Tag Archives: extinction

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 – 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 – Cave squeaker

1962: Bittersweet sixteen

Amphibian freak
Playing hide and seek
On a mountain peak
In Mozambique.
Cave-dwelling clique
Oozing frog mystique,
On a losing streak
Up troglodyte creek.
Signal weak,
Prognosis bleak.
No audible squeak,
Just a silent shriek.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Species profile: Cave squeaker

IUCN Red List Category: Critically Endangered

The only record of the cave squeaker is from 1962, when 16 frogs were collected from caves and sinkholes high in the Chimanimani Mountains on the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Virtually nothing is known about the behaviour of this mysterious and elusive species or how it has adapted to its cave habitat. Other squeaker frog species undergo a complete metamorphosis from embryo to froglet without leaving the eggs, which are laid out of water in a damp location. In over 50 years of searching, scientists have failed to find a single cave squeaker, but the frog is small, inconspicuous and clearly very rare, so some hope of relocating it still remains. As a montane species, its long-term survival could be jeopardised by climate change.

Biodiversity challenge – Vaquita

Net loss

 

Fishermen caught in the poverty trap,
Porpoises stuck in the middle.

Vaquitas by Chloe Waterfield

Vaquitas by Chloe Waterfield http://www.facebook.com/canidaeart

Sea of Cortez,
Gill nets unfurled.
What a killer.
Lost to this world,
Like so much fishnet
Stocking filler,
One more vaquita
Vacates the Vermilion.

Action stations
For our rarest cetaceans.
No more accidental death,
Time to start saving, not drowning.
Don’t hold your breath.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Species profile: Vaquita

IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered

One of seven true porpoise species, the vaquita is the world’s smallest and most endangered cetacean. It has striking facial markings reminiscent of dark eyeliner and black lipstick, as though it were wearing ‘goth’ make-up. This rare and elusive species was only discovered in 1958. Its one remaining population, believed to comprise fewer than 100 individuals, is confined to a tiny area in the extreme north of Mexico’s Gulf of California. Vaquitas were never abundant, but in recent decades numbers have plummeted as more and more porpoises drown after being trapped in the virtually invisible gill nets set to catch fish and shrimp. More info

Biodiversity challenge – Iberian lynx

Missing lynx

Who trashed the habitat?
Who squashed the rabbit hat?
Who smashed the thermostat?
Who signed the exeat?
Where’s the world’s rarest cat?

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Species profile: Iberian lynx

IUCN Red List Category: Critically Endangered

There may be as few as 170 Iberian lynx surviving in the wild, confined to two isolated and shrinking breeding populations in the Andalucia region of southern Spain. The devastation of its traditional Mediterranean scrubland (maquis) habitat due to infrastructure development and the expansion of agriculture and commercial forestry, combined with a scarcity of rabbits, its chief prey, caused by disease and the insidious effects of climate change, have brought the species perilously close to the exit door. Illegal hunting, accidental poisoning and road fatalities are also taking their toll on the remaining population. More info

Biodiversity challenge – Echo parakeet

Say again, not over

A rare parrot found only
On the island of Mauritius
Has made a remarkable recovery
And is off the critical list.
The echo parakeet
Was down to just
A handful of birds
At one stage before
Bouncing back from
The brink of extinction.
This represents,
It is worth repeating,
Nothing short of a
Spectacular comeback
Spectacular comeback
Spectacular comeback.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.