Flirting with extinction, but looking for love

And you thought endangered species couldn’t get more vulnerable.

By Maya L. Kapoor/High Country News

In the spirit of summer love, High Country News imagines online dating from the perspectives of some of the West’s rarest species. Our conclusion? The next time we’ve had a rough go at romance, we’ll consider the bright side: We’ve still got several billion potential mates out there.

Paula Olsen/National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

Not you, Daniel

I’m a sleek swimmer who loves chasing fish with her friends. I’m hoping for a partner who enjoys exploring the warm desert waters of the northern Gulf of California as much as I do. But let’s be realistic here: Since fewer than 30 of our kind remain in existence, I’m down for a first date with any male vaquita who’s not my cousin Daniel. Some call me vaquita, some call me cochito, some call me Gulf of California harbor porpoise, some call me clickclickclickeeeEEEE. I don’t care what you call me… if you think this could work, just call me!

Olin Feurbacher/U.S. Geological Survey

Devils Hole Date Night

Hi, I’m one of fewer than 100 Devils Hole pupfish, and I’m proud to call our small Nevada oasis home. It almost crushed me when those drunk bozos trashed our pool last year — literally. I was hatching and one almost stepped on me. I’m female, silvery with dark stripes. My dream pupfish is a blue guy with a yellow tail, who enjoys gnawing algae from the ever-popular limestone ledge. If you can handle the heat of a Mohave desert pool, love swimming in salinity that would make other fish crawl onto land and run away, and don’t mind treading water in famously low levels of dissolved oxygen, let’s get together and splurge on some snails.

Mark Watson

Conifer Wanderer

Just a quiet guy who enjoys cool misty mornings on the edge of a giant collapsed extinct volcano. I’m trekking through the pine needles, looking for love and larvae. I haven’t seen another Jemez Mountains Salamander in a few years, so I’d be excited to meet a gal who’s ready to connect over some termites and who might even drop some eggs in a rocky crevice, after I’ve crawled back under the rotting piece of wood I call home.

>>Read more of these looking-for-love ads from the Canada Lynx, Yosemite toad, golden paintbrush, black-footed ferret & Kanab ambersnail.

Maya L. Kapoor is an associate editor with High Country News.

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