Killing animals is easy to do, you can just shoot them, trap them, hit them, or do any other kinds of harm to them. Saving one is not as easy for most of us, especially saving them from extinction threat. But for Carl Jones, saving a species from extinction threat is easier than killing those animals.
Who is Carl Jones? He is a biologist who lives in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Jones is currently the chief scientists for Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, founded by Gerald Durrell, and a full-time nature conservation scientist.
He might look, and sound, similar as other kinds of scientists and conservationist, but this man is more than just a person with knowledge. Jones has been the savior for more than 12 species of animals living in Mauritius island.
What’s so special about this old man? Here in this article we will show you the true strength of an old man. He might be able to inspire you to do the same too.
The decade of 1970s was a milestone for us, but only a few of us actually realized what happened. Not until a research that was published recently discovered that by the era, we have killed about 60% of mammals, birds, and fish species on earth.
It was the time when The Beatles reached their peak, thus maybe this was the reason why not so many people paid attention to the condition. However, instead of lining up to music shows for The Beatles, Jones, at his early 20s at that time, chose to go to Mauritius.
His mission was clear: to save Mauritius kestrels from extinction. At that time, there were only four Mauritius kestrels left on earth, which all of them were tried to be bred in captivity. But the chance for the mission to work out seemed so small at that time that researchers working on the mission gave up.
Almost all researchers were drawn back by their employers, including Jones who was told to “pull out elegantly” by the charity group he belonged to (the charity group now becomes BirdLife International). However, Jones decided to stay and kept the fight.
His reason was simple, because Mauritius island didn’t have the resources and capacity of doing the conservation. “That (the instruction to pull out) actually meant closing it (the conservation mission) down, because the Mauritians didn’t have the resources or capacity for doing it,” he said.
The Secret Behind
Well, his decision to stay helped the species of bird a lot. A decade later, the number of Mauritius kestrels multiplied to about 100 times that number. This might sound like a “beginner luck”, but if it happens more than 12 times, then it should be not.
Not only Mauritius kestrels, Jones’ decision to stay in the island brought the second chance needed by about 12 other species of animals, and many other species of plants. Yes, the 63-year-old man actually did save some plants from extinction too.
So, what’s actually his secret to do such miraculous work? “It’s very easy. It’s no secret at all,” Jones explained. It might sound anti-cliché, but what he preached was what he did. The only thing that he did to save the species was to ‘live with them’.
“A specimen is a repository for an infinite amount of information. You’ve got to live with your specimens, your animals. They’ve got to be part of your life,” Jones explained. By saying that, he tried to explain how living with the specimens of animals can do the job.
Carl Jones filled up his farmhouse with about 6,000 books and countless animal specimens, and that’s the only secret we need to know about. “That’s exactly how it works. You immerse yourself in the species, you learn as much as you can about its biology, you spend a lot of time living with the species and watching the species,” he said.
Just Do It
So, does only by living with animal specimens we can save them from extinction? Of course not, because that is not the point in what Jones tried to say. He might indeed have filled up his farmhouse with specimens and book, but collecting such incredible amount of information means nothing if not followed by actions.
“I know this is very cliched, but you’ve got to start with solutions, otherwise you do nothing,” Jones said in an interview. Simply said, Jones just did what needed to be done without spending too much time on only researching.
“If there’s a shortage of food, you start feeding. If there’s a shortage of nest sites, you put up nest boxes. You don’t need endless PhD students studying a species for 20 years,” Jones said. “Do you sit back and monitor a sick patient or do you treat them and see what works? A lot of species have been studied to extinction.”
So, the secret behind Jones’ ‘secrets’ is not so secretive. If you live with the specimen, you will know what you need to do. As doing the simple things yet useful instead of thinking the most effective formula but consist of complexities and at the end it would be wasted and undone.
The Award And The Reward
In 2016, Jones’ hard work in saving more than a dozens of species resulted in him being awarded Indianapolis Prize and got biennial $250,000 for the extraordinary work. “Carl is like the king of second chances. When humans blow things, he has a remarkable ability to give us a second chance,” said Michael Crowther, Indianapolis Zoo president.
For Crowther, announcing Jones as ‘The King of Second Chances’ was not too much. “He has really changed the game,” said the Zoo president. Not only because he has saved that many species of animals, but also because the choice he made to save those ‘underrated’ animals.
The other finalists in the 2016 award chose to save generally-liked animals such as penguins, snow leopard, seahorses, and other. But Jones’ work was different, he prioritized the most desperate ones than the most likeable ones.
“It’s interesting that Carl Jones is a prize winner and is working with not the most charismatic animals,” Crowther explained. “The important thing is that Carl is not just chasing after the things that are big and sexy, but he is helping the little things that help sustain our planet.”
However, an award is not the reward he wanted to get from doing such thing. The reward that Jones longs for is his idealism being adopted by everyone. “We definitely have to be aware of what’s happening, but we can do a lot to reverse these trends. All species are save-able,” he told The Guardian.