Sky islands of Luzon (a poem)

Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, contains the world’s greatest concentration of unique species of mammals. Of 56 non-flying mammals now known to live on Luzon island, 52 are found nowhere else on Earth.

Reading about these endemic mammals inspired me to write a little poem:

There are islands in the sky 
where foxes have wings and fly.
Rats run amongst the clouds
which cover the forest with misty shrouds
and tiny bats snooze
inside shoots of bamboos.

Mice grow their whiskers from their noses
to the tips of their toes’s
and search under ferns
for juicy worms.
Where are these animals from?
Only the mountain-top islands of Luzon.

— Sky Islands of Luzon —
by Rachel Shaw


cloud rats


“Protecting all of these species from extinction is going to be a big challenge. The good news is that when the native forest is allowed to regenerate, the native mammals move back in, and the pest rats get kicked out.”
Danny Balete, a Research Associate at The Field Museum who is based in the Philippines.



Quote taken from the press release from The Field Museum:
World’s greatest concentration of unique mammal species is on Philippine island

The results of the 15 year study of Luzon by The Field Museum are published in the Frontiers of Biogeography magazine.





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