Every year on Tomb Sweeping Day, 53-year-old Ben Guo presents flowers as offerings to the dead at the World Extinct Wildlife Cemetery, which he established in 1999 to pay respect to extinct animals.
The cemetery is located in the Daxing district’s Beijing Nanhaizi Milu Park and consists of 100 tombstones lined up along a kilometer-long road. While no animals are buried beneath, each stone details the names of animals and dates of their extinction—a Jamaican rice rat in 1880 and passenger pigeon in 1914 are some examples, according to China Daily.
“Dead relatives and ancestors should not be the only ones honored on Tomb Sweeping Day. The animals also deserve to be remembered because they are our friends,” said Guo.
Guo said he aligned the tombstones like dominos to illustrate how one animal’s extinction affects other species. Some of the tombstones are engraved with the names of endangered animals.
Pandas and tigers are among China’s key protected animals under endangerment.
The city of Zhanjiang in Guangdong province has recently been in the spotlight for reported tiger slaughterings done for the purpose of entertaining officials and rich businessmen who consider the event “visual feasts” to show off their social status.
[Image via ECNS.cn]