Poor little spotted kiwi! Like all of New Zealand’s national birds, it used to be super-duper endangered. Then the Department of Conservation established new colonies in areas without predators in the ’80s, and the population boomed. But a recent analysis of these colonies reveal a serious problem with the little spotted kiwis. Per Becky Crew at Running Ponies:
[T]he birds upon which all hopes of substantial genetic diversity rested – had never actually bred. They didn’t even produce one chick. Which means that all the little spotted kiwi on the planet, from every population, have come from the five birds that were originally put on Kapiti Island in 1912.
Genetic diversity is vital to a species’ survival. So what are scientists going to do about it? First, further analysis. They might have to revert the little spotted kiwis’ status back to endangered. If only all humanity had left New Zealand alone. We might still have moa!
[Photo of little spotted kiwi chick by Andrew Digby via Running Ponies]
Sometimes it’s almost our birthdays and we feel unaccomplished and sad; sometimes there are kiwi shortages, and robots milk cows: it’s this week’s link-o-rama! »
Ein Geburtstagskuchen! Really, any cake is a birthday cake if you deem it so. This is vegan Schwarzwälderkirschtorte—lecker! [photo by benjamin_lebsanft]
Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 20, Dolores Park Works will hold a Dolores Park Clean-up! Your Vegansaurus wholeheartedly endorses this endeavor, what with loving Dolores Park so terribly, terribly much, and we owe it to our neighborhood to go! Meet at the Dolores Park Works-branded toolbox behind the tennis courts at 18th and Dolores Streets at 10 a.m. tomorrow; DPW will provide all the equipment, and work is scheduled until 2 p.m.
There’s an international kiwi crisis brewing as the trees are being clobbered by a nasty bacteria called PSA. “International” because Italy actually produces more kiwifruits than New Zealand, annually. The U.S. and Russia, among others, are looking at meagre winter harvests, so countries that import most of their staples can expect those prices to increase between 11 and 20 percent next year. Because poor countries don’t have enough problems! In China, the government has begun distributing food subsidies in the form of money and actual comestibles, as food prices there went up 10 percent in ONE MONTH, and inflation grows faster than people’s incomes. UGH.
Meanwhile we are still the luckiest jerks: California is full of awesome farmers markets, and we’ve got Local Harvest, which helps you determine not just your nearest awesome farmers markets, but where all the food sold there came from. The USDA keeps a national list of farmers markets, too. If you can take advantage of this, DO IT. You owe it to everyone who eats food with a massive carbon footprint because that’s the only food they can get. We’re so well off, there’s no excuse not to be selective about our groceries. You eat vegan, local, organic food, and know that in that part of your life you really are doing your best. No brags, no smugs, just dedication to the right thing. Well OK, maybe we in the U.S. aren’t the best-best off: Grist hosts two solid debates on the Food Safety Modernization Act that, in part reveal that our current standards are depressingly low. Um, so maybe you’d like a recipe for spiced sweet potatoes? Possibly the most depressingly recounted recipe ever written in English?
Our pal Justine Quart, interviewer of vegan burlesque queens, has written a fantastic article in the SFAppeal on the problem of shark fin soup in San Francisco and how it’s being addressed. Goodness it is an EXCELLENT article, you really must read it. A horrible human being has been strangling seagulls with beer cans since at least Nov. 3. Thank goodness, Wild Rescues saved one gull this week! Here’s a small good thing: the California Beer and Beverage Distributors doubled the bounty for the fuckface bird-torturer. If you need to indulge in a little vicarious revenge, Netflix is streaming Whale Wars season three. Just imagine you are steering the boat, only it’s your fist, and it’s going right into the bird-strangler’s throat. When you open your eyes again, you have committed zero violent acts, just as it should be.
Hooray, it’s the Week in Vegan, by our own Laura! Unfortunately she made a small error regarding my number-one dream husband Vincent Kartheiser, as the public transportation-lover/car-despising vegan around here is me. Whoops! Lely: the dairy maintenance company of the future? Because robotics? Your Vegansaurus finds all this suspicious and a little creepy. Really, the cows are actually happy? REALLY? Perhaps in this same future we’ll all be wearing nutria-skin hats—nutria, the ethical fur! HA. Or, OK this isn’t so strange: Eric Hanson has drawn a sort of “geography of Thanksgiving,” with illustrations based on the most popular Google recipe searches measured on the day before Thanksgiving. Kentucky’s is “broccoli casserole,” which could be gross, or delicious, depending. Crossing our fingers for delicious, Kentucky!