Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why zoos can be a good idea sometimes

The lovely little chick with her foot in the air, ready to dance, is a Tawny Frogmouth, native to Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. She was born at Seaworld but I found her at Zooborns.

The second, fearful-looking bird in the hand is a Worcester's buttonquail, shown moments before she was sold to be eaten in a market in Luzon, Philippines. Her species was believed to be extinct and, according to the National Geographic, known to ornithologists only through drawing made more than thirty years ago.

It is hoped that this modest species survives elsewhere in Luzon, the only place where it was ever found.

What's life like in the Philippines? According to the Philippine blog Spirituality Page,

The National Statistical and Coordination Board (NSCB) identified the following indicators of the said goal, accompanied by 2003 figures: people living below the poverty line – 30.4%; the poverty gap ratio – 8.4; the share of the poorest quintile in national consumption – 4.7% income and 5.8% expenditure; the number of undernourished children under age 5 – 24.6%; and people whose dietary intake is lower than the required 100% – 56.9%.

Independent surveys in 2008, however, revealed alarming figures. The Social Weather Stations (SWS) reported that in the last quarter, 23.7% or about 4.3 million Filipino households experienced involuntary hunger, the highest record of 11 points in a 10-year average of 12.6%. There are an estimated 9.4 million households or 52% who are ‘self-rated poor’ and 42% or an estimated 7.7 million households who are ‘food poor.’

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