Tag Archives: evolution

Biodiversity challenge – Mangrove finch

Swamped

Darwin’s darling,
One foot
In the tomb.
The famous finch
One inch
From doom.
Oppressed by
Uninvited guests,
One hundred
Beaks unique
To Isabela’s
Salty womb
Hunker down
Inside their
Hundred hectare
Panic room.
A wing,
A prayer,
One square
Kilometre of light
Amid the gloom.
One final fling:
Bring on the
Baby boom.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2015

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Life support withdrawn,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 – Kha-nyou

Not squirrel kin

Eleven million years extinct,
Then resurrected
On a market stall
In Laos;
Not squirrel,
Rat or mouse,
But unconnected,
Evolutionarily distinct;
Unique,
A living fossil,
Sole surviving
Member of a clique
First founded
Two score million years ago
Or more,
Surrounded
By a sea of strangers;
Cast adrift,
A rodent race apart
Upon your running wheel
For one;
Can you imagine
How alone you’d feel?
Well, kha-nyou?

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Species profile: Kha-nyou

IUCN Red List Category: Endangered

Discovered by scientists visiting a market in Laos in 2005, the kha-nyou, or Laotian rock rat, is an example of a living fossil. The sole surviving member of an ancient group of rodents thought to have gone extinct some 11 million years ago, the kha-nyou is like no other species of mammal, having separated from its closest living relatives 44 million years ago. Its bizarre combination of features – long snout, small ears and bushy tail – have earned it the nickname ‘rat-squirrel’. Known only from a single area of limestone karst in Laos, the kha-nyou is threatened by hunting and habitat loss.