in the wild, but recently reintroduced in the United States.
They say there were once as many as 3 billion passenger pigeons. Audubon Magazine reports that the passenger pigeon was hunted into extinction by 1914.
The scientists say the dodo became extinct around 1690. The animals that Europeans brought to the dodo’s habitat had a taste for dodo eggs.
The bison came close to extinction in the 19th century, but is now merely “near threatened.”
The Irish Elk vanished around 7,700 years ago.
The polar bear is currently listed as vulnerable, as the future size and quality of its habitat is uncertain.
The black-footed ferret is listed as endangered, making a comeback from being extinct in the wild.
The music is a portion of the Irish tune “Limerick’s Lamentation,” performed by Patrick Berry.
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