Tag Archive | poetry

The Saiga Saga

Photo by Tim Flach

How can this be?

You can’t be true!

How could a beast

turn out like you?

 

Your horns are ridged

and pointy too

Your trunk-like nose

divides in two!

 

You stand at only

two feet high

A child could look you

in the eye

 

You’re kin to cow

iflscience.com

and buffalo

You live on plains

where no trees grow

 

You’re native to

Mongolia

and prone to

melancholia

 

There are so few

saigaresourcecentre.com

dear saiga left

If you were gone

we’d be bereft

 

We all should recognize

your worth

An ancient treasure

of the earth

 

The saiga is a diminutive critter about the size of a small goat with distinctive horns and a highly unusual face. It has a nose like no other; long, inflatable nostrils that appear to be a sort of double-trunk. This nose serves a very important purpose. It filters out the dust which always seems to blow about in its western Mongolian native habitat, and when temperatures drop to below zero, the spacious nose pre-warms the air before it reaches the saiga’s lungs.

It is an herbivore and eats plants; lichens, sagebrush, grasses and bushes. They are ruminants, which means that they bring partially digested plant matter back up into their mouths to chew it again. This is called “chewing their cud” and it helps them get as many nutrients and energy as possible out of the plant matter that they eat.

This critically endangered animal has suffered a series of alarming die-offs in the past few years. In one terrible year, in 2015, over 200,000 saiga dropped dead. Scientist discovered that the cause of death was a bacteria, called “Pasturella” was the cause. With normal temperatures, this bacteria, which lives in the large noses of the saiga, is not a problem, but global warming has increased temperatures in the saiga range and that has proved deadly to the poor little animal. A hot, wet climate with the presence of this bacteria causes internal toxins to form and the saiga drown in their own internal fluids. More info at: The Atlantic  and also at: blueplanetbiomes.org

While the saiga are hunted by wolves, foxes and birds of prey, like the Golden Eagle, the biggest threat to the saiga is humans and the global warming that is caused by human activity.

Hopefully, saiga populations will be able to bounce back. These animals can reproduce from a young age and a mother saiga often gives birth to twins. They are ancient critters that roamed across the earth during the Pleistocene or Ice Age period. The saiga survived while the wooly mammoth and saber-tooted tiger died out. We hope this little wonder will be around for generations to come. It is indeed an ancient treasure of the earth.

 

From theatlantic.com

 

Swimming Pinecones!

Wikimedia Commons

Pinecone Swimmer

 

Wikipedia

The perky little pinecone fish

Is such a charming fellow

Diminutive but diving deep

With scales bright and yellow

 

 

Below his sloping, fishy chin

He plays the genial host

With glowing green bacteria

Wikipedia

He’s like a deep-sea ghost

 

 

He hopes that with his tiny spines

You would not want to eat him

But with his luminescent charms

You really ought to meet him

 

 

 

From “Fishes of Australia”

–Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinecone Fishfacts:

The pinecone fish, sometimes called the pineapple fish, is a tough little deep-sea dweller that grows to about 5 inches or 13 centimeters in length. It is covered with bright yellow to orange hard scales, called scutes, that are vibrantly outlined in black accentuating its pinecone-like appearance. Its sharp spines and locking dorsal and pelvic fins discourage predators. If they attempt to swallow the swimming pinecone, they risk getting it stuck in their throat.

It prefers to live in rocky areas of the deep ocean with reefs and caves where it can hide during the day. The fish emerges at night to feed on brine shrimp, small fish and plankton that it attracts to its mouth by way of two glowing organs located on its chin. These organs house bioluminescent bacteria that glow an orange-yellow during the day and dim to a bluish-green at night. The bacteria benefits by having a host that provides it with an advantageous place to grow. The pinecone fish benefits by using the the glow to attract meals. This is called a symbiotic relationship where both organisms have something to gain from the relationship.

Ice Is Nice

 

 

 

Nice Ice

You may like this balmy weather

You might think it’s kind of nice

That the oceans are all warming

And they’re slowly losing ice

 

 

But this polar bear is worried

That the Arctic’s turned to mush

And I cannot hunt for seals

On a platform made of slush

 

 

Now I have to swim for miles

Just to find a place to hunt

I am losing so much weight now

I’m a total polar runt

 

 

Polar seals, birds and walrus

Need cold weather to survive

Even tiny arctic algae

Need the ice to stay alive

 

 

If you still need more convincing

Ask this polar bear’s advice

I would very gladly tell you

That the North Pole needs its ice

 

 

– Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud

 

 

Polar bears are in serious trouble. As global temperatures rise, the arctic ice melts and polar bears are finding it harder and harder to survive. These bears depend on polar ice for their hunting platforms. They wait by a breathing hole of a seal, and when it pops to the surface to take a breath, the polar bear snatches its dinner. Scientists who study polar bears have watched the bears lose weight and even starve to death. These beautiful, powerful creatures are becoming weak because of how we are treating our environment.

What can be done to help? Do everything in your power to save the arctic wild spaces. Sign petitions and write letters to keep polluters out of the arctic. Walk, bicycle and take public transportation to travel. Limit the number of flights that you take. Make your homes and workplace as energy efficient as possible. Polar bears are depending upon us.

Pangolin Poetry

Ode to the Pangolin

Photo by Rusian Rugoals; CC License

Photo by Rusian Rugoals; CC License

 

Oh Pangolin, dear Pangolin

Your name sings like a mandolin

Alas, I cannot play your scales

They’re hard as rock and sharp as nails

 

When threatened by a toothy beast

Intent on making you a feast

You simply stop and drop and roll

And turn into a scaly bowl

 

Dear trusty crusty Pangolin

Photo: animal world.tumblr.com

Photo: animal world.tumblr.com

With toothless mouth and tongue so thin

You lap up ants from hill and tree

Hunting for grub nocturnally

 

You hardly ever make a sound

While waddling across the ground

With tail down and front claws curled

You make your way across the world

– Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud