Thursday, November 7, 2013

a haiku for Fluke

ah, friends. today is a sad day. Fluke the penguin, of The Penguin Run fame, is no longer with us :(

it's entirely probable that you have no idea what i'm talking about, so let me explain... or i'll copy and paste the description off The Penguin Run's website, since it is well-described there:

From 7 to 13 October we celebrate the perilous journey undertaken by five African Penguins. Fitted with satellite tracking devices, we will follow the birds as they take to the high seas in a race to bulk up ahead of their fast approaching moulting season, where they will lose over half of their body weight.
The catch? The fish they depend on are becoming increasingly scarce. This means they must swim extreme distances to feed, all the while avoiding the impolite intentions of the Cape fur seal and unfair competition with fishing vessels. By determining how far the birds must forage to find food, these areas can be protected and so restore balance to the ecosystem as a whole.
Let's unite in supporting the African Penguin by tracking their progress on the live map and following @_thepenguinrun for real time updates. Back your favourite bird by following them on their unique twitter handle and sparing some tweets of encouragement.
They may not hear you (penguins don't speak human, that's ridiculous), but by spreading the word you are taking part in something that could very well save this little guy from extinction.
i was made aware of this amazing and super-fun initiative by my friend Michelle, who is also a penguin lover (in case you didn't know, um, i love penguins); there were (as the above paragraph states) five penguins in a fun though serious race - Titan ("The Bullet"), Skip ("The Old-Timer"), Siren ("The Explorer"), Fluke ("The Birdbrain") and Hank ("The Underbird"). each penguin had their own brilliant description and their own twitter handle, and i had a lot of fun choosing my bird. they all had lots going for them, but i was totally charmed by the description of one little penguin in particular: Fluke! this is how they described her:
Fluke. Or affectionately referred to by her feathered friends as 'Shipwreck'. Upon release she swam over 50km. In the wrong direction. Oops. Realising her mistake, perhaps through her lack of penguinly companions, she changed course and through her sheer speed caught up with the rest of the pack. Renowned on Dassen Island for her incessant flapping and wobbly tumbles, most have come to the unlikely conclusion that she is trying to fly. Penguins can't fly. That's absurd. Not on land anyway.
what a legend, right? how could anyone not choose her, i say?! the photo they uploaded next to her written profile just sealed the deal:

what an absolute winner, this little girl!

well, the race began and i had a great time keeping up with it for a little while, but then got carried away with work and stopped following what was going on so closely.

today The Penguin Run team officially signed off and in so doing updated everyone on where each of the birds were. their rather heart-rending tweets about Fluke said the following:
Dear friends, we’re sad to inform you that our brave little has been taken by the ocean. We have received no radio signal from since late Oct, and before that signs of aimless drifting, not foraging. you crazy little birdbrain. We hope the waters are filled with sashimi & there are mansions made of guano in penguin heaven. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. We won’t forget you.
while Fluke's loss only drives home even further the importance of penguin conservation (as if people shouldn't want to save penguins already - i mean, they are WAY MORE AWESOME than many people, so...) and while i do also understand that these things happen and that it is the way of nature and all the rest of that talk, i can't help but feel really sad about this little girl being lost at sea, so i decided to write her a haiku-type poem to get some angsty, sorrowy feelings out of myself. mind the cheese, if you please.

little penguin Fluke
your life was no accident
bobbing in the sea

little birdbrain girl
swimming in your own current
we could learn to be

a bit more like you,
carefree, content in ourselves
brave and just crazy

so, Fluke, dearest heart
in penguin heaven
eat some sashimi for me
swim wildly, fly free


to end this post on a more upbeat note, here are some cute posters designed by the Penguin Run people that i thought i'd share with y'all; aren't they great? maybe i can design for them one day...

"As if they didn't have enough to deal with, African Penguins, chicks and eggs are a tasty dinner for many a predator."

g'night, y'all x

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