Sri Lankan Fruit Bats

These giant fruit bats are fabulous! There were trees full of them in the park – all chattering to each other – just hanging out! (Sorry)

Sri Lanka – Colombo – Buddhist Temple Gangaramaya – Elephants

Elephants seemed to be venerated. It seemed strange to me. Inside the temple there was a big Elephants head and huge stuffed elephant.

Outside, in a tiny pen, they had a young elephant chained up so that it could hardly move. It seemed a very unbuddhist type of thing to do.

The poor elephant looked half-crazed and was exhibiting all manner of disturbed behaviour.

Sri Lanka – the abuse of animals.

Unfortunately, animals are used all over the world are used as tourist bait. People pay good money to be photographed with monkeys and snakes, elephants and all manner of exotic animals.

Some of these animals are kept in terrible conditions, caged and bored to death.

The snakes often have their fangs pulled out.

Wild animals are caught and abused.

Biodiversity – the big disaster. The Anthropocene.

The tragedy of our destruction of biodiversity has been like a slow-motion car-crash that I have been observing throughout my life.

The destruction is ongoing, continuous and horrendous.

I have witnessed it in the UK and as I’ve travelled the world I have seen the evidence everywhere I have one.

In The UK.

The plants and animals I used to see regularly are disappearing fast. As a boy, I used to play in meadows full of wildflowers. I used to collect caterpillars, newts, frogs, toads, slowworms and grass snakes. They were common. Hedgehogs were everywhere. The fields were full of the buzz of insects. Big flocks of swifts and swallows swooped and fed. Streams were full of sticklebacks, dragonfly and caddis.

Those fields are sprayed with pesticide and herbicide. The streams are polluted or culverted. The hedgerows have been grubbed up, trees chopped down and ponds filled.

Where can the wildlife live?


The rainforests – the lungs of the earth – are disappearing at an alarming rate. Flying over the Amazon the sight of the vast areas of cleared forest is alarming. But the same thing is happening in Borneo, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Africa. What was once impenetrable jungle (only fifty years ago) has roads running through it. The loggers and hunters have moved in. The farmers follow. The forest, along with the creatures it supports, is burnt.

I was quite shocked by a statistic that came out of the David Attenborough programme last night concerning the biomass of organisms.

60% Livestock

36% Humans

4% Wildlife.

That is what we have done in the last hundred years.

Our seas are being denuded of fish by huge supertrawlers. Our rivers are likewise overfished. Travelling down the Mekong I was amazed to see that through the whole length there were fishing enterprises taking even the smallest fish to batter into fish paste. What hope is there?

In Vietnam, everything that moves is killed. Even the paddy fields have traps to catch and eat insects. The jungles were silent.

I am appalled by the cruel, inhumane way we treat animals. They are caged in tiny cages, driven mad and killed in the most horrendous ways – being boiled alive, skinned alive or cut open to extract blood or gall bladders. Such insensitivity.

What is wrong with people?

This is not sustainable.

The delicate balance of nature not only supports this wondrous array of life but provides our climate, our food, our oxygen and atmosphere that keeps us alive.

Already we are seeing the huge fires due to global warming, the floods, droughts, heatwaves and changes in air and sea currents.

Nature can bounce back but we have to help it. We have to stop the destruction, reduce our population, stop the waste, put back the forests, the ponds, streams and hedgerows and start to act responsibly (and far less cruelly).

I think we are on the brink.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 May 2016

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Poetry – Precious



Every tree


Every stream and hedge.


We’ve put

Every plant and animal

Living on the edge.


For those of us who care

We look towards our leaders

To provide the direction.


It’s always up to us

We need to place the right ones

In every election.


Every bug


Every fish and shrub.


Every single organism

Is a member of our club.


Every tree


Every stream and hedge.


Yet we’ve put

Every plant and animal

Living on the edge.


Opher – 13.9.2020

Poetry – They come

They come


I heard them.

They moved quietly

But I heard them.

Rising up off my haunches

I signalled.

Our two mothers

Gathered up their children.

All looked to me.

Only one young buck

Stood questioning.

This was no time for confrontation

And he knew it.

I glared at him.

He backed down.

I led them all silently off,

Deeper into the forest.

I knew it might not be enough.

They would soon find where we had been.

They were clever,

Not easily put off.

I moved fast

Setting a pace that the weakest could keep up with.

They all followed behind.

They understood.

All we could do was hope.


Opher – 8.9.2020

To Nurture Nature! Or to die!

You are all most probably sick to death of me going on about the huge damage that was wreaked on the habitats near where I walk. They mowed the wide verges down the entire length of the road and completely destroyed the vestiges of wild habitat. The plants were in full flower and alive with insects. The seeds and insects provide the food for the hedgehogs, voles, owls, kestrels and kites.

I used to go on a walk eager to see what wonderful creatures I was going to find.

Since the destruction of all those acres of habitat, I haven’t seen anything.

The verges are now becoming green as the decimated plants regrow.

But they are devoid of flowers. It is too late now. The flowers have passed their season. There will be no seeds for the animals.

These verges are devoid of most insects. Countless multitudes of insects were destroyed. Those are the food for the birds, hedgehogs and shrews.

The birds and creatures will have another hungry winter.

Further down, on another lane, there were areas of verge which had not been mown.

It is easy to see the rich profusion of life – flowers, seeds, bees, butterflies and other insects

We are being urged to keep little wild patches in our gardens for the insects, for the wildlife, yet, for no apparent reason, acres of wild habitat are mown flat, wiping out whole communities of plants and animals.

If we want to have the beauty of nature around us we have to protect it!

If we do not look after the planet I fear we will have no future!

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