Sunday, 9 March 2008

Ageing alone

The last of his kind -
so long alone, another
thirty years to go.

Lonesome George is the last known individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise, one of 13 subspecies of Galápagos tortoise native to the Galápagos Islands. George is around 70 years old and can be expected to live another 30 to 70 years, probably all alone, though there are indications that there may still be another tortoise of the same subspecies or closely enough related, somewhere in the island chain. Galapagos tortoises were hunted by whalers and pirates during the 18th and 19th centuries. Non-native species such as goats introduced on some of the islands destroyed the vegetation that the tortoises eat. These factors have contributed to the reduction in numbers.

Ages for Mad Kane's Haiku Prompt

18 comments:

Mad Kane said...

So sad ... yet lovely. Thanks so much for participating in my age related prompt!

Mark said...

I saw the programme about him, he looked so sad, mind you so did all the others.
Thank you for thinking about me for the award, much appreciated.

Cheers Mark

Janice Thomson said...

Powerfully poignant Juliet.
Where man has not interfered in any way I wonder sometimes why the need is felt to preserve a species that is naturally dying out as Nature intended. In our arrogance do we feel we know more than her? Just a thought , not a condemnation.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I agree with you Janice, but the giant tortoises are dying out because early settlers hunted them. So its our fault...

Mark - he did look sad didn't he? Mind as you say giant tortoises tend to look sad...

Mad - thanks

polona said...

another sad story that needn't have been so.
thank you

sarala said...

What a sad story and poem. I hope there is a way to preserve his genetic material. I always imagine that some day cloning can be used to resurrect some lost species. Passenger Pigeon anyone?

steve said...

Yeah, poor George. If I could hug him I would. It's so sad that such an ancient and noble species is on the brink of extinction. It's infuriating even. On a positive note, have you seen the story of Owen & Mzee? Check it out when you get a chance. Great haiku btw!!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Steve - I searched for Owen and Mzee on Everyclick (the search engine that gives money to charity) and what a lovely story... Thanks for drawing my attention to them...

Sarala - I wonder whether one day cloning will be used like that, isn't there a cloned dodo in Jasper Fforde's novel The Eyre Affair?

Bill said...

last of his kind
what does he know
of loneliness

A real question, not a rhetorical one. I saw a film about him as part of an installation at MassMOCA, in Noth Adams, Massachusetts USA.

Devil Mood said...

That makes me so sad :(

noahthegreat said...

Sadness takes me.

Selma said...

I saw a doco about him and felt very sad afterwards. I find lately that I just can't bear what we're doing to our animals. As always - excellent haiku!

Tracey said...

Very sad. In Australia I was equally moved by the story of 'Harriet' who was thought to have been one of the original Galapagos Island tortoises that Charles Darwin took with him when he left the Island. She died a couple of years ago...such a beautiful old spirit and such an amazing life journey. Thanks for reminding me of her.

Tracey

Paul said...

hang in there George !!

poetry4kids said...

Thanks,
for your contribution. You are now on the contributers list on
http://worldpoetryday.wordpress.com.

Have a great day,
Milou

Christine said...

Poor guy, he doesn't even have any young ones around to see himself reflected. Growing old is hard enough, but being the only one....

Great choice of subject for your haiku.

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