A – Z Endangered Species Haikus

Hop into the air balloon and join me in this Monday’s Around the World in 50 weeks, continuing our haiku series with M – O. Today’s Haikus are about three animals with which I suspect you are unfamiliar, unless you’re Nevadan, a deer devotee or possibly a serious scuba diver! Wherever you are living in the world, there are plant and animal species in your backyard that are threatened with extinction and while there are many wonderful conservation and protection projects out there, we still have much to do to conserve our beautiful inheritance. I hope today’s haikus and facts will inspire you to treasure what we have.

wikicommons file Marsh Deer

Marsh deer browse in swamps,

blending into reeds and grass –

stealing dawn and dusk.

The marsh deer was once found in several South American countries, but is now only found in small areas of Peru, Argentina but mostly in southern Brazil, Uruguay and Patagonia. The species decreased in numbers so much that in 1996 it was placed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN list, where it has remained.

Part of the reason the marsh deer is such a vulnerable species is due to its size. It is the largest deer species in South America and a tempting source of meat for the growing human population. This has made humans the current main predator for the marsh deer.

Marsh deer are trying to adapt to the vast changes in their natural habitat. Although deer are most active at dawn and dusk some herds of marsh deer are reported as now only active at night. Some herds are also moving to more mountainous ranges where people tend not to go. 

 

Devil's Hole Pupfish

Nevada Pupfish

skit from sunrise to sunset

in warm thermal springs.

The Nevada pupfish is found in the Ash Meadows region, a small area of wetlands in the Mojave Desert northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. Two of its three remaining subspecies are endangered, the Ash Meadows pupfish found in ten spring areas within Ash Meadows, and the Warm Springs pupfish found in only six springs at a slightly higher elevation and west of Devil’s Hole.

These fish are threatened mainly by habitat destruction due to agricultural development resulting in lower water levels. These disturbances have already caused the extinction of the Tacopa pupfish. The Ash Meadows pupfish also suffers from predation by two non indigenous species introduced into the pools, the crayfish and the bullfrog, and this may result in extinction in the future.  In May 2009, the National Park Service announced that the latest count of Devils Hole pupfish ranged from 56 to 83, with an average of 70. While this population is well below the genetic viability limit of 200 pupfish (estimated by fish biologists), it is an improvement of the 2008 average of only 45 pupfish. These populations remain critical danger despite the fact that much of the remaining habitat of both species is now protected and designated as “critical habitat,” and captive breeding programs have been implemented.

Open Brain Coral - wikimedia

Open brain coral

extend stinging tentacles

for nighttime munchies.

While brain corals look like colorful ocean-floor plants, they are actually animals. Colonies of polyps secreting a hard skeleton of calcium carbonate create the brain coral, which can live for hundreds of years.

Brain corals are considered threatened species in many parts of the world because of the increase in pollution from growing beach communities and other sources. Contaminated water can kill brain coral. Threats to coral health also include damage from divers or people fishing and from people collecting coral for use in aquariums or as souvenirs. In 1996, unusually high water temperatures in the Caribbean Sea and disease caused the worst coral death ever recorded. Scientists reported that up to one-third of the coral had died. The worsening state of reefs worldwide and increasing frequency of large-scale coral bleaching is due to ocean acidification , changing sea levels and other threats. Open Brain Coral is one of many corals worldwide that are in danger.

MARSH DEER

NEVADA PUPFISH

OPEN BRAIN CORAL


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18 Responses to A – Z Endangered Species Haikus

  1. This is a wonderful series, Joanna. I love the combination of the haiku and animal facts. The Open Brain Coral looks almost alien.

  2. Agree, I like how you showcase endangered animals, along with important information and your wonderful haikus. The Marsh deer look smaller. And, I never saw the Open Brain Coral before. Beautiful!!

  3. Wonderful poetry, wonderful insights, frightening statistics. Thank you, as always, for this series. The pupfish is such a beautiful color…

  4. Joanna says:

    Thank you, Beth. The pupfish and coral do show how vibrant some of nature’s colors can be.

  5. Melissa says:

    I love these posts…so beautiful and informative and lovely. Food for the soul and senses!

  6. I look forward to your beautiful haikus and learning about endangered animals every week, Joanna. That marsh deer is lovely… I hope they’ll survive.

  7. Cathy Mealey says:

    Kids love to rally around the conservation of endangered species, so I wouldn’t worry about being too serious! Your haiku are lovely – I liked ‘skit’ and ‘munchies’ – great words!

    • Joanna says:

      Thank you, Cathy. Kids these days have some pretty good awareness about endangered animals from an early age, which is great. It is the haikus that take me the most time to write! Oh, and deciding which of the long list of vulnerable species to choose!

  8. I look forward to these every Monday! Thanks Joanna.

  9. Joanna says:

    Thank you, Kirsten.

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