Thursday, March 27, 2014

Conservation fables #1: Pika welcomes two flies

Excerpt from the book Tibet Wild by George B. Schaller

Pika is at the entrance to his burrow. Only his head peers out. His wife and children are deep in the burrow, cozy and warm in their grass nest. A cold wind blows and snowflakes fill the sky even though it is already summer. 
Pika from wiki

   As Pika looks out at the bad weather, thinking it too cold to look for some lunch, two large flies land before him. They have hairy abdomens but still they are shivering. 
   "Please let us into your burrow," says one fly. "It is so windy that we can't fly well and we are cold."
   "Then why don't you go home?" asks Pika. "Why come to my burrow?"
   "We have no home." says the second fly, stamping its six feet because they are wet with snow. "Usually we seek shelter in an empty pika or marmot burrow. But in this weather we could not find a place quickly."
   Pika grumbles, "why should I give hospitality to flies in my home?"
   "Oh, let them in. Be kind to strangers," calls Pika's wife from deep within the burrow. Pika obeys his wife, as usual.
   Pika squeezes to one side and let the flies walk in. Once out of the wind the flies shake their wings and wipe themselves dry with their forelegs.
   "What are you doing out in such weather?" asks Pika. 
   "We were pollinating flowers when the storm surprised us," answers the first fly. He explains that they fly from flower to flower seeking sweet nectar. At the same time they inadvertently carry pollen on their legs and hairy abdomen from one plant to another. In this way they help to fertilize the gentians, poppies, primroses and many other flowers. The plants can then produce seeds that later grow into new flowers. 
   Pika ponders this. Finally he says, "you mean you help flowers bloom?" And he ponders some more about what this might mean. 
   But Pika's wife has a quick mind. Her voice comes once more from within the nest. "Don't you realize, Pika, that our two visitors help us grow our food? Without them we would not have so many delicious plants to eat. Nor would the yaks, sheep, and marmots. We must always offer shelter to flies."
   Pika sits motionless, his head now inside the burrow. It helps him to think more clearly. He realizes that he often meets flies near his burrow but has paid them little attention. 
   "It is good to give hospitality and show kindness to strangers," he muses. "One never knows how they might repay you."

Written by George B. Schaller

Whoa! I was thrilled reading these fables. These were written to send out conservation messages in the form of fables in the Chang Tang region of Tibet. The idea was that teaching young minds through such fables will help changing the strong and unwarranted antipathy of many Tibetans towards pikas; by highlighting the benefits that pikas bring to the rangeland and the pastoral households. These fables were translated into Tibetan and were published as booklets for school children.

It will be good to come up with such conservation fables on every threatened species and teach young minds. I am certain that if young children read these fables, they will develop affection towards wildlife and be knowledgeable about what good they can do for us.


1 comment:

sajana said...

Awesome! so intersting to read the fable which is giving a good message!