Toulouse (AFP)

Is it the end of a world, a new mass extinction? The Museum of Natural History of Toulouse launches an alarm call, with a very educational exhibition, on the serious threats to biodiversity due to human activity.

Designed by the prestigious Natural History Museum in London and enriched by funds from the Toulouse establishment, "Extinctions, the end of a world?" stops in the Pink City from October 9 to June 28, 2020, after including London, Beijing and Porto (Portugal).

The visitor will first get acquainted with previous mass extinctions, species already stricken from the map as the famous Dodo, a species of bird of Mauritius now extinct, or more recently the Baiji, the dolphin of China, also called "god of the Yangzi" and probably extinct in 2006. A molding and a video revive this freshwater dolphin with long rostrum can exceed 50 cm.

Then he will continue, through videos, scientific testimonials and multimedia installations, with the efforts of conservation of biodiversity and will understand how a species could survive a mass extinction, as the very resistant leatherback tortoise. The exhibition ends with questions about the future of Man and other species.

The Museum of Toulouse, the oldest in France after Paris, also shines the spotlight on local species little known but very endangered as the Pyrenees Desman, a singular mixture of rat and anteater. This semi-aquatic mammal with a small trunk was only described by scientists in 1811.

From the dinosaurs to the great penguin, 99% of the species having lived on earth are now extinct. If extinction is a phenomenon inherent in life, it is the extent and speed of the loss of biodiversity that calls: "in the last 20 years, 400 species have disappeared and today a million are threatened", warns the director of the museum, Francis Duranthon.

"We must ensure that biodiversity can continue to flourish.The objective is to show and warn about what lies ahead.This should ask us about our different practices," he insists.

"There is still time to act, individually or collectively, to maintain biodiversity on a global scale.I can act.I am concerned but I want to remain optimistic," he concludes.

© 2019 AFP