These Nearly-Extinct Animals Would Fit on a Single Subway Car

These Nearly-Extinct Animals Would Fit on a Single Subway Car

Imagine hopping onto the New York City subway and seeing it packed with Christmas Island geckos or Burmese roofed turtles. This would never happen, obviously. The Christmas Island gecko is actually extinct in the wild, and the Burmese roofed turtle is endangered.

That’s exactly why data journalist and artist Mona Chalabi included them in her latest graphics for The Guardian, where she serves as a data editor. Titled “Endangered Species on a Train,” the pieces show seven endangered species that can fit both in terms of size and number into a single New York City subway car—“if they squeeze,” that is.

At first, Chalabi told Earther, she toyed with the idea of fitting these endangered animals in swimming pools or a building. The key was figuring out what would most clearly convey how rare these creatures have become. Eventually, she landed on the MTA’s ailing subway system.

“Even though not everyone’s been in New York, you have a vague sense of what a subway car is like,” she told Earther.

The series took Chalabi a month, longer than her projects usually take—but the wait was well worth it.

Species include the Javan rhino, which is critically endangered, the vaquita, also critically endangered with about 30 wild individuals remaining, and the Guam kingfisher, which is extinct in the wild. Whittling the species down from a list of 20 animals was difficult, but she had to be sure to include a wide range of types of species—from birds to marine life to reptiles.

In her visuals, the animals are drawn to scale, but even those of the same species include some size variation. Not all animals are exactly the same, of course. Chalabi is also quick to remind us that the number of animals she includes are often estimates. Researchers can only be so certain about populations of animals that have become incredibly scarce.

“Ultimately, the visual still gives you a sense that it’s roughly this number,” she said.

And Chalabi hopes people can truly get a sense of what these numbers mean. These animals are on the brink of extinction—often due to invasive species or poaching, and climate change isn’t helping. Through quirky visuals, the average person can become more aware of their plight.

And who isn’t fascinated by the sight of an Amur leopard on a subway car?

These Nearly-Extinct Animals Would Fit on a Single Subway Car
Illustration: Courtesy of Mona Chalabi (The Guardian
These Nearly-Extinct Animals Would Fit on a Single Subway Car
Illustration: Courtesy of Mona Chalabi (The Guardian
These Nearly-Extinct Animals Would Fit on a Single Subway Car
Illustration: Courtesy of Mona Chalabi (The Guardian
These Nearly-Extinct Animals Would Fit on a Single Subway Car
Illustration: Courtesy of Mona Chalabi (The Guardian
These Nearly-Extinct Animals Would Fit on a Single Subway Car
Illustration: Courtesy of Mona Chalabi (The Guardian
These Nearly-Extinct Animals Would Fit on a Single Subway Car
Illustration: Courtesy of Mona Chalabi (The Guardian)
These Nearly-Extinct Animals Would Fit on a Single Subway Car
Illustration: Courtesy of Mona Chalabi (The Guardian)

Correction 9/18/18 4:25 p.m. ET: This post previously had Mona Chalabi’s name misspelled in a few places. It’s been corrected to reflect the correct spelling of her name.

Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

dnapl
Dense non aqueous phase liquid

Here’s a pretty good problem definition from the World Wildlife Fund:

Habitat loss poses the greatest threat to species. The world’s forests, swamps, plains, lakes, and other habitats continue to disappear as they are harvested for human consumption and cleared to make way for agriculture, housing, roads, pipelines and the other hallmarks of industrial development. Without a strong plan to create terrestrial and marine protected areas important ecological habitats will continue to be lost.

And speaking of putting fauna on a train, here’s the trillion dollar club of global commodity houses - (houses as in tight knit and closed shop) who benefit directly from the ever expanding apatite of humans - and thusly the shrinking of wildlife habitat.

Speaking of shrinkage, the number 10 spot goes to Louis-Dreyfus Commodities. That’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ father’s’ firm. We’re talking almost a cornering of global coffee trade and the lion’s share of the Brazil soybean (formally Amazon rainforest) to China trade. No wonder LDC greened up its website. Lots of EJ language to promote industrial agriculture practices.

I’m not sure if we can include staff traders and support staff. On a positive note, China’s hogs and pigs have been fattened up nicely with US and Brazil soybean over the past 15 years or so. 

16 largest firms worldwide

Vitol
The company engages in the extraction, trade, refining, storage, and transport of energy. Vitol Asia Pte Ltd is headquartered in Singapore.
Glencore
Glencore has worldwide activities in the production, sourcing, processing, refining, transporting, storage, financing and supply of metals and minerals, energy products and agricultural products.
Cargill
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services.
Koch Industries
Koch companies are involved in refining, chemicals and biofuels; forest and consumer products; fertilizers; polymers and fibers; process and pollution control equipment and technologies; commodity trading and services; minerals; ranching; and investments.
Archer Daniels Midland
ADM Company manufactures and sells protein meal, vegetable oil, corn sweeteners, flour, biodiesel, ethanol, and other value-added food and feed ingredients. It has a subsidiary in Singapore, Archer Daniels Midland Singapore Pte Ltd.
Gunvor International
Gunvor International B.V. engages in the trade, transport, and storage of oil and petroleum products internationally. It has a subsidiary in Singapore, Gunvor Singapore Pte Ltd.
Trafigura
Trafigura Beheer B.V. engages in the sourcing and trading of crude oil, petroleum products, renewable energies, metals, metal ores, coal, and concentrates for industrial consumers worldwide.
Mercuria
Mercuria’s core business is sourcing, supplying and trading crude oil and refined petroleum products.
Noble Group
Noble Group provides supply chain management services for agricultural, industrial, and energy products worldwide.
Louis Dreyfus
Louis Dreyfus Commodities B.V. processes and trades agricultural products, and engages in merchandising a range of commodities.
Bunge
Bunge Limited engages in the agriculture and food businesses worldwide, with integrated operations from farming to retail.
Wilmar
Wilmar International Limited operates through seven segments: Palm and Laurics, Oilseeds and Grains, Consumer Products, Plantations and Palm Oil Mills, Sugar Milling, Sugar Merchandising and Processing, and Others. Wilmar International Limited was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Singapore.
Arcadia
Arcadia Petroleum Limited is engaged in the source, supply, blending, and marketing of physical oils.
Mabanaft
Mabanaft is the trading arm of Marquard & Bahls AG, a leading independent petroleum company that engages in the wholesale and import of petroleum products in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Asia.
Olam
Olam International is a global integrated supply chain manager and processor of agricultural products and food ingredients.
Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd
Hin Leong is involved oil trading, bunkering, lubricants blending and sales, diesel retailing, logistics support and storage support.

Source: Reuters