Going the Way of the Dodo

by Valeria Scrilatti


Shortlisted Charta Award 2023

Habitat destruction, the introduction of invasive species and over-harvesting were the causes that led to the disappearance of the Dodo at the end of the 17th century. This is one of the earliest and best-known examples of human-induced extinction, whose impact on the biosphere has grown exponentially, leading to the advent of what is now known as the sixth mass extinction.

The current rate of species extinction is estimated to be between 100 and 1000 times higher than the natural rate of extinction. The main factors threatening biodiversity are climate change, pollution, urbanization, overgrazing, intensive agriculture, soil erosion, and desertification.

Italy hosts about one third of the fauna present in Europe, with an estimated 60,000 species, a richness represented not only by the quantity but also by the high endemic rate (species exclusive to its territory) but the narrative about biodiversity loss often remains limited to the imagination of “symbolic animals”.

Through my personal vision I wanted to investigate the lesser-known aspect related to this phenomenon by focusing on some of the projects that in Italy deal with research, habitat monitoring, species conservation and repopulation in nature. At the heart of the imagery that I tried to depict, lies the desire to overcome the natural/artificial binomial, to avoid an apocalyptic representation and to look instead into the details of the relationship between humans and wild animals that triggered my curiosity.