Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sieg Beetle!

This is one for the “what the heck?” file. Being keen on keeping abreast of world events, I read the BBC News, 680 News and a variety of other news websites on a daily basis. I came across a bizarre article that stated the Anophtalmus hitleri is on the verge of extinction. It is a brown, blind beetle and not for the squeamish. You may know it (although I have no idea why) by its non-Latin name, the Hitler Beetle.

Discovered in caves in Germany in 1933 (are they sure it wasn’t Hitler himself? No no, that would have been 1943. I am so bad with dates.) it was named after the dictator who apparently was flattered by the dedication. Right. Okay and question for the people of Germany, was that not your first clue that there was something a little off about this guy?

Apparently people are snapping these things up and paying upwards of 1000 Euros!!!!! That is one cruel fate considering that no German parent in the last six decades has called their child Adolf.

Who am I to judge though when I spent $47 US on a taxidermy squirrel last October. But come on, that was for a Halloween costume and served a very important purpose. And let’s face it, there are more squirrels around than we know what to do with.

But, back to the beetle. Poor thing. Just because it was named after Hitler, Neo-Nazis are snapping them up. Zoologists warn that the beetle is facing extinction because so many have been removed from the wild.

I am here to offer a solution. Those from Toronto, are no doubt aware that the landmark formerly known as Skydome (for upwards of 20 years) is now called the Rogers Centre. The Pantages Theatre has been renamed The Canon Theatre. Additions to museums, art galleries and hospitals are “rededicated” to whoever has the biggest cheque. The list of places being renamed and revamped is endless.

So why not start renaming animals on the endangered species list through corporate sponsorship? Not ownership mind you (see the film The Future of Food), rather 20 year leases on those most prized animals.

Think about it, VW renaming the Hitler Beetle and saving it. What is up with Germans and beetles anyway? Exxon could sponsor rare sea birds. Ford Motor Company could set its sites on the cougar. I really think I am on to something.

And those species that are a little too populous for our liking could be marketed as “collector editions”. Like Dung Beetle Barbie in her Poo Poo poncho! What little girl wouldn’t love that? Most of the ones I know, but you get the idea.

There is one positive side to all this beetle naming nonsense. The tradition continues and last year a beetle that feeds on slime-mould was named Agathidium bushi in honour of President Bush.


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