Extinked: tattoos of endangered species
December 3, 2009 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Getting something permanently inked upon your body is not to be taken lightly, especially if it is a rare type of fungus.

A bunch of conservation charities (the Marine Conservation Society, Buglife, and The People's Trust for Endangered Species) have collaborated with a Manchester arts collective, Ultimate Holding Company, and some tattoo artists to carry out what they call a "social experiment".

In the UHC art gallery there are 100 ink illustrations of endangered species displayed, each of which is listed as a priority on the UK's Biodiversity Action Plan. One-hundred volunteers are asked to choose one for permanent display on their skin to raise awareness of conservation issues.

UHC say, "the result of this unique exhibition is an army of ambassadors for threatened and rare birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, plants and fungi."

Personally I'd have gone for the Brown hare, or maybe the scarlet malachite beetle.

The species list [pdf]

Previously.
posted by jonesor (32 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
When I read your tagline, I was sure that the fungus was going to be inside the ink, and that the tattooed persons were volunteering to serve as a host for what was presumably a microscopic, inert species in danger.

I'm not sure if I like this better or not.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:56 PM on December 3, 2009 [21 favorites]


That website has a giant rectangle of MetaFilter inked on it. Weird.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:59 PM on December 3, 2009


Now the youth of the future will be able to identify fungi with accuracy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:04 PM on December 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


Yep, human beings as willing hosts to inert rare fungus would have been awesome.
posted by mek at 5:04 PM on December 3, 2009


This is really cool. I would totally respect someone who got a tattoo of an endangered species, epically if they did conservation work.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 5:07 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dolphin tattoos are becoming endangered? FANTASTIC!

Oh wait, it's a tattoo of an endangered dolphin... damn. Here I was, hoping that the list of soon-to-be-extinct tattoos would next include the Butterflyicus Ankletia, the tenacious Barbedwiredicus Armbandium, and the Tribalia Trampstampus.
posted by FatherDagon at 5:12 PM on December 3, 2009 [13 favorites]


thankfully the Tasmanian Devil is not endangered... not sure i could handle any more of this
posted by h0p3y at 5:27 PM on December 3, 2009


Neat. And I do I love the look of 19th century scientific illustrations. *ponders*

h0p3y, I knew a tattoo artist who just decided one day he was never going to do another Tasmanian Devil. When people asked for one, he would act like he had no idea what they were talking about.
posted by JoanArkham at 5:35 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


How... illuminating.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:49 PM on December 3, 2009


Now the youth of the future will be able to identify fungi with accuracy.

Is it that much to ask that people recognise a portobello mushroom?
posted by pompomtom at 6:17 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


thankfully the Tasmanian Devil is not endangered...

Um...hate to break it to you, but real Tasmanian devils are being driven extinct by virulent face cancer.
posted by Diablevert at 6:27 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


When I read your tagline, I was sure that the fungus was going to be inside the ink, and that the tattooed persons were volunteering to serve as a host for what was presumably a microscopic, inert species in danger. I'm not sure if I like this better or not.

Same. Would have been way, way better if the DNA was in the ink, and these people's corpses could be summoned at some point in the future for purposes of cloning the species they sponsored.
posted by tybeet at 6:34 PM on December 3, 2009


Re: Tasmanian devils:

Really, we're faced with two plagues: one affecting the real (and very nifty) animals, and one of ugly and unimaginative cartoon-themed skin art. I dare say the population of regrettable Taz tattoos worldwide outstrips the global population of healthy Sarcophilus harrisii, probably by at least an order of magnitude.

It seems like there should be some kind of strategic partnership possible. Maybe tattoo artists should start offering Taz tattoos at a discount, as long as the cartoon sports an enormous, supporating facial tumor and the URL for a Tasmanian devil conservation website, like www.tassiedevil.com.au. Discounts are awesome, right? And then maybe it would catch on, and people'd start having existing Taz tattoos tumored up. It'd become like the Chi-Tonw thing, only more useful (and admittedly much more disgusting.)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 6:40 PM on December 3, 2009


Off that list, I would have an Adder (Vipera berus) inked on me. I was only 14, visiting the highlands of Scotland, when I saw a funny snake with a zig-zag pattern. I poked at it but didn't quite pick it up, although it never attempted to bite me. I didn't know what it was; had it bitten me, and it easily could have, I would have been 4 hrs away from any medical help. When I finally told someone knowledgeable about the experience, he was torn between "Wow! you saw an endangered species in an area where we thought they were extinct!" and "Whoa, you did WHAT?! you sure you didn't get bitten?"
posted by The otter lady at 6:40 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


There are many images of extinct carnivorous marsupials which would make for swell tattoos (if you are into that sort of thing). For example, let's start with the Thylacoleo.
posted by ovvl at 7:16 PM on December 3, 2009


Awesome! So, how does that tattoo of a dolphin save dolphins?

By… uh… raising awareness or something?

Great. And raising awareness does what?

Well, uh, people are more aware of stuff. Stuff being bad.

And that makes them do what?

Well, they might, like, conserve more or something.

Oh, so it's an aesthetically meaningful but practically meaningless hipster gesture? Awesome! We need more of those! Way to go!
posted by klangklangston at 7:22 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, so it's an aesthetically meaningful but practically meaningless hipster gesture?

Yes, but these are UK hipsters. They're even more pasty. So that tattoo shows up better. Or whatever.
posted by ob at 7:43 PM on December 3, 2009


I'm going to get a tattoo to help conserve intelligent debate on the web before it disappears completely.

Except that by doing so, too much of the internet populace will respond with "Eww, a tattoo. Lame and stupid. Only morans get tattooed.". And therefore, my entire point will be lost.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:43 PM on December 3, 2009


Is keyboard cat endangered? 'Cause I'm leaning that way right now...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:45 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now the youth of the future will be able to identify fungi with accuracy.

The youth of the future will probably mostly be thinking "No wonder all these species went extinct—look at how wrinkly and saggy they were."

That, or wondering what monstrous environmental damage could possibly have driven the East Anglian Flaming Skeleton Jumping A Motorcycle Over A Graveyard Full Of Brandished, Bloody Katanas to extinction.
posted by No-sword at 7:47 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Yes, but these are UK hipsters. They're even more pasty. So that tattoo shows up better. Or whatever."

Down the block from me, a new tattoo parlor has opened up, one that's ostensibly Irish. Well, it has a shamrock and a shillelagh, but they could just be Flogging Molly fans. Anyway, the name of the joint is (caps theirs) "iTat2to," which means that every time my girlfriend and I pass it, we start giggling, saying, "I tat-ta-ta-to-ta-to-ta-too."

Not terribly germane, sure, but it keeps me amused.
posted by klangklangston at 8:04 PM on December 3, 2009


Wait. Tattoos may become extinct?
posted by Ron Thanagar at 8:04 PM on December 3, 2009


a new tattoo parlor has opened up, one that's ostensibly Irish.

I have no idea what the deal was, but I never saw a higher concentration of incredibly whack tattoos than I did in Dublin. What the hell is going on in that town? The parlors look like any other tattoo parlor in the world, but so goddamn much of the ink walking around just looked terrible. It truly shook me to my core because the town is incredibly awesome in every other way.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 8:14 PM on December 3, 2009


Um...hate to break it to you, but real Tasmanian devils are being driven extinct by virulent face cancer.

Oh, c'mon, the neighbor's kid's band isn't bad as far as grindcore goes.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:15 PM on December 3, 2009


I just got a meaningless gesture tattoo of an endangered species, too!
(Southwestern Australian coast sea dragon seahorse)

Damn. I was hoping to get in before everyone else did it.
posted by Balisong at 8:31 PM on December 3, 2009


Oh, so it's an aesthetically meaningful but practically meaningless hipster gesture? Awesome! We need more of those! Way to go!

We're all full up on cynical hipstraphobic fake sarcasm, tho. Soon those'll be hunted for sport, since it tends to overbreed.
posted by waraw at 8:46 PM on December 3, 2009



Me and my brother were talking to each other
About what makes a tatt a tatt
Was it "Mom" or "Taz" or Lydia's Alcatraz?
We just couldn't understand

Our Old Man didn't like our appearance
"Only hipsters wear trucker caps on their hair"

So me and my brother borrowed money from Mother
We knew what we had to do
We went downstairs to the UHC Art Gallery
And got our arms tattooed

Welcome to my life, tattoo
I'm extInked now, thanks to you
Species no longer endangered
Cuz awareness has been raisered
And no fungus had to die. . .
Tattoo

My Dad beat me cuz mine said "Otter"
But Motter naturally liked it and beat my brotter
Cuz his tattoo was of a Great Crested Newt
And Motter thought that was extremely rewt

Welcome to my life, tattoo
We've a long time together, me and you
I'm opposing evolution
With my hide as the solution
You'll be there when I die. . .
Tattoo

Now I'm older, I'm tattooed all over
My wife is tattooed, too
With a rooty-toot-toot, rooty-tooty-tooty-toot
Rooty-toodle-toodle tattoo too. . .
To you

-- with apologies to Pete Townshend
posted by Herodios at 9:22 PM on December 3, 2009


When I read your tagline, I was sure that the fungus was going to be inside the ink

Wasn't that an episode of the X-Files?
posted by Slothrup at 9:34 PM on December 3, 2009


No, no, the X-Files episode was where the people were tripping because the mushroom was eating them.

Whoaaa.
posted by griphus at 9:51 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Um...hate to break it to you, but real Tasmanian devils are being driven extinct by virulent face cancer....

oops... i was just going by what was in the the species list link.

shoulda googled i suppose...

*rolls up sleeve for ubiquitous Taz tattoo*
posted by h0p3y at 3:47 AM on December 4, 2009


This is like the "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS" magnetic ribbons that so many people have: It does nothing but makes the bearer think they are.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:22 AM on December 4, 2009


I'd like to see one of the Boring Millipede and the Erratic Ant, half-drunk and perched on the edge of some uncomfortable furniture, suffering through yet another unwanted Christmas meal at the home of their mutual in-laws.
posted by Sallyfur at 2:59 AM on December 5, 2009


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