Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)
TITLE: The Way of the Whole Human Being
By Kim Hamlin
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If you need more proof that we haven’t been very diligent with these instructions, please let me tell you about some of my friends.
The Pinta Island Tortoise is the rarest animal in the world, because there is only one left. Lonesome George is the last member of the Pinta Island race of the Giant Galapagos. The whole species was considered extinct until 1971, when George was discovered. The Charles Darwin Research Station is still searching for a female tortoise of this species to mate with George.
The Baiji or Yangtze River Dolphin is extremely rare, a victim of competing with the Chinese for food. Deaths from entanglement in or electrocution by fishing gear, collisions with vessels, and illegal harvesting of these beautiful animals are also to blame for the decline of their range and abundance. Fishermen reports have detailed witnessing the baiji along the middle and lower Yangtze in 2006, but experts say these miraculous creatures could already be extinct.
The Vancouver Island Marmot can only be seen in the mountainous British Columbia. The population of these marmots reached an all-time low in 1998. They were also listed in the Canadian Species Risk Act in 2000. With 150 individuals in captivity and over 44 pups born in 2005, it was chalked up to a very successful year.
There are fewer than 100 Seychelles Sheath-tailed Bats in the world. They inhabit the central islands of the Seychelles Islands just north of Madagascar. Scientists are working to understand how the species behave and what we need to do to save them. They believe that 500 individual bats may be sufficient enough of a guarantee to see long-term birth rates.
The Javan Rhino are numbered at only 60, living in Indonesia and Vietnam. These great creatures, once widespread in Asia, were nearly hunted to extinction in Burma, India, Malaysia, and Sumatra by the 1930s. Its horn, believed to have medicinal uses, was the primary reason these animals were hunted. Disease and inbreeding in their small population, decreases the chances of these Javan surviving.
Abraham Lincoln said, “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights, that is the way of the whole human being!” Our animal friends should be at least more common than a blue moon.
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