Tag Archives: conservation

1726. A lesson to us all

Edward had a pet penguin. It was highly illegal. This particular species of penguin was a protected species; having one as a pet was inconceivable.

But it was not as if Edward had captured the penguin and kept it in a cage. No, the penguin had chosen Edward. One day he was sitting on the pier fishing when up popped the penguin and sat next to him. At first Edward was rather taken by it all, but then the penguin followed him home and settled in. It was a Little Blue Penguin, the smallest species of all penguins. It made a lot of noise!

Each day the penguin waddled on its own down to the wharf, dived into the sea, and fossicked for its own food. It was the cheapest pet to keep that Edward ever had. Only once did it fail to return, but after a day there it was again sitting in its own special armchair on the porch as if nothing had happened.

Edward didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl but he called it Penny anyway – Penny the Penguin. And then the government’s Department of Conservation heard about it. They came and took the penguin away and it died. Edward was taken to court and fined a hefty sum for keeping a protected species. As the judge said, Let that be a lesson to us all.

954. African Dung Beetle

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What a furore! It was in all the papers. Farmers wanted to introduce the African Dung Beetle to the country.

“There’s too much cow shit lying about,” said Farmer Harry. “It can’t decompose fast enough. The cow poo needs a helping hand, and the African Dung Beetle is just what the doctor ordered. It’s just the ticket. It’s almost too good to be true.”

The members of Gaea, the Mother Earth Society, were up in arms.

“The introduction of a foreign species will cause irreparable harm to the balance of the environment. For starters, it will increase the amount of methane floating into the stratosphere.”

The Government intervened. They set up a Commission to investigate the pros and cons of introducing the African Dung Beetle. Farmer Harry was appointed chairperson.

“Farmer Harry is a farmer,” protested Gaea, the Mother Earth Society. “He is in favour of the introduction of the African Dung Beetle. There’s no chance in hell he could be objective.”

So the Government appointed Ms Brasilia Bojovic-Hogwood to be the chairperson of the Commission. She was the Founding President of Gaea, the Mother Earth Society.

Gaea, the Mother Earth Society’s members were delighted.

“At last!” they said, “some objectivity can be brought into the discussion.”