If We Had Noah’s Ark…

In 2012 when I was still working with the Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) Mark Sharman, a well known wildlife cameraman, visited the sanctuary for BBC video shooting. I was only told it was part of BBC nature about 10 endangered species on earth. The filming process took three days in total and I wasn’t involved much during the process except for translating when needed.

Later in winter that year, my British friends suddenly posted a picture on my Facebook wall. It was a picture of their living room in the winter. It looked ordinary with sofa and table on a thick carpet, warm looking room which looked very inviting and in the middle of the picture was a television. On the TV screen I could see two people but could barely recognize them. When I read the caption, I realized one of them was me. My friend was so excited because I shared a screen with Sir David Attenborough on the episode called Attenborough’s Ark: Natural World Special. I was curious and with less effort found the video on YouTube. During the 58 minutes show I only appeared for briefly 1-2 seconds, but it’s enough to say “Hey I’m featured on an Attenborough’s episode!” Here’s a link to the episode.

As the name suggests, in the episode Sir David Attenborough is asked to pick ten species he would bring to his ark in order to save them from extinction. No surprise, one of the species he picks is Sumatran rhino. The 9 other species are: Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus), Venus flower basket (Euplectella aspergillum), black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus crysopygus), northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), olm (Proteus anguinus), Darwin’s frog (Rhinoderma rufum), marvelous spatuletail (Loddigesia mirabilis), Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica), and Priam’s birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera priamus).

To be honest I had never heard any of those species except pangolin (and Sumatran rhino of course) before watching the episode. They are all unique and interesting in different ways. One species that caught my interest is solenodon. When I first heard the suffix -odon I thought it was a kind of modern day dinosaur with huge scaly body and scary looking face. To my surprise it’s actually a tiny hairy shrew-alike critter with a cute face. What makes this species special is its ability to inject venom through the grooves in their teeth, which is common in reptiles but not in mammals, making them one of the few mammalian species with this ability.

Hispaniolan solenodon. Source: wikimedia.org

Hispaniolan solenodon. Source: wikimedia.org

If you had your own ark, what animals (or creatures) would you bring to save them from extinction?

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