Category Archives: Vanishing Species

Putting on Top of a Murunga Tree

I manage to find a two Murunga saplings and wanted to look after them till big enough and relocate them in a suitable place. I could not water them for three days and one wilted and whithered away. The other survived and started blooming prematurely. I resisted taking the flowers for a vegetable curry. I let them pollinate (which is rare with no bees around) and only one flower produced a pod.

Side by side there were two cocoa plants which germinated out of over 100 rotten seeds.
Similar fate descended one of them and I kept on watering it in spite of its stem looked like fire wood.
Murunga sapling disappeared but the stem which looked like tiny black wood after about 3 months started sprouting and few leaves appeared.
My gut feeling was correct. I thought this would happen because it is not a native plant but that comes from mid Africa.
African plants can stand adverse weather for long period of time.
Our slender plants cannot withstand adverse weather. Murunga was an example.

So my prediction is that we will lose lot of our biodiversity much more and faster than Africa loses.
Come coal power plant when operational that will aggravate the context much faster and swiftly.
I heard our energy minister thinking of a nuclear plant here.
I wish he looks at pictures of Hiroshima first and the current pictures coming from Japan.

Real reason for writing this is not for that reason.
I cannot go to sleep without a swipe at the local elections.
We have a saying in Sinhala put a man on a Murunga Branch (unfortunately not on the moon to bring rice some of them promised to bring) to mean let him eventually tumble down quickly.
I wish all the present candidates land on Murunga Branches.
Then we can see them falling off quickly with the cost of living going up by the minute.

Actually when we elect them that is what we want them to be (on a Murunga Branch) but they have devised and engineered some other methods to stay longer on the Murunga branch and unfortunately we cannot have the last laugh.

This one chance we have that we can give them a Murunga Treat and it will be a Maru or Mara (Devil) Treat.

House Sparrows, a vanishing species?

I had been looking for an answer for why our house sparrows have become a vanishing species?

I have not found any luck.

Our ornithologists and bird watchers have not done enough.

I put the question to myself and these are the emerging facts.

1. This coincided with the disappearance of the migrant bird species which I counted over 30 in 1984.

2. Last 5 years I have not seen more than five species coming to our neighbourhood.

3. The last species who lost the habitat due to development was a type of robin who makes nests in the paddy fields. I call them the paddy birds and dearly as the last of the singing Bohemians. Once they lost the paddy field they started nesting on grass and when the remaining little waste land (now there is a three story building there) was encroached upon they disappeared. Till then I used to see at least 4 to 6 of the young ones yearly.

4. The house sparrows are more close to human habitat but they disappeared some 20 years ago.

Why?

That was my question.

I have seen one or two sparrows in Kandy City Center occasionally but none in the suburbs.

1. Unusual predator

2. Unusual predator of the eggs

3. Unusual destructor of their nests

4. Poison in our food and grains

I come to the last conclusion.

The amount of poison we eat every day in our food is sufficient to kill all the house sparrows over the last 30 years.

By way of aggro-economics we are killing our birds.
The story is true for pigeons too.