Around the world in fifty weeks aboard our hot air balloon is air-bound as we speak. S – U haiku will transport you today to the Pacific ocean, the asian continent and the woodlands of Europe, to pique our conservational concern.
Steller sea-lion bulls
grumbling, growling vocal play,
diving, dipping down.
The Steller sea-lion is the largest of all seals and sea-lions and they have an appetite to match. When they age, the males have long coarse hair, which resembles the mane of African and Asian lions, giving them their name. These big bulls are three times the size of the females.
These giant pinnipeds hunt pollock, flounder, squid, octopus and, rarely, smaller seals. They are found off northern Pacific coasts from Japan to California.
?Steller sea-lions are both land and sea creatures, and they prefer colder waters. When not in the water, adults can mostly be found on rock shelves, ledges and sand beaches where they gather to breed and give birth.
Steller sea-lion numbers have declined because of accidental capture in fishnets, loss of food source to fishermen, and hunting. Some are shot each year by fishermen who consider them competition or pests to the fishing industry. This species is now legally protected by the United States, and intentional killing of any Steller sea-lion is prohibited.
Tiger’s throaty roar
warns prey to stay far away.
Feline night hunter.
Tigers are the largest members of the cat family and are renowned for their power and strength.
There were eight tiger subspecies at one time, but three became extinct during the 20th century. Over the last 100 years, hunting and forest destruction have reduced tiger populations from hundreds of thousands of animals to perhaps fewer than 2,500. Tigers are hunted as trophies, and also for body parts that are used in traditional Chinese medicine. All five remaining tiger subspecies are endangered, and many protection programs are in place.
They are powerful nocturnal hunters that travel many miles to find buffalo, deer, wild pigs, and other large mammals. Tigers use their distinctive coats as camouflage (no two have exactly the same stripes). Despite their fearsome reputation, most tigers avoid humans; however, a few do become dangerous man-eaters. These animals are often sick and unable to hunt normally, or live in an area where their traditional prey has vanished.
Unicorn – child’s play.
Silver pale, so fleet and gay.
Old magic alive.
The unicorn is a European animal that resembles a white horse with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead, and sometimes a goat’s beard and cloven hooves. The first sightings were mentioned in natural history books of the ancient Greeks. This elegant animal was loved in Medieval and Renaissance times when it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a pure maiden. Its horn is said to have the power to render poisoned water drinkable and to heal sickness.
This animal thrived in its woodland habitat well into the19th century. Unicorns were often spotted by historians, alchemists, writers, poets, naturalists, physicians, theologians, and, of course, young children. They are gentle, shy creatures and need approaching with belief and a magical mindset.
Sadly in the 21st century sightings have become very rare indeed, and the unicorn is now on the critically endangered list. Main threats have been the habitat destruction through the crushing of creativity in peformence-driven education. Great present-day unicorn conservationists include authors such as, Bruce Coville, Kathleen Duey and Jane Yolen.