Preliminary observations... from a sub editor!

mollihawk's shadow
eddie nicholson
Fri 8 Aug 2014 13:08
One of the delights of the Arctic is the chance to explore the diverse wildlife – the many species and subspecies that are to be found, and to study how these species react with and shape their own particular environment.
Thus we have, for example, at sea, the numerous whales, humpback and fin, the lesser fish and mammals, the crustacea, all operating in their environment in perfect harmony and symmetry, each interdependent, each a part of a perfect whole.
On land there is, or was, the Innuit, who survived and prospered, without the benefit of iron, wood, greenery of any sort, writing or mathematics, but who likewise had evolved a lifestyle that was perfectly suited to their environment. It took several generations of western explorers many years to understand that to survive in the harsh Arctic, it was necessary to adapt to local methodologies – Knud Rasmussen, the most successful of all, understood this, and over several of his famous “Thule Expeditions” opened up the northern Arctic to the benefits of modern civilisation.  The traditional Innuit way of life is now largely gone, as is the chance for anthropological study of endangered species in a controlled environment.
Thus is was a great opportunity for me to be asked on a trip to the Arctic to observe and report on an anthropological experiment, involving the placing of several members of a threatened species into a controlled micro-environment, which in turn was inserted into a harsher macro environment.
Imagine my excitement therefore to arrive and observe three almost perfectly preserved, mature (at least in years) specimens of  Lutheranis Hibernicus,  more commonly known as the lesser spotted Prod.  Even better, there was a good quality specimen of Majoriae Retiricus, a species normally found only in the Home Counties, or West Waterford. 
Close observation showed that the spotted Prods were, in fact, all members of the same family, and had had the same formative environment. Turfed out of the nest early, while quite unprepared, they were sent to “Columbas”, a kind of incubator community where survival skills and the correct use of forks are inculcated. These specimens are of a very pure strain, and it remains to be seen if the recent insertion of a single member of the species Catholicus Romanis into the ecosystem will contaminate them in any way.
Majoriae Retiricus is an interesting study all on its own. A creature of rigid habits, it finds and guards its own nest, but it feathers the nest by, magpie like, stealing the clothing and personal effects of others. Majoriae Retiricus is very hierarchical, and on finding that the writer was of a lower genus (FCA private, rather than Marine officer) a wholly unjustified  superiority complex developed. This involves much strutting around, making of barking like sounds, the avoidance of all physical labour, and considerable amounts of gin and sleep. It will be interesting to see if Majoriae Retiricus can survive in this harsh eco-system – my observations continue.