An Otter For Earth Day

hairy-nosed-otter_7950Welcome to Earth Day #46, and NaPoWriMo day #22. Tasked with celebrating our planet or an aspect thereof, I was drawn to researching a different species of otter, specifically the Hairy-Nosed Otter. Indigenous to Indonesia and South-East Asia, dweller of peat swamps, solitary and shy, prized for both pelt and meat – unsurprisingly, this otter is one of several otter species that are critically endangered. They are under very severe habitat threat as fires continue to ravage the formerly lush peat rainforests of Indonesia, thanks to the almost totally unregulated global palm oil industry.

Now, this is an emotional day for us all. Victoria Wood is dead, Prince is dead, I won’t deny I’ve wept a little weep already, and it’s not that I want to add to the gloom, it’s just that, you know, unstoppable peat fires, mass extinctions, 93% bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, argh……

Happy Earth Day.

The Hairy-Nosed Otter In Danger

Don’t speak to him of tiger economies.

The burnt umber tigers are long-ghosted,


sepia kill-shots snapped where, today, earth burns.

Don’t pronounce stearate, octyl palmitate, glycerol.


Doritos matter more than his water snakes.

Lipsticks and instant whip more precious than frogs.


He sprains himself into puddles of peat-swamp,

grieving for mangroves, cool vaulted aquifers.


Acrid, the air bites back. Muzzle-hairs

shake like children locked in nightmares.


My heart, what nasty thing frightened you?

It is coming, it is coming and it won’t stop.


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