Category Archives: extinct species

Biodiversity challenge – Adzebill

The final cut

Mini moa
Lookalikes,
Gone with Gondwanaland.
Zealandia expands,
Contracts.
A continent divides;
Man conquers,
Multiplies,
Subtracts
From North and South
The axe-beaked islanders.
Sum total:
Minus two,
Remainder none.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2015.

Biodiversity challenge – Round Island burrowing boa

Round number

Report from Round Island,
North of Mauritius:
Burrowing boa
Numbers in free fall,
Plummeting lower
No hope at all.

Round Island update,
Strangely propitious:
Burrowing boa
No longer declining.
For every extinction
A silver lining.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Species profile: Round Island burrowing boa 

IUCN Red List Category: Extinct

Last recorded in 1975, the Round Island burrowing boa declined rapidly following the introduction of rabbits and goats, which consumed the native vegetation, resulting in widespread soil erosion and degradation of its palm forest habitat.

Biodiversity challenge – Kouprey

The Ex Ox Factor

How now,
Khmer cow?
Woeful lack of kouprey data,
Short supply of oxy gen.
Never seen
Since 1988;
May mean
We’re too late
You have breathed your last
Already.

Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust;
Sixties symbol of a nation
Turned to rust.
Ox dies Asian:
Rearrange those words.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014

Biodiversity challenge – Passenger pigeon

Pigeon posts (An American trilogy)

Martha’s graveyard

The passing of the passenger pigeon
Should bother us
Passenger-PigeonMore than just a smidgen.
Once we had billions
Now we have none,
One minute everywhere
Next minute gone.
Where are the flocks
That blackened the sky?
Dove on the rocks
In the blink of an eye.
Swarming like locusts
Till everyone focused
On hunting wild pigeon,
The latest religion.
The right to bear arms
In the land of the free;
The right to embark
On a killing spree;
The pursuit of happiness,
Me, me, me.

220px-PassengerpigeonCentenary

1914.
Dying embers of a dynasty
That few can still remember.
The lamps are going out
All over America;
We shall not see them lit again
In anyone’s lifetime.
Total eclipse,
Man-made apocalypse.
Dumb Martha’s martyrdom,
Symbol of atrocities committed
And to come.

Driven to extinction

flock-passenger-pigeonNews flash:
Catastrophic population crash,
Reports of fatal multiple collisions
Between passengers and people.
Bodies piling up,
Survival prospects
Vanishingly slim.
In no position to recover,
Life support withdrawn,
A dying breath, flatline.
Another far-from-accidental death,
Victim of intensive carelessness.
ppReckless, feckless humans
In the evolutionary
Driving seat;
Foot to the floor,
More, more, more,
Hundred miles an hour
Down a dead-end street.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Biodiversity challenge – Bastard gumwood

St Helena cliffhanger

Desolate survivor,
Left for dead;
Sad bastard
Hanging by a solitary thread
In less than splendid isolation,
Clinging to a crevice
On your blighted mid-Atlantic microdot,
Last bastion of so much doomed diversity.

Vanishingly rare,
Saddled
With that unappealing
Nom de guerre,
You must be feeling
Utterly alone,
Abandoned, exiled
À la Bonaparte,
Grown apart
From all your tree companions.

Some would say
The gumwood’s had its day;
We should just let the dying bastard
Fade away.
Not without a fight.

Not tonight.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Biodiversity challenge – O-o

Not enough ado about o-o

Double o
Distress call:
Harassed in Hawaii,
Cornered in Kauai.
Black rat invaders
With licence to kill;
Thirsty mosquitoes
Drinking their fill;
Unwelcome spectres,
Vectors of disease,
Disappearing trees,
Death by degrees.

Cover blown.
Status unknown.
This bird has flown.
Last spied alive
Late ’85.
O-o
Down to zero;
Missing,
Presumed dead.
Are you reading me?
Over.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.