A – Z Haiku of Endangered Species

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Firstly, Shana Tova to all celebrating Rosh Hashana today! Now, hold onto the basket, while I pump some more air into this balloon, then we’ll launch into this week’s Around the World in 50 Weeks journey. Are you ready? Today we visit the great Lakes, Western Australia and North Carolina for some endearing, nearly lost species in need of our protection. P – R are our haiku letters today.

Cape Romain Piping Plovers

Piping Plover pair –

Chick caregivers, Mom and Dad

Prancing on shore shells.

Piping plovers breed only in North America in three geographic regions: the Atlantic Coast, the Northern Great Plains, and the Great Lakes. Atlantic Coast plovers nest on coastal beaches, sand flats at the ends of sand spits and barrier islands, gently sloped dunes and sparsely vegetated dunes. Both the male and female incubate the eggs and feed the young.

Piping plover populations were federally listed as threatened and endangered in 1986. The Northern Great Plains and Atlantic Coast populations are threatened, and the Great Lakes population is endangered.

It is particularly their winter breeding habitat, which is under threat. In recent decades, piping plover populations have drastically declined, especially in the Great Lakes. Breeding habitat has been replaced with shoreline development and recreation. Availability of quality foraging and roosting habitat in the wintering grounds is necessary in order to ensure that an adequate number of adults survive to migrate back to breeding sites and successfully nest.

For more information, visit: plover.fws.gov.

Quokka on Rotnest Island

Quokka, friend to all.

A mini marsupial

deserves his homeland.

The short tailed wallaby or quokka, was one of the first Australian mammals seen by Europeans. The Dutch mariner Samuel Volckertzoon wrote of sighting “a wild cat” on Rottnest Island in 1658. They live in Western Australia around Perth, where there are a number of small scattered populations on the mainland, one large population on Rottnest Island and a smaller population on Bald Island. The islands are cat and fox-free.

Although numerous on the small islands, it has a very restricted range and the quokka is classified as vulnerable. On the mainland, where it is threatened most by introduced predatory species such as foxes, it requires dense ground cover for refuge. Agricultural development has reduced this habitat, and has thus contributed to the decline of the species. Cats and dogs, as well as dingoes, all non-indigenous species, have added to the problem, as have the clearing and burning of the remaining swamplands.

Amazing Fact: Quokkas recycle a small amount of their bodily waste.

Red Wolf- Critically endangered

Red Wolf, tawny, slight.

Almost a no, never more; 

restored to his  niche.

The red wolf was declared extinct in the wild in 1980 after the last known wild wolves were captured and taken out of the wild to begin a captive breeding program. There are now an estimated 200 individuals found in North Carolina and other areas where they have been reintroduced. The red wolf is slightly smaller than its relative, the gray wolf, its build is more slender, and its head more elongated. Its coat is tawny red with some gray and black areas. Its back tends to be darker in color and its tail has a black tip.

Red wolves once lived in a variety of habitats, including swamps, forests, wetlands, bushlands, and even agricultural lands with enough forest cover. They hunted rodents, deer, and other small mammals like raccoons and rabbits. Red wolves are nocturnal and prefer to live in packs consisting of the mating pair and their offspring.

The red wolf species was nearly wiped out because of human population growth, hunting, and the clearing of forest, eliminating much of its habitat. Red wolves preyed upon livestock, and many were killed by farmers and ranchers. Reintroduced populations are said to be growing and thriving, as most wolves that are recaptured and tested are said to be healthy.

Red Wolf – Animal Diversity Web

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30 Responses to A – Z Haiku of Endangered Species

  1. I have seen the Piper. I find it interesting that in many cases man is the reason for the decline of certain species. I know this has always been true, but so sad — all in the name of development. Nice informative post today.

    • Joanna says:

      It is true that is predominantly the activity of humans which endangers directly or indirectly, the lives of these species, Pat. One encouraging thought is that we are raising a generation that are more aware and active in conservation.

  2. Thank you again for these posts, heightening awareness and adding to the beauty of the animal with your poetry at the same time. Although I haven’t seen piping plovers in person, they are one species that I am aware of — the quokka was a new one to me. That’s one of the delights of this series, learning about new species. Thank you! May our world somehow learn that we must work harder to preserve these creatures.

  3. Whoever named the plover was in awe – got ‘love’ right in the middle! I know I’ve heard them, and seen them among the broken shells on the shore. Thanks for letting us know more than that about them, for introducing me to another marsupial (another Q too!), and gladdening me with the knowledge that some Red Wolf populations are thriving.

  4. Joanna says:

    This poor wolf does look rather hungry, though, doesn’t he, Julie? Plovers are indeed very loving birds, where both parents take equal care of eggs and chicks – sweet!

  5. Those piping plovers are so cute and what a cute name too. I’m not sure about re-introducing wolves though, yikes! Like the haikus, Joanna. This is such a neat feature.

  6. These are all wonderful as always, Joanna! My daughter’s school has a zoo, and they have red wolves, and last May they had a litter of 6 pups! SO CUTE! It has made the parents a little unpredictable, though, so right now only the professional zoo staff can go anywhere near them, and they do it with walkie-talkies in case of trouble!

  7. The quokka just came up in conversation in our house. It was out of nowhere since nobody is studying letter “Q” yet. I told the kids we’d look up information and totally forgot. Thanks for this! You’ve just saved me some research.

  8. There is just something about wolves that attract me so – the danger, perhaps? their sly, cunning, deliciously-deceptive nature? This red wolf here just looks gorgeous! I’m glad you joined Poetry Friday this week, dearest Joanna.

    BTW, your header looks FABulous!

  9. Laura Shovan says:

    That quokka is adorable. Thanks for all of the animal info and welcome to Poetry Friday. I am featuring haiku today also. Great minds…!

  10. clarbojahn says:

    Your Haikus are a cute way to introduce us to these endangered animals, Joanna. I love your photos as well. The one of the Plovers make me wish I were back at the beach and though I’d love to say I saw them this past time I’m not really sure.

    Thanks for sharing this post. 🙂

  11. Iza Trapani says:

    Joanna, what lovely verses and so wonderful of you to spread the word about these wonderful animals. I never hear of a Quokka either. Such a fun word and an adorable creature 🙂

  12. Tara says:

    I love the visual of plovers “prancing on shore shells.” I’ve spent many a beach day in Maine and Cape Cod watching them do exactly that!

  13. Matt Forrest says:

    Great concept for a series of haikus! Even we aduts get to learn something new! (now if you’ll excuse me, I need to look up the word ‘quokka’!)

  14. Looks like that quokka is a hit! This is SUCH a great idea for a poetry collection, Joanna. Will we see it in print one day? 🙂

  15. Welcome to Poetry Friday! What a great concept–ABC haikus on endangered animals. Very tight! I really like “Almost a no.” Full of poignancy but also celebration!

  16. Joanna says:

    Thank you, Laura, and it is thanks to Renée’s prompting that I joined in this week!

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