Pixelated images showcase how close these species are to extinction

As a campaign the World Wildlife Fund ran in 2008 is re-making the rounds on reddit, one Imgur user has created a powerful follow-up.

Image credits JJSmooth44 / Imgur.

Back in 2008, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released a striking photo campaign. Called WWF Japan – Population by pixel, the campaign was created by the agency Hakuhodo C&D in Tokyo. It consisted of a set of 4 posters, blurred so that every single pixel in the photo corresponds to one living animal — the poorer-quality the final image is, the worse for wear the species is in the wild.

Since 2008, however, the four species shown in the campaign have been recovering and increasing in numbers in the wild. But those four aren’t the only ones that have been struggling. A collection of 22 new but very similar images recently published on Reddit by user JJSmooth44 showcases just that.

JJSmooth44 claims he “did it as a programming challenge,” using the Python language to obscure these images through pixelation, matching the number of pixels with the number of individuals that species are estimated to still have in the wild. He took the original photos from the Animal Planet endangered animals list.

“The code is very gross,” he says. “I only worried about the final product and not the readability/niceness of the code.”

The rate of species extinction has been picking up recently, and a big part of that is due to us. Species do go extinct through natural mechanisms, but more and more of them are struggling to adapt to ever-more pollution, human encroachment, and habitat devastation. Climate warming is further pushing these species towards extinction.

Work such as the Population by Pixels campaign and JJSmooth44’s work perfectly showcase how vulnerable Earth’s species and ecosystems can be if we do not care for them. Just like a picture losing its pixels, these species run a very real danger of fading away forever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.