Kiribati Protocol

Polar Bear is in trouble. And who does he call in to help? Of course, the Spook Club!

On a warm, beautiful arctic summer morning, Polar Bear stood by a stream ready for a big fish breakfast. A sudden whirring sound of a jet engine shattered the calm around him. He looked up uneasily. When it landed close to where he stood, he growled in fury. He raced towards it to take it apart with his claws and canines.

“Cool off Polar Bear! We are Moa-ists from SPOOK Club at your service. We are here to find a solution to your problems. Isn’t that why you wrote to us in the first place?” asked Kea, President of SPOOK Club.

Kaka waved an olive branch over the bear’s head. At once the largest carnivore on the planet became calm. He even smiled in a crooked sort of way.

“Yeah, that’s right,” he replied in his own style. “Big problem in tundra. Little sea ice in summer. Few seals to catch. Man build factory on my land. No home, no food. Wot to do?”

Weta looked gravely at the huge bear, nearly 10 feet long, and five feet tall.

“Tuatara, I think this bully’s fate is ‘sealed’,” he joked. The reptile, of course, thought that was funny but the parrot and Ms. Kiwi didn’t.

“Stop it, the two of you!” said Ms. Kiwi sternly. “What is sea ice, Polar Bear? Is it another name for iceberg?”

Polar Bear grinned at the bird. “That is a good question. Very good question. A really good question. Umm… ah…”

Sea ice?

Someone spoke from behind. It was a big mother bear with her cub by her side.

“My name is Poli. I will give you the answer to your good question. Sea ice forms, grows and melts in the icy waters of the polar region and beyond. We sleep through the winter months and wake up in spring, feeling extremely hungry. We head for the sea ice where seals come to rest. Now, thanks to man and his stupidity, there is global warming. Sea ice is melting. There is very little food for us. Oh, by the way, an iceberg forms on land that breaks away from a glacier or frozen water body and slips into the ocean.”

Kaka looked thoughtfully at the bears. “Can you not adapt to the changes around you? Can you not eat something else?” he asked.

“Nope, seal meat too good. I have five-inch thick blubber to keep me warm. Black skin too inside. Like man, my body at 98.6ºF,” said Polar Bear quite firmly.

“I think you have too much blubber. It not only makes you blabber but also makes it impossible for you to leave this icy land,” remarked Tuatara. He thought for a while and continued with enthusiasm, “Hey, wait a minute! Why don’t we transport them to Antarctica by Spookjet, umm… no, by boats… umm, like kayaks? They will be quite comfortable in the other polar region!”

The Moa-ists and the bears pondered deeply on this bizarre idea. Would it really work, they wondered. Well, it was worth a try since some scientists predicted the extinction of polar bears within the next 100 years.

It was going to be a long journey to the South Pole. It was going to be a difficult one too, even with a humpback whale to tug the kayaks. Nobody had ever before taken two large polar bears on boats from the North Pole to Antarctica.

How were the bears going to take the heat of the tropics? Can the Moa-ists save this species from extinction?

Read Part Two.

Published as part of a series titled SPOOK Nook in Young World, The Hindu on April 2, 2015.

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