Bertram collected reptiles. (To each their own). He collected skinks, lizards, and geckos. He didn’t collect snakes, crocodiles and alligators, komodo dragons, frogs, turtles, tortoises, or tuataras. Just skinks, lizards, and geckos.
He used to breed them for sale. He also used to capture wild reptiles and export and sell them. It was illegal. You’ve no idea the clever ways he used to surreptitiously transport them! He had done it all his life and never once been caught.
Selling reptiles was so lucrative that he had built a luxurious log cabin in the wilderness that had every commodity. He certainly lived the good life thanks to those skinks and lizards and geckos. It’s amazing to think that over the years he handled twenty-seven species that are now extinct. What an amazing record! What a great privilege to have been the last on the planet to see and handle those creatures! I’m quite in awe! I asked Bertram how he felt about it but he said he didn’t have any feelings. He was in it for the money.
Winifred Seacock had devoted her life to saving the Taranaculus clivisphorum. In fact, she was given an award for her efforts by her country. “Awarded for preserving the Taranaculus clivisphorum for future generations,” said the citation. Winifred wore the medal with pride. She wore it only on formal occasions mind you; she wasn’t a show-off; she hadn’t let it go to her head.
Every day, for the last twenty-one years, Winifred had tended to the needs of the Taranaculus clivisphorum. People were amazed, naturally, at her dedication.
“There are possibly only four specimens left in the world,” said Winifred. “They should reproduce, but we simply don’t have the money.”
Donations poured in after that. A special compound was created, with the right climatic conditions.
And then, and then… it happened! Winifred was stung by the Taranaculus clivisphorum. On the finger. She had just enough time to swipe all four dead with a fly swot before she herself dropped dead from the poison.
“Take that, you ungrateful Taranaculus clivisphorums,” were her last words.
The South Island kokako was thought to be extinct. The kokako was a grey New Zealand bird. The endangered North Island kokako has bright blue wattles. The suspected extinct South Island kokako had bright orange wattles.
Elwyn was an amateur birdwatcher. He lived near the forest in the South Island. How exciting it was one day, to hear (perhaps it was, maybe it wasn’t) the call of the extinct kokako come from the trees in the forest. How even more exciting to find some fresh South Island kokako poo! If one needed proof that the bird still existed, it was in the fresh excrement. There was at least a pair. He couldn’t wait to inform the authorities of his discovery.