A – Z Endangered Animal Haiku

Well, my fellow travel companions, our haiku endangered species journey is coming to an end. Today we land in West Africa and then travel far, far away to the southern hemisphere, and the island of New Zealand. Y and have something very unusual in common. See if you can spot it.

Yellow Eyed Penguin.

Large flightless southern diver.

Pink-footed Hoiho!

Penguins are one of the most ancient families of birds. They have been on earth for 60 million years. These flightless birds have short, stubby flippers, dense waterproof feathers and a sleek, streamlined shape, making them well adapted for swimming in the cold sub-Antarctic and Antarctic seas where most species of penguin live.

The yellow-eyed penguin or hoiho, is the fourth largest penguin in the world and grows up to 65 cm tall and weigh 5 to 6 kg. The name hoiho is Maori for “noise shouter” because its piercing calls can be heard over the crashing waves. Its scientific name Megadyptes antipodes means “large southern diver”. It has a yellow bright yellow stripe that goes around its eye and around the back of the head. It also has bright pink feet!??Hoiho are endemic to New Zealand and are a threatened species. They are only found around the south-east of the South Island, on Stewart Island, Auckland island and Campbell island.

In the last 50 years many trees in the forest are have been cut down on the New Zealand coast. This has reduced their habitat and forced them into nesting in tall grasses.  There have been many new predators introduced also, such as cats dogs and ferrets. It is estimated there are only 1500 breeding pairs left in the world. This is the rarest of all the penguins.

Zebra Duiker dives

into undergrowth to flee.

 Striped, horned and fruity.

The Zebra Duiker is named for the 12 to 15 black bands that, like a zebra, stretch down its back. It is a diminutive antelope with a short, stocky body. Its coat colour varies from light gold to a reddish-brown, with a pale cream underside. Another distinctive feature is the lack of a tuft on the forehead, which most other duiker species possess. Both males and females grow short, tapering horns which are used to defend their territory, and although females are generally larger than the males, the male possesses longer horns. The name ‘duiker’ is the Afrikaans word for ‘diver’ or ‘diving buck’ and refers to the flight of the antelope into the undergrowth when disturbed. The diet of the this duiker consists primarily of fruit, alongside a variety of leaves, buds, shoots and grasses. Often unable to reach fruit in the trees, the small zebra duiker instead takes advantage of fruit dropped onto the forest floor by other animals that feed in the trees. The skull of the zebra duiker has a hard frontal bone, which it uses to crack apart hard-to-open fruits.

The zebra duiker is most common in eastern-central Liberia, although it also occurs throughout Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast. They are very sensitive to habitat destruction and prefer to live in areas that have not been disturbed by deforestation, their main threat. The IUCN site states that over the last 15 years, the little antelope’s population has fallen as much as 30 %.

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13 Responses to A – Z Endangered Animal Haiku

  1. Interesting read Joanna. These penquins live off our South Island coast below Dunedin and can be seen at certain times when the sun goes down. There have been attempts at fencing off areas to protect them. Loved your animal Haiku, have learnt so much… thankyou!

    • Joanna says:

      Diane, I was thinking you would know these penguins! Thanks for the additional preservation information. I love their eyes and feet color!

  2. A pair of divers is a great way to end the series. My sons and I have enjoyed your haiku and I’m looking forward to what comes next!

  3. Diverse divers, a great way to end the series. Love the pink feet on the penguin and the striped pants on the Duiker! Thank you for introducing us to so many wonderful creatures through this series, and to their plight.

    I’m sorry to see this series come to an end. It has been valuable, educational, and delightful. Thank you, Joanna!

  4. Sorry to see the series end. I’ve learned about endangered species I didn’t know existed. Important and educational. Never saw a penguin with pink feet or a Duiker that is in the zebra family. The Duiker also reminds me of a deer. Also enjoyed your haiku and look forward to what you will share next.

    • Joanna says:

      Yes, Pat, I too thought the Duiker had deer-like qualities, but it is part of the antelope family, thus quite different from the deer genus. It isn’t related to the zebra, but gets its name from the similar striped markings!

  5. Cathy Mealey says:

    Wait – what? This is over? More, more!

    Great concept – very fun – beautiful haiku.

  6. Hannah Holt says:

    Fantastic end to a great series. I’ve enjoyed your endangered animal poems so much!

  7. Joanna says:

    Aw, thanks, Hannah!

  8. Love the penguin’s pink feet, and how sweet is that little antelope? I’m sad that your haiku series has come to an end 🙁 but thoroughly enjoyed it and still think you should send it to publishers! 🙂

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