Dear Human Species,
Are you up for the challenge?
I can be referred to a cousin who dates back long before your time. I first appeared in the Cambrian period, but my Phylum was flourishing much before us. My Phylum is very popular and most of you love seeing us under water. My Phylum was discovered in 1834 by someone I will not reveal. We are marine invertebrates found in deep and shallow waters. Furthermore, we can be grouped in subclasses. Our kind can be thorny, soft, hard and with numerous colors. More specifically, I am from a class that provides home to many other thousands of metazoans. I usually hang out with my friends and we love the tropical areas. There we can customize our skeleton to make it hard to protect ourselves from harm.
Can you guess who?
Long ago, we had been “listed” as endangered species. The mining, overfishing, diseases, digging of canals and pollution are our threats. The pollution caused by the temperature, salinity and oxygen can easily kill or damage us. Bleaching, places in the world turning white which is opposite to the colors of our cousins. Without me; sea water rises, many animals die that can cause their extinction. Twenty years ago our death rate was low. Now, the death rate has tripled. A major factor of the death rate is because of the increase in water temperature and change in their habitat.
To eliminated destruction: regions have started to grow me in non-tropical countries. Also there are governments that prohibit our removal and protect us and our ecology. No matter how much movement is done now, the results are seen in a long-term. The main challenge is the temperature change and sea-level rise. Do you want to know what positive traits I do for your kind? I can contribute to producing new medicines, construction, help in climate research, and discovery of new organisms.
So please, help me, don’t let me extinct forever. If I do, your children will never be able to see who I am nor what I can do. They will only have old photos and information from outdated books and computers to see what I was like. Does it matter who or what I am? If I told you, would you treat me differently? The idea is that people like you can realize that extinction at some point happens to all species, whether it is wanted or not. The real problem is if you are up for the challenge to help the organisms in much greater need. Many of the humans hate at least one specific species of animal, but little do they know is that maybe that species helps the environment or another organisms’ unknown to them. Once the species is extinct, what then? Every species has its dark side and its bright side.
So I am asking you, animal to animal, don’t let me go. I am an old species, old enough to see this world grow and flourish with new species around me and I would like to see more of them. You know what to do now and my trust lies in your hands. Good Luck.
La autora es alumna de Educación en Biología Secundaria en la Universidad de Puerto Rico-Recinto de Río Piedras. El escrito se produjo como requisito del curso de Zoología. La imagen es de la estudiante de la Escuela de Arquitectura, Luczeida Matos Rosa.