Written by Daniel Hudon 
Art by Elahe Behin

Published 4/6/2014

Thylacine on Youtube

Art by Elahe Behin

Have you seen the video of the last thylacine? It paces around in its cage, yawns and displays its formidable jaws, its incredible teeth. They called it the Tasmanian Tiger because of the stripes across its back, rump and the base of its tail, though it looks like a wild dog and has a stiff tail like that of a kangaroo. It sniffs the air, lies in the sun, crouches like a raccoon, gnarls a meaty bone, paces round and round as if it has nothing better to do, as if it has all the time in the world.


Miss Waldron’s Red Colobus Monkey

after the Yoruba Hunter poems


When the monkey dies his cheeks are full of laughter. Two rows of bared white teeth. Always smiling. You could hear him calling to others in the treetops. Chattering and shrieking. Never quiet. He hides his fear with nervous prattle. Deep-set eyes, a face of mischief never photographed, he is a mystery to himself. His tail sweeps the air. When the hunter comes he flees to the highest branches to join the others like a troop of fools, chattering and shrieking. Too beautiful to live. Death always stalks him. Too beautiful to survive. Death always follows him.


The Tecopa Pupfish1

– Cyprinodon nevadensis calidae

Art by Elahe Behin

Deep below the Mojave Desert, Earth’s magma churns. Through a fissure in the crust, the heat seethes up and stokes the Tecopa Hot Springs, home of the eponymous pupfish. Only an inch long, they thrived in the steaming pools and lived undisturbed since the last great ice age. Males doggedly pursued females and snuggled up to them like puppies at play, giving the fish their name. But when bathhouses were constructed, new channels into the pools increased the temperatures beyond what they could handle. Soon after, the Tecopa Pupfish vanished.

1 The Tecopa Pupfish was delisted from the Endangered Species Act in 1981, the first species to be removed from the list due to extinction.


The Laughing Owl or Whekau

– Sceloglaux albifacies albifacies and S. a. rubifacies

Art by Elahe Behin

When it flies, the Whekau laughs. Just before the rain, the Whekau hoots a melancholy note. On dark and drizzly nights, the Whekau loudly cries a series of dismal shrieks. For no good reason, the Whekau chuckles like a turkey, mews or yelps like a cat or dog. Whenever it feels like it, the Whekau whistles absolutely tunelessly.


The Round Island Burrowing Boa

– Bolyeria multocarinata

Art by Elahe Behin

Sneaking through the shaded soil of the palm groves down the volcanic slopes, sampling the air with forked tongue efficiency, seeking hospitality in the hot, hot sun from out the dark door of the secret Earth, seen only four times in a century, his shovel-shaped head and cylindrical body burrowing into the soil and out of sight.



Thylacine: Hunted ruthlessly to extinction in Australia in the 1930’s.

Miss Waldron’s Red Colobus Monkey: Last official sighting in 1978; extinction due to poaching for bushmeat and habitat destruction. Yoruba hunter poems can be found in The Rattle Bag, edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, Faber and Faber, 1982.

Tecopa Pupfish: Last collected in 1970; extinction due to habitat destruction.

Laughing Owl: The last known laughing owl died in 1914, a victim of museum collectors, habitat loss and introduced predators such as stoats, ferrets and cats, from which it had no defense.

Round Island Burrowing Boa: Last seen on Round Island, a tiny islet north of Mauritius, in 1975. Began to decline after the introduction of goats and rabbits in 1840 because of damage to vegetation that caused heavy soil erosion and deterioration of its palm forest habitat. The line “seeking hospitality from out the dark door of the secret Earth” is from the poem, “Snake” by D.H. Lawrence, though it is unknown if this snake sunned itself.


Daniel Hudon, originally from Canada, teaches writing, math, physics and astronomy in Boston. He has published a chapbook, Evidence for Rainfall (Pen and Anvil Press), a popular nonfiction book, The Bluffer’s Guide to the Cosmos (Oval Books) and has a travel manuscript,Traveling into Now, that is looking for a home. He has work coming up or appearing in CanarySporkToadThe Chatttahoochee Review,{Ex}tinguished and {Ex}tinct: An Anthology of Things that No Longer {Ex}istWritten River, and The Little Patuxent Review. He blogs about environmental topics at econowblog.blogspot.com and some of his writing links can be found at people.bu.edu/hudon.  
(Updated Apr. 2014)

Born in 1979, Elahe Behin is a freelance illustrator, graphic designer, and member of ASIFA (Iranian association of animators). She studied graphic design at Tehran University. She has worked as a graphic designer for several advertising companies, illustrated a number of books for children and adults and participated in the production of several short animations. She is a prize winner at the 8th Tehran International Animation Festival, 2013. Elahe Behin currently lives in Rasht, Iran where she has her studio and teaches art. Her works can be found here
(Updated Nov. 2013)