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This article is about the First Culling. You may be looking for the Second Culling.

The 320 souls who sacrificed their lives in the Culling gifted the rest of us the time that we need to make it to the ground. Mankind is going home.
Chancellor Jaha to the General Assembly [src]

The Culling, also known as Kane's Population Reduction Plan, was an event spearheaded by the Council where 320 Arkers willingly sacrificed themselves so the rest of the Ark would have more time to repair their life support system.

After the Delinquents were able to contact the Ark and let everyone know the Earth was able to support life, the families of those culled became upset with what they now perceived as an unnecessary sacrifice. This contributed to the Unity Day mutiny.


In a flashback in Earth Kills, a year prior to The Culling, Jake Griffin discovered a system failure on The Ark, leaving them with less than two years of oxygen which was not enough time to fix the problem. The Council ordered Jake to remain quiet about it to keep the public from panicking but he created a video anyway. The Council stopped him before he could broadcast his warning to the Ark and had him floated for treason.

Twilight's Last Gleaming 045 (Jake)

Jake Griffin's video message

A year later, the oxygen shortage on the Ark had become critical and the Council agreed to send 100 Delinquents to Earth in the Pilot to not only see if it was survivable but also to give the Ark another month's worth of oxygen by reducing the population. It was still not enough as the Ark would run out of oxygen within four months while Engineering still needed six months to fix life support. A day later, in Earth Skills, the Council voted on Kane's Population Reduction Plan to reduce the population by 209 individuals. Aware that for every day they delay, ten more people will need to be culled, the vote ended in a tie with Chancellor Jaha abstaining from the vote, causing it to be taken up again in ten days.

Ten days later, in Twilight's Last Gleaming, as oxygen, CO2, and methane reached perilous levels and Medical was overwhelmed with cases of pulmonary toxicity, the Council voted unanimously on the Culling and agreed to euthanize 320 individuals to give the rest of the people on the Ark more time to get the problem fixed.


The original plan was to wait for Section 17 in Factory Station to be in their sleep period aided by a sleep-inducing gas. All of the doors and vents would be sealed in an alleged malfunction of their fire containment system. Chancellor Jaha planned to be culled with the people in Section 17, however, Marcus Kane convinced him it would be too destabilizing for the Ark to also lose their Chancellor.

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The victims of the Culling meet their fate

Abigail Griffin did not agree with the plan to keep the Culling secret from the public and resurrected Jake's video, broadcasting it across the Ark that the life support was failing. In response, the citizens of the Ark banded together with Tor Lemkin being the first one of hundreds to volunteer for the Culling so their loved ones could live. In the end, the Council had to turn away almost one hundred extra volunteers.

The Culling happened in a small room with a fan. The door closed and the fan slowly stopped and the 320 people fell asleep before taking their last breaths.


His Sister's Keeper 016 (Memorial)

The bodies are returned to the earth

Abigail Griffin was arrested and brought before The Council in Contents Under Pressure. They decided to not float her because her medical expertise was too valuable, however, they did decide to remove her from the Council. While she was before the Council, the first contact from the Delinquents was broadcast to the Ark over the Ark-wide channel. Not only did this let everyone know the ground was survivable, it also finally allowed the rest of the Ark to learn what the Council had been keeping secret from them and eventually contributed to the Unity Day bombing and mutiny.

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Memorial to the victims

A memorial to the victims was set up in Section 17 with the Last Tree and the book of The Ark Grounders' names. An inebriated and guilt-ridden Marcus Kane visited the memorial and was confronted by Cuyler Ridley who had lost his wife in the Culling. Chancellor Jaha then ordered a General Assembly of the Station Representatives to finally tell everyone the truth about the Delinquents on Earth and the failing life support system on the Ark. During this meeting, he elected former Chancellor Diana Sydney to take Abby's place on the council. This eventually led to Sydney's failed coup in Unity Day that left the Ark further crippled and resulted in the deaths of around 1,500 Ark citizens, according to Kane in The Calm.



Notes and Trivia[]

  • The removal of the 100 Delinquents from the Ark's population provided an extra month of oxygen
    • This still left the Ark with an estimated four months of oxygen, two months short of the six months Engineering required to fix the problem.
  • The initial Culling would have required 209 Sky People to be sacrificed to give approximately two more months of air to the Ark.
    • Because it was postponed for 10 days, the Culling exponentially increased to 320 Ark citizens for the extra two months of air needed to fix the problem.

See Also[]