Tag Archives: wildlife

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 – Sidewinder

Horny rattlesnake

How handy that the female sidewinder
Leaves a sandy trail behind her,
A telltale Braille reminder
Imprinted in her wake,
So a randy male won’t fail to find her
Even if he is blinder
Than a desert blind snake.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Biodiversity challenge – Archerfish

Shoot from the lip

High and dry spider
Soon to be supper,
Oblivious to the banded bowman,
The artful dislodger.
Lurking in the murky water
Underneath, the archer
Plots aquatic ambush:
Spitting distance;
Angle of refraction;
Up a fraction;
Action!
Cue the liquid thunderbolt,
The lightning flèche.
Target skewered,
Stupefied and swallowed;
Downed in one,
And down in one.
Gobbing, gobbling, gone;
The inscrutable archerfish
Shoots, eats and leaves.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Biodiversity challenge – Socorro dove

High coo

Sad Socorro dove
Softly murmuring above
Lofty words of love.

© Tim Knight and timknightwriter, 2014.

Species profile: Socorro dove

IUCN Red List Category: Extinct in the wild

Named after the remote offshore Mexican island where it used to live, the Socorro dove became extinct in the wild in the 1970s . Having evolved on an island with no natural predators, this tame, confiding, ground-feeding dove was extremely vulnerable to the invasive rats and domestic cats that had been accidentally or deliberately introduced to Socorro by humans. Overgrazing by feral sheep and goats and foliage damage caused by locust infestations also destroyed much of the native forest vegetation on which the dove depended for survival. A worldwide captive breeding programme has saved the Socorro dove from extinction, but it cannot be reintroduced to the island until the non-native species have been removed or eradicated and the native vegetation restored.