If you visited Tasmania a century ago, you might have seen the Tylacine—a small, dog-like creature with a pouch like a kangaroo and stripes. But by 1936, the animal was extinct. A new series of vintage-style travel posters commemorates the species like the Tylacine that travelers could have seen in the past, but no longer exist.
"The aim of the project was really to commemorate the wildlife we've lost and to reveal an aspect of these countries that travelers wouldn't necessarily think of," says content strategist Matt Lindley, who worked on the project for Expedia UK. "But I think it could also get people thinking differently about extinction by making them feel an emotional connection with the topic, imagining what it would have been like to see these animals in real life."
The series includes everything from the Steller's Sea Cow—hunted to extinction in Alaska by 1768—to the Golden Toad, which went extinct in Costa Rica in 1989.
"We wanted to include a diverse range of animals, not just mammals or birds, and we also wanted to make sure we showed the more iconic alongside the less well known," says Lindley.
Each species is also endemic to the country it represents; the Golden Toad, for example, only lived in a tiny section of the cloud forest in Costa Rica. As that range shrank, and the toad faced other threats such as climate change and disease, it disappeared.
As mass extinction progresses, many of the animals that travelers expect to see now—from rhinos and tigers to polar bears—may also die off. In some cases, that's led to extinction tourism, where travelers try to see the last animal (or iceberg) before it goes.
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