"For several years I have been writing about animals, looking at how important they have been as characters in the human drama from very early in our history, at how much joy and texture and mystery they bring into our lives. These too have become stories of grief, as the news gets bleaker about the animals' fate in a biologically impoverished world. Fifty percent of the world's animals are in decline. One-quarter of the world's mammals face extinction. That includes the elephant, humpback whale, gorilla, orangutan, spider monkey, cheetah, tiger, and polar bear. Imagine a world in which these creatures are merely imaginary, as the dinosaurs and woolly mammoths are to us today. Imagine the loss of wonder and excitement, the growing fear and sorrow as the continuity between human beings and others tatters. Some of the threatened ones will survive in captive breeding programs, and for this stark generosity, one must give thanks. But the world we leave to the future will be brutally impoverished. Earth's gorgeous palette is fading, and there is no ark for our fellow creatures but us."