Monday, 5 May 2008

Planet Earth 2020

In this derelict valley
where old satellite photos show
there were once forests and fertile plains
farmers scratch a poor living
and hide from packs of rabid dogs.

Vultures once cleaned up the dead
animals that now pile
across the land. The last vultures
died years ago, staggering and deformed
poisoned by banned drugs.

The aliens behind their invisibility shields
telemessage back to their planet
"Mostly stupid"
turn through the wormhole
home.


Population of white backed vulture in northern India in 1990s - 30
million
Population of white backed vultures today - 11 000

The dramatic fall in population has been caused by use of the veterinary drug Diclofenac, which stays in the carcasses of domestic animals and is then ingested by vutures. The drug has been banned for animal use but is still available for human use and is still finding its way into the vultures. The drug Meloxicam is a vulture-safe alternative to Diclofenac. All three species of Indian vulture will probably be extinct within ten years. There is evidence that Diclofenac is now being exported to Africa.

To find out more about vultures in crisis across the world and about successful breeding programmes, visit the Vulture Rescue website. If you live within the distribution range of any vultures in Asia, you can help map their popluations, see here for details.

Science Fiction for Read Write Poem

You can read my recent scifaiku here and here.
You can read an earlier poem I wrote about vultures here.

19 comments:

Scot said...

exactly! like this one.

Brian said...

Excellent poem Crafty about a crisis that few in the West know about. If all the scavengers disappear then we are in trouble.

anthonynorth said...

Everything in nature has its place, provided they don't rise above themselves - like us.
Stupid indeed.

Linda said...

I love how you paint these warnings in simple words that pack a wallop!

gautami tripathy said...

We need more people like you.

Great post!

clawing crawlies

polkadotwitch said...

wow. so many hazards we know nothing about. thanks for reminding us that the stuff we inject/ingest stays in us and around us. oy.

Julia Smith said...

'across the land. The last vultures
died years ago, staggering and deformed'

Those lines are really powerful. Figures there's a vulture-safe alternative not being used.

polona said...

there is no end to human greed and stupidity...
a wonderful poignant reminder of the fact...

Cassandra said...

Bravo! The picture you paint is grim, but true.

christine said...

Even the aliens didn't want us. Sigh.

I bet you're the only poet on the planet to write a poem about these poor vultures. Well done!

Janice Thomson said...

Excellent post Juliet. We need these reminders frequently. You write about it so well - those last lines really packed a punch.
Your other vulture poem was also well done.
If man would learn more respect, compassion and regard for nature he would have more respect for other humans as well as himself.

Selma said...

Sometimes it is soul-destroying to consider what we are doing to all of our birds and animals. I had no idea.

Billy said...

Great post, Juliet!

Pam said...

Really nice. I love the image of the aliens turning around and going home. I guess we messed it up so bad, there was no way to ever rehab earth,

one more believer said...

in this delelict valley... dang, knew it couldnt be good... painful read as one human being to another... it's all abt an educated public.. it reminds me of the black crows and how they are so susceptible to the west nile virus.. dying in numbers... thaz how the powers that be track west nile virus activity....

chicklegirl said...

Well on our way to what you painted here--and the mostly stupid? Already there!

artpredator said...

moving use of facts mixed with fiction and maybe it might be if ...

Larry Lawrence said...

Didn't know about all that drug usage and effects on the vultures.Start messing with the food chains and the balance gets upset. So many times the health/drug industry trades the well-being of the world for profits and greed.We're messing the planet up. Got you linked on my page.

LL
http://crownedwithlaurels.blogspot.com/

Liz at Yips and Howls said...

Very chilling look into the future. I fear it might come true. But on the upside: it makes me very happy that you wrote not just one, but two poems about Asian vultures - both very impressive. I have a real affinity for poems about animals as they really are or animals that are not usually given much coverage in poetry. Thanks for letting me know about these.