In Memory of an Island Species

by M.J. Leach, Australia

She had a given name
& a secluded home—
Christmas Island.
She was the last known
member of her species:
an individual
known to scientists & keepers
as both a friend & an endling.

She received close
attention & affection from humans 
after losing her reptilian kin.
She was a lone

Christmas Island Forest Skink

It was Jan. 2014
when scientists put her on a list
of Australian threatened species,
classifying her kind as critically

Humans combed the rainforests
coating Christmas Island’s
135 km2 

in search of a candidate mate
who was nowhere to be found.
Gump was found 
on the eve of winter
2014, only months 
after her kind 

was belatedly
listed as critically endangered.

She left us a legacy
& another

Acknowledgements: ‘In Memory of an Island Species’ first appeared in Jalmurra ahead of republication in NatureVolve and Natural Philosophies (Recent Work Press, 2022).

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