Tag Archives: hunting

Biodiversity challenge – Umbrellabird

Canopy slyness

Rainforest quiz:
Is there a way of staying dry?
How do you solve
The daily downpour problem?
Here’s a thought:
Why not evolve
To sport a built-in brolly?
Golly, well I never.
Jolly clever.
Wattle they think of next?

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2015

Species profile: Umbrellabird

IUCN Red List: Endangered

Umbrellabirds live in the rainforests of Central and South America. They are among the largest passerines (perching birds) in the world. Distinctive features include their almost totally black plumage, a conspicuous, umbrella-like crest on their crown, and an inflatable wattle on their neck, which amplifies their booming calls when the males gather at ‘leks’ to attract a mate. The long-wattled umbrellabird is endemic to the Chocó rainforest along the western slopes of the Andes in Colombia and Ecuador. The bare-necked umbrellabird, which has a bright-red throat pouch and wattle, is restricted to Costa Rica and western Panama. Both these species are threatened by deforestation, habitat conversion, and hunting to supply the caged bird trade.

Biodiversity challenge – Yellow-cheeked gibbon

Street sorrow

Never-to-be king of the treetop swingers,
Languishing under a plastic canopy,
Sheltering from the sweltering sun
In this urban jungle.

Yellow-cheeked gibbon by Dao Van Hoang https://www.behance.net/daovanhoang

Yellow-cheeked gibbon by Dao Van Hoang
https://www.behance.net/daovanhoang

Wrenched from the mortal
Maternal embrace of
A mum who fell to earth.
Untimely plucked
From the place of my birth
By lawless long arms.

Chained by the neck to
This concrete throne.
Exiled on main street,
A long way from home,
No escape.

Ape’s inhumanity to ape:
What right do you have to dictate
Another primate’s fate;
To ordain whether I should
Fade away, or brachiate?

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014

Biodiversity challenge – Cat Ba langur

Bay window of opportunity

Cat Ba langur by Dao Van Hoang https://www.behance.net/daovanhoang

Fewer than five dozen
Not-so-distant cousins.
Fifty-nine steps
Down to
Golden silence.
No relief
From loggers, poachers,
Habitat encroachers.
How to keep them all at bay?
No way.
Beyond belief
To turn a primate into paste;
It boils down to a tragic waste.
They won’t be
Safe from harm
Until the long arm
Of the monkey balm brigade
Is cut off in its prime.
So where’s the punishment
To fit the crime?
Running out of time
To stop the hunters
And their punters.
How long left
Before Ha Long’s bereft?
Can Cat Ba’s
Langur
Linger
Longer?

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014

Species profile: Cat Ba langur

IUCN Red List Category: Critically Endangered

The Cat Ba or golden-headed langur is one of the world’s most endangered primates, confined to a single island in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay. This spectacular leaf-eating monkey has almost been wiped out by a combination of poaching and destruction or degradation of its forest habitat. It is hunted not for its meat, which is considered unappetising, but for use in traditional medicine, where its body is boiled down and turned into cao khi (monkey balm), which is claimed to have soothing properties. The population had crashed from several thousand to just 53 individuals before the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project began in 2000. Since then, poaching has been almost non-existent and numbers have increased to an estimated 59, but low reproductive rates and the dangers of inbreeding mean that the future of the species remains in the balance.

Biodiversity challenge – Trinidad piping guan

Guan tomorrow?

If less is more
We have excess of this
Declining frugivore,
Red-listed, red-legged
Blue-faced piper
At the gates of dusk.
Demi-gone denizen
Of montane slopes,
A fading grace,
Hopes shrinking
Faster than your forest,
Sinking without trace
Beneath the race
For timber, land
And pot roast.
Not yet wholly ghost,
But close.
Going, going, guan.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014

Species profile: Trinidad piping guan

IUCN Red List Category: Critically Endangered

As its name implies, the Trinidad piping guan is endemic to that particular island. Formerly widespread, it is now restricted to a single area in the mountainous north-east. The pawi, as it is known locally, has very distinctive markings including white wing patches, red legs and blue dewlap and cere. It feeds on fruit and seeds, foraging in the cool of the evening. Although protected by law, it is in grave danger of extinction due to illegal hunting and habitat loss.

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 – 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.