Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Fate Is Your Fate

I am ancient.    Prehistoric.  Perfectly suited to my habitat.

I have crawled upont the shores of planet earth for hundreds of millions of years.  My design has not changed.

Species human has named me "Horse-shoe Crab" and I wear a large, broad, heavy carapace to protect my inner organs.   When seen, I appear as a large crawling shell with long tail, slowly inching my way up onto the shores of America's eastern corridor, then slowly returning back into the deep.  I do this only to spawn, when the moon is full and I sense the time to procreate.  Of the thousands of eggs I bury, only 10 will survive.  This is nature in it's most prefect balance, as many other life forms depend on me to exist.   

My blood is blue-grey and every human on the planet has been positively affected by it.  I am called "biomedically integral" to humanity.  This is a welcome change from what once was, but I fear it will not be enough to save me. 

 Only as recent as ten years ago, I was harvested and killed to bait other animals.  All the good I do now was unknown, and in only one year alone, over 2 million of my kind were killed, routinely.  Just to bait other life.  Today, there is a moritorium on killing me, but it will end in two years.

A wiser human of this age is now harvesting me for another purpose.  I am caught, then drained of up to l/3rd of my precious blood, and returned into the sea.  Unfortunately, I am greatly weakened by this process and almost 25% of us who undergo this procedure are not strong enough to survive it.   Humans who perform biomedical research are trying to race the clock in finding a synthetic substitute for the ingredient found in my blood.  It is greatly prized. 

One-third of my blood, a matter of mere ounces, is valued at $15,000.00.  Therein lies the reason I am now so protected.  Yet the damage of years past cannot be repaired.  My numbers are in decline as my shoreline habitat is decreased.  Humans are once again encroaching upon this waterfront land, stealing my ancient habitat for themselves.  They really don't need it.     

In this guise I have managed to survive almost 400 million years.  400 million years.   I've watched other life forms rise and fall, yet I have been successful.  Not until the human being found my value was I ever in danger of becoming extinct.  The present threat is incalculable.

When I am gone, it will be forever.  The varied life that depends on me will suffer, but I can feel in my precious blood that species human will by then have found a substitute for it.  They will survive.  A species not even a half-million years in existence will go on, as my ancient heritage is lost for all time. 

Somehow, nature will demand its due.  All in balance.  

                                                  

17 comments:

pamal3 said...

I love the way you highlight these Issues. I have never seen this species before and did not know that was happening. It's very sad. Love Pam xx

treesrgreen78 said...

Again you amaze me.  I have just learned another very important thing from your journal.

wwfbison said...

This is so sad, I am wiping my tears for the horse-shoe crab.  I had not heard about this.  I hope there are efforts to save this magnificant animal from extinction.  Thank you for being the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves ~ may your words be heard by all.
xxx
Lisa

ma24179 said...

I have held one of those before. They had one in the science museum. It's sad that we kill of everything, isn't it? -Missy http://journals.aol.com/ma24179/MISSYZSTUFF

lanurseprn said...

So interesting. Sad what we are doing, huh?
Pam

shrbrisc said...

Nature always has a way .
hugs
Sherry

pharmolo said...

And so many others like this wee one have gone before...

gazker said...

I weep for not just the horse shoe crab, but for humanity. As we will be the death of ourselves through the desicration of other species.
Gaz xxx

aimer said...

Beautifully written and so moving, it has the rhythms of poetry. How sad that we give in to our destructive impulses so often and that we fail to appreciate that even the smallest of creatures has a purpose and place in the cosmos.--Sheria

mutualaide said...

Oh Cathy, I saw the show on PBS about the horse shoe crab and I was saddened to hear the bad, bad news.  A memoratorium?  How about a ban? Totally?  
I remember well as a child playing at the river's edge and encountering the horse shoe crabs.  They frightened and delighted us!

rdautumnsage said...

Hauntingly beautiful. Your words echo a fear, within me these days. That we are to become so greedy, so careless we condemn ourselves and humanity. For when we succeed to bring about this noble creatures extinction, we have succeeded in our own demise written in a different parody. The ancient spiral of life turns around and about and soon will come full circle for the payment of our actions. (Hugs) Indigo

firestormkids04 said...

All I can say is . . . wow.  Love & blessings, Penny  http://journals.aol.com/firestormkids04/FromHeretoThere
http://journals.aol.com/firestormkids04/TimeforaLittlePoetry

valphish said...

Gee, what are they finding so precious in their blood?  This is sad.  Love, Val xox
http://journals.aol.com/valphish/ThereisaSeason

rockoned7 said...

Perfect example of how much you worry about man's quest at the demise of other important species, Cath. So for the record and for those that dont know: The horseshoe crab has a simple but effective immune system. When a foreign object such as bacteria enters through a wound in the animal's body, it almost immediately clots into a clear gel-like material, thus effectively trapping the bacteria. This substance is called Limulus Amebocyte Lysate (LAL) and is being used to test for bacterial endotoxins in pharmaceuticals and for several bacterial diseases.

If the bacterium is harmful, the blood will form a clot. Horseshoe crabs are helpful in finding remedies for diseases that have developed resistances to penicillin and other drugs.
Blood is removed from horseshoe crabs and they are thrown back into the ocean. A single horseshoe crab can be worth $2,500 over its lifetime for periodic blood extractions.
Long term studies have not indicated whether or not the extraction of the horseshoe crab's blood leaves it in a less-resistant state in regards to predators or disease. Since human selection is altering the breeding stock for the species, in terms of its survivability, it may have long-term and nearly untestable effects on this ancient animal's genetic viability.

dutchyukon said...

Hi there Cathy~I always thought horseshoe crabs were amazing when I would find one while walking along the Atlantic. Thanks for the science lesson! Take good care. Sending Blessings, Deborah ;-)

gdireneoe said...

I am always fascinated by/with science...and more often than not, saddened.  Our largess effects so much... ;)  C.

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