For 2018, RDLS invites events on or around November 30th to mark the extinction and endangerment of marine mammals and/or the ongoing threats to seas. The focal lost species for 2018 is Steller’s sea cow. Alternatively, RDLS participants are welcome to focus on any lost or disappearing species or ecological community. Please see the list of suggested activities below.
Steller’s sea cow: Steller’s sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) was a large marine mammal whose living relatives are the dugong and the manatee. Steller’s sea cow was last seen in 1768 in the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia, just a few years after it was first observed and named by Europeans. 2018 marks the 250th anniversary of its extinction. The story of Steller’s sea cow story has much to teach about how species can be extinguished with shocking speed.
Steller’s sea cow was named by Georg Wilhelm Steller, a German naturalist who noticed the creatures whilst shipwrecked on Bering Island during a scientific mapping expedition of the Arctic. Much of what is known about the sea cow comes from Steller’s 1741 observations. Fur hunters, who then set up a trading post on the island, subsisted on sea cows, which were easy to hunt as they were slow moving and rarely submerged. All the sea cows were gone by 1768.
Growing up to nine metres in length and weighing up to ten tonnes, Steller’s sea cows provided refuge for many species, including fish, several species of crustaceans now extinct, and resting birds. They communicated with sighs and snorts, fed mainly on kelp, and were monogamous and sociable. Mothers nursed and raised one baby at a time.
Illustration by by F. John
Suggested RDLS activities:
- Respond to the story of Steller’s sea cow or focus on the story of another marine species, community or issue you’re passionate about. Other examples include grey whales, orcas, vaquita, eels, krill, otters, salmon and many more.
- Focus on local stories of extinction or endangerment, and on ways to restore relationships with one or more species of your ecological community.
- Explore links between human-induced extinctions and other forms of structural violence.
- On days before or after RDLS, organise or participate in personally and collectively restorative activities (e.g. beach and waterway cleans, tree planting, gardening with pollinators and soil in mind).
How to join RDLS 2018
- Like and share our FB page – https://www.facebook.com/internationalremembrancedayforlostspecies/
- Let us know if you hold an event, and we can help promote it
- Please document your event and share any images, text etc with us via Twitter or Instagram @lostspeciesday, or email us at email@example.com
- We also welcome blog posts for this website.
- Building a Life Cairn for Totnes, Devon, England https://www.facebook.com/events/1773741646245298/
- Beach gathering, Cape Town, South Africa
- Steller’s sea cow memorial and beach clean, Brighton, England
RDLS 2017 events
- Chicago, USA: Constellation Chicago, Benefit Concert, 7.30 – 10pm https://www.facebook.com/events/831638697010219/
Salt Lake City, Utah: International Peace Gardens. Meet at the Gandhi statue at 6pm for ceremony. Details here https://www.facebook.com/events/120288578635382/1000 S 900 W, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104
- Heidelberg, Germany: Council of All Beings/ Work that Reconnects workshop for Lost Species Day https://www.facebook.com/events/1492532204175362/
- London, England: Winged Bench for Lost Species , Telegraph Hill Park, 10am -1pm https://www.facebook.com/events/141308823165135/
- Pacific: Watch the Birdie! BirdLife International Pacific & Anniemalsartist are raising awareness of 9 critically endangered birds
- Paris, France: Clown cabaret for Lost Species, venue TBC
- Madrid, Spain: Bionic Festival multi-biological art project – dance competition will take place at MADPHOTO in honour of Lost Species Day.
- Dorset, England: http://www.moveintolife.com/extinction.html Village Hall, Wootton Fitzpaine – Vigil 6pm – midnight. Drop in or stay throughout.
- Blaenffos, Wales: Blaenffos Permaculture Market Garden, Polytunnel Pilgrimage and Pollinator Pizzas 4-7pm. See www.vegetableagenda.co.uk
- Brighton: Procession for Lost Pollinators. Meet at O N C A at 6pm https://www.facebook.com/events/152627825343110/
- Kings Cross, London: The Story Bee Wreath – drop-in workshop 2.30-5pm https://www.facebook.com/events/497251060660885/
- Montreal, Canada: Artists’ meet-up at the Redpath Museum, 2.30pm onwards – the collection includes species which are extinct and endangered. Led by artist Katrine Claassens.
- Cley Hill, Warminster: Gathering 11am – noon. Meet at the top of Cley Hill at the Trig Point for a shared reading of the poem ‘Bestiary’ by Joanna Macy. https://www.facebook.com/events/1930360823883174/
Bishops Sutton, near Winchester, England: 12 Characters in Search of an Apocalypse. 7.15pm A Giraffe Social Enterprises production of the work of American author Andrew Boyd.
- Glasgow, Nov 17-30: The Big We Love Pollinators Swarm! https://www.facebook.com/events/1872569656116797/
- Melbourne, Australia, Oct 31 – Nov 10: To The Future Lost – exhibition by Gabbee Stolp & Michelle Stewart https://www.facebook.com/events/1943519052560028/
- Dublin, Ireland, November 4 -18: Bugonia – an exhibition of insect art by Nessa Darcy. At Bi Urban, 3 Manor Street, Stoneybatter, Dublin, Ireland D07 X054
- Paradise Beach, Sacramento, CA, USA, Nov 12: Riverbank ritual and potluck – https://www.facebook.com/events/664282287109747/
- Brighton, England, November 22 – December 10: Exhibition at O N C A – Ritual Burials & Extinct Icons by Mother Eagle
- London, England, November 27: Luke Rollason’s Planet Earth – special performance for RDLS, Leicester Square Theatre, 8.30pm
- Galway, December 1, 6pm: St. Nicholas’ Parochial School, Waterside, Woodquay – Sing for Our Planet https://www.facebook.com/events/712538632290777/
- Brighton, December 1, 2-5pm: Mead and seed bombs on the seafront with BeeSpace UK https://www.facebook.com/events/339663133166004/
- Oakland, California, December 2: Lucille’s Regenerative Memorial dedication in the Gardens at Lake Merritt – http://www.extinctionwitness.
- Montreal, Canada, December 3: Redpath Natural History Museum – workshop for children. http://www.mcgill.ca/redpath/channels/event/remembrance-lost-species-art-workshop-282628 Talk and tour of museum’s collection of extinction and endangered species, then participants can paint lost species.
- Worldwide: Hapi & The Lost Species – download the ‘Extinction Dance’ between Nov 24 and Nov 30 2017 https://www.facebook.com/events/228199754371816/
Some of 2016’s events
- September 3rd, Embercombe: Thylacine Tribute Cabaret
- September 7th, Brighton: Tasmanian Tiger Night at the Booth Museum
- October 2nd, Brighton: Tolling the Bell for Lost Species for Rabb’s Fringe Limbed Tree Frog
- October 4-8, London: Museum for Lost Stories/ thylacine memorial
- October 26th, Brighton: Beach clean and art session for children
- October 29th, Haverfordwest: Dance Macabre lantern parade for the thylacine
- November 23- 30, Holocene Project, Colorado – tattooing for extinct species
- November 16-30, Memorials for the Future Lost, Victoria, Australia
- November 27th, Glasgow: Tree Climb and Picnic for Extinct Lemurs
- November 27th, Milton Keyes: Procession with Festive Road
- November 28th, Remembering Lost Species with the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs
- November 30th, Alsager: Making a public memorial for Lost Species
- November 30th, Maleny, Queensland: Remembrance ritual
- November 390th, Deptford: Three Sheets to the Sea, performance ritual for the sea
- November 30th, Bozeman, Montana: 108 Bell Rings
- November 30th, Brighton: Procession for Lost Species
- November 30th, London: Dinner Dedicated to the Dear Dead Dodo
- December 2nd, Brighton: Do You Speak Seagull? Zoomorphic poetry night
- December 7th, Sheffield: Music and stories in Remembrance of Lost Species
- December 10th, Finland: Remembrance ritual
Whitehall Funeral for Lost Species, 2010