The abundance of plants and wildlife on our planet seems to be limitless, because many creatures haven’t yet been discovered. But keep in mind that the diversity of animals on Earth will be decreasing, because evolution, environmental and climate changes, human actions or natural disasters cause some animal species to go extinct.
Protecting endangered species is a difficult task and saving a species already considered extinct isn’t that easy! David Priddel and Nicholas Carlile were one of the lucky few. On the island known as the Ball’s Pyramid, they found the world’s last dryococelus australis, members of the stick insect family.
Ball’s Pyramid is located in the South Pacific, on the east coast of Australia. The island is a rocky hill composed of volcano remnants, which isn’t suited for settlement. Twenty kilometers to the south of it is another island – Lord Howe Island, which is inhabited by people and was once also home to the stick insects.
The island is similar to a castle, which seems to be growing out of the sea.
How did stick insects become extinct on Lord Howe Island? In 1918, near the shores of the island, a ship got stranded in the shallow water. The ship was repaired, but during its stay rats escaped, and since they didn’t have any natural enemies, they quickly took over the island. The rodents enjoyed eating the stick insects and in a matter of two years, completely destroyed their population.
Rats hiding on ships, along with sailors, travelled to every corner of the earth.
Are you curious what the discovered stick insects looked like and what happened with them? Photos and details can be found on the next page.