California is not going to run out of people anytime soon. There are now almost thirty-seven million us here.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said of other residents. Nearly three hundred species of plants and animals are on California's endangered species list. Consider the following three examples:
The Chinook salmon. There used to be almost a million of these fish, and every year hundreds of thousands would swim up the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers to spawn. Due to dams and habitat loss, there are now fewer than ten thousand.
Or take the California red-legged frog. Known for its ability to jump, this frog played the title character in Mark Twain's tale "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." During the California Gold Rush, these frogs were abundant enough to be a staple food of the forty-niners. Now, due to urban sprawl and agricultural encroachment, only three hundred and fifty of them remain.
Then there is the majestic California condor. Once numbering in the thousands, the California condor population shrunk to twenty-two individuals. With the help of breeding in captivity, they have rebounded to a tenuous three hundred and forty eight individuals.
The condor may yet be a success story. But if we continue on the current pace of habitat destruction, we could lose a third or more of all the world's species of plants and animals. This would be the biggest extinction in sixty-five millions years.
So, what do we do? How do we get millions of Californians co-exist with these creatures?
Perhaps we need creative ways to draw attention to this issue. One new and unique way is through Tatzoo, a project that lets people show their love for endangered creatures by wearing the species on their skin.
Yes, you heard me correctly--you can show your support in the flesh. For a limited time, Tatzoo is offering free endangered species tattoos from world-class tattoo artists.
To win a tattoo, pick your favorite local endangered species and submit an idea on Tatzoo's Facebook page detailing how you would raise awareness of the species, with the goal of reaching a hundred people over a hundred days (Aug. 5- Nov. 16). The fifteen applicants with the best ideas will be given free Flip cameras to document their projects (and of course the tattoo). Deadline is August 5th.
Find out more information here at the Tatzoo Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Tatzoo