"Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it”

New Species: Fluffy Albino Teddy-bear Spider | Endangered Species Monday.

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Endangered Species Monday | Theraphosidae alba

Welcome back ladies and gentleman to the (ESP) Speak Up for The Voiceless Publication, printed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. (Publication 1 (2016): Article No: 403. 

Back in 2015 an incredibly rare species of tarantula was located by Dr Grey and his team from the Michigan State University, United States. The species generically identified as the Theraphosidae alba was discovered within the rain forests of Peru, South America. From what we are aware this is the only “albino tarantula” of its kind on the planet, of which is already listed as (critically endangered) on the IUCN RED LIST.

Since the discovery back in 2015 arachnologist’s have been trying to keep the species under wraps due to its rather peculiar toy like teddy bear appearance, and color which scientists believe may encourage arachnid enthusiasts to poach the spider from its habitat for breeding within the pet trade. A census undertaken in 2016 by Dr Gray and his team from the Michigan State University revealed a depressing 400 mature individuals remaining within the wild.

Dr Gray who’s been studying spiders and insects for over three decades stated, “Peruvian tarantulas are on the decline within their endemic habitat. We’ve discovered from 2007-2015 ten Peruvian species nearing extinction within the wild, the T. alba makes it up to eleven species. Furthermore a further eleven species of tarantulas within the United States alone are also nearing endangered. Conversion of land for farming, habitat destruction, deforestation, mining, pulp and paper trade, slash and burn operations, are all contributing to species extinction”

Now lets get back to reality. The spider above is nothing more than a fake hand-made plush teddy bear spider, its neither real nor endangered. The entire description above is complete nonsense written by myself, the University of Michigan doesn’t have from that I am aware a “Dr Gray”, nor have they been working within the Peruvian rain forests investigating arachnids. The only factual data above relates to the eleven species of tarantulas within the United States that are ‘indeed nearing extinction’.

So why lie, what was the purpose of lying to the public in order to create drama, and mass hysteria? The reason for this particular project was to grab the public’s attention in order to show them where they are going wrong and why. On the 24th July 2016 I posted the image above as a social experiment (among others) to evaluate peoples behavior when shown fluffy, cute, cuddly and adorable creatures. The image one can clearly see is indeed fake, however hundreds of people immediately believed (and probably still do believe) that the spider is real.

I deliberately enlarged the image, in the hope that many people would actually believe on witnessing the cuddly teddy spider, that it was indeed fake. Unfortunately this didn’t happen (which is the response I wanted). However the real responses were within the comments section of each share which has helped me understand the way at a different level we humans think on seeing an image, with a short description.

From the start, responses to the image were among others; (shock, awe, Oh my god, how can that be real, is this really real)?. I received email after email from people around the globe asking me where they could find the spider in the wild, down to “shocking emails regarding the legitimacy of the fake spider”. Then we had the trolls, and alleged know it all’s that had to make their point (VERY CLEAR) to hundreds of people commenting on the shared posts. Comments ranged from; (Its a fake spider you twat*s, do your fuc*king research before posting, give credit to the original person that made the spider you selfish cun*,). Nice huh?

Had the abusive trolls opened their eyes and exercised their little brains more, they’d have realized that a environmentalist scientist had posted a fake spider onto a conservation page – that covers endangered species for a specific reason. Moving on, as that is again the response I wanted, I wasn’t just looking for one or two responses but as many as I could harvest for a study that I am conducting on human behavior, and why humans seem to take note of more cuddly and nice animals – over that of not so cuddly and nice animals.

Further responses were exactly what I wanted to see, (people actually using their brain, putting it into action and finally hitting the research option). A large number of people provided to me on various shared posts, (URLs) to the original hand crafted spider, down to whom made that spider, where you can purchase similar plush spiders, and there were even links to the IUCN Red List that proved me wrong, all of which I wanted to see so desperately. But why, what was the whole purpose of wasting the public’s time, communicating misinformation, and arguments online?

The answer is quite simple, thousands of people liked, shared, and gave feed back about the “very obvious fake spider”, which was unique, cuddly looking, sweet, and adorable. Unfortunately the many thousands of people that follow my company organisation do not practice the same behavior in relation to “real animals” that aren’t cuddly, sweet, adorable, or unique. That I find very concerning, a boring African blue swallow for instance that is likely to go extinct within the next few years – received a handful of comments (2014), over a hundred shares, and around three hundred likes. The whole purpose of wasting the public’s time was to crate awareness, not for one species, but all species of flora and fauna that I and my team write about everyday, down to the illegal wildlife trade.

The question I ask is simple:

“WHY ARE WE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT SWEET AND CUDDLY ANIMALS, YET AREN’T THAT CONCERNED ABOUT ANIMALS THAT ARE VISIBLY NOT SWEET OR CUDDLY?”.

FAKE1

Image: Fake spider. 

Within twenty four hours members of the public shared the image above over 342 times (just from my profile). The image would have been shared more had I not decided to inform the “arguing public debating the spiders legitimacy”, and this was just from my own Facebook profile as explained. On many other pages shares went over 2,000+ and climbing.

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Image: People began wanting, questioning but also researching.  

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Image: People seem to think the spider is real, more debating which I like. 

take3

Image: More people question, debate and show curiosity. 

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Image: Plenty of people were researching as well, like crazy. 

take4

Image: On the IARFA page in 24 hours, 556 liked the post, and thousands more viewed. 

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Image: Comments were mixed with abuse, skepticism, wow’s, and – DEBATE.

Since July 24th to date, the post is still being commented on, shared, spoken about, but more importantly – debated. I’m not annoyed or frustrated, angered even with people that wanted to share their views, thoughts, and even research down to informing me that the spider was indeed fake, or asking whether the spider was real, down to informing me that I was an uneducated prick. If I cannot measure and understand peoples behavior, then I cannot work to change it, help them change the way in which they view things, or for myself understand peoples behavior better. Had I posted a simple snail – I’d still be awaiting a response. So the task was to post something that the public seemingly like. Cute, cuddly, sweet and nice animals.

The fact is, debate was what I propagated, yet I and my team of international conservationists do this everyday, we post, investigate, educate and create awareness about hundreds of different species of flora and fauna every month. On researching some of our posts from 2015-2014 I noted that on each post very few people took note of in the way of debating, researching, sharing, or even asking ourselves for more information relating to the animal we’d posted on that day, week or month, as they did in relation to the fake white plush spider above.

“If we all took the same amount of notice relating to all animals as we do those that are cuddly and sweet, we’d have fewer species nearing extinction, and more people doing something about endangered wildlife”.

Since the establishment of the IUCN RED LIST (1948) a staggering 813 species of plants and animals have gone completely extinct within the wild and captivity. 65 plants and animals are already “extinct within the wild” – yet some are fighting to stay extant within protective captivity. 4801 plants and animals are critically endangered. 7126 are listed as endangered. 10,763 are listed as vulnerable, and 5075 are identified as near threatened. I can guarantee now that very people would even know each and everyone of these plants and animals that are facing extinction within the next one hundred years. In the UK we have six insects that come 2060 – will be extinct.

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Image: Six UK endemic insects facing extinction by 2060.  

The article above unfortunately doesn’t depict a cuddly white spider. What it does show though is one of six species of UK endemic insects, that come 2060 will be EXTINCT (unless of course you want them to go extinct?). Meanwhile the cuddly white spider will still be doing the rounds on Google, and probably within the shops too. Some 1,500 people actually bothered to take note of the importance relating to the article above, and a further 12 people shared the post. Humans don’t actually need white cuddly plush spiders to survive. We do though need REAL INSECTS to pollinate 35% of the globes crops that require insects to pollinate them, to feed us, and animals. The Cosnards Net Winged Beetle (pictured above) will be extinct in under 8-10 years, and is now located within only three protected zones in the UK.

blueswallow

Image: African Blue Swallow – Extinction is Imminent. 

Every time I hear about the plight of the blue swallow I really do have to push the awareness and education arm, simply because many people don’t care, or when they do, they soon lose interest over that of a non-endangered dog or cat that is about to be butchered within the pet meat trade. I’m all up for stopping the pet meat trade, however I also know where my priorities lie. The African blue swallow will be extinct within five to six years (max), unless people begin showing interest, creating awareness, donating to blue swallow protection groups, and helping to preserve the species. I wrote ONE SENTENCE relating to a FAKE WHITE SPIDER, and thousands of people took notice of it. Yet I have to write many paragraphs, as well as publishing many images on a single bird just to grab the public’s attention. Why do I have to do that, and why can’t we all show the same interest for all, as we did to the white fake tarantula?

“DO YOU SEE WHERE I’M COMING FROM NOW?”

Come 2100 the world will be facing mass extinctions of birds, insects, frogs, toads, plants, and many mammals, not forgetting mass deforestation, habitat destruction, and land loss due to increasing human population rates.  If neither of us begin taking notice of every single animal and plant, but continues to take more notice of either fake animals or those animals that are cuddly, sweet looking, or pets. Then we may as well kill ourselves and stop the human production cycle, because come 2500 there is going to be little remaining for our children, their children and so on. Research it for yourself. Research how much land the globe has lost, how much green forests we’re losing, extinction of flora and fauna, down to increasing housing development, industrialization, how long humans are now living for, and human population (increasing every year).

“GET YOUR PRIORITIES INTO GEAR BEFORE ITS TO LATE”

I will be conducting more of these experiments online and will be watching very carefully how the general public interact with each critically important post. We humans have created many problems on Planet Earth. Now is the time to begin fixing them.

 

Dr Jose Carlos Depre PhD. MEnvSc. BSc(Hons) Botany, PhD(NeuroSci) D.V.M.

Environmental & Human Scientist. 

Chief Environmental Officer. 

 

 

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3 responses

  1. marthavlinn

    I love and tespect all animals, cuddly or not so much. I loved the picture, because I happen to think spiders are particularly adorable. I knew it wasn’t a real species, but I would love a stuffy one.
    Good luck getting people to open tere eyes to the reality that all animals contribute to our ecosystem (except humans).

    August 1, 2016 at 4:58 am

  2. Jacquelyn Ybarra

    It’s unfortunate that you feel you need to resort to trickery and deceit to make your point. I’m not sure who I’m more disappointed in, you and your organization or the public for failing to care for all living creatures as you claim.
    Being an avid animal lover and conservationist my entire life I don’t understand how anyone can fail to see how all living creatures, all flora and fauna are connected in the web of life.
    But then again I live in a society in which there are people that actively support Donald Trump for President so it takes all kinds…

    September 3, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    • Unless we research why people are not taking notice – we’ll never truly understand why they are not taking notice. However on learning why we can then fix that problem.

      Director

      September 5, 2016 at 2:27 am

Thank you for your reply, should it merit a response we will respond in due course. This site is owned by International Animal Rescue Foundation and moderation is used.

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