“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilisation surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronise them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
Henry Beston, 1928, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod
The Lost / Missing Paintings
Bordered Gothic Moth
Bordered Gothic Moth was delicate, as if wearing a gown of black lace. Some say they are still here, though none have been seen on this island for more than a decade. Look out, maybe this one is still flying among us.
Once there were many of them, roaming across France and Spain. Then there were fewer and fewer. Maybe too many got hunted, maybe diseases struck. In the end, there was only one lone female. And she died, hit by a falling tree. So, on January 6 2000, the last Pyrenean Ibex left the world.
We also called it Little Blue Macaw, because it had beautiful blue feathers underneath the grey. People trapped and traded it, and destroyed the places where it lived, and soon it had nowhere to be. It went missing from the wild in 2004.
A beautiful creature, like painted in burned gold, it lived in a cloud forest in Costa Rica. But nobody has laid eyes on its golden skin since 1989. We searched for it for many years, but in 2007, the world declared that it was extinct. It is thought that disease, pollution and global warming were the cause.
Tecopa pupfish lived in hot springs in the Mohave Desert. People came to the desert and built houses and hotels with golf courses. When things there changed too much, the fish had less and less space to live and started disappearing. They have been gone from the world since 1982.
Paintings by Vincent Oyenga
Words by Daniela Othieno