The Leek | Issue 09

The Leek | Issue 09

Extinction Looming for Endemic Otago Species

In a startling exposé, conservationists observing the elusive Otago Scarfie have revealed that this species may be teetering on the brink of extinction. Results of an in-depth study carried out over the past three months have caused scientists to place Otago Scarfies on the “critically endangered” list, pending a significant change to the current ecological climate.

While many species find their way onto this list due to steadily declining populations, for Scarfies it is an entirely different matter. Surveys show that there is in fact a greater number of Scarfies inhabiting Dunedin than ever before, but scientists are more concerned with the poor quality of life, habitat, and self-preservation instincts they have observed – factors which, if left unchecked, may signal a sudden and rapid demise for this majestic but utterly moronic species.

Carol Robbins, chief spokesperson for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) team attending to the case, was happy to go over some of the finer points of their study with Critic. Robbins points out that unlike some other species that are driven to extinction by a combination of external factors, Scarfies are their own worst enemy. She underscores that habitat quality is one of the biggest players in conservation, and that the filthy, mould-infested, below-freezing flats that Scarfies seem to flock to are entirely sub-par, and present a huge threat to the species’ survival – but the terrible lifestyle choices do not end there.

Although better forms of sustenance are readily available, the average Scarfie diet currently consists of canned spaghetti, bread, and instant coffee. In addition to this, scientists have noted that Scarfies are predisposed to poison themselves, once or twice a week on average, in what Robbins and her team speculate is some sort of social ritual. To make matters worse, they will often then proceed to get behind the wheel of a car, stand in the middle of the road at the mercy of passing motorists, or pick fights with larger, more intoxicated Scarfies.

When under the influence of this potent toxin, Scarfies have also been known to converge en masse on a square kilometre of smelly, sticky bars known as “town,” braving torrential downpours, biting winds, and icy temperatures just to ingest more poison and get jostled around by other Scarfies. The IUCN does recognise that these conditions appear to motivate Scarfies to mate with one another, which would be a positive step if it did not so commonly lead to the spread of infectious disease – yet another challenge that this species seems unable to overcome.

In response to these alarming discoveries, the IUCN intends to implement a conservation programme for Scarfies prior to O-Week 2014. More details as the story unfolds.
This article first appeared in Issue 9, 2013.
Posted 3:14pm Sunday 28th April 2013 by Campbell Ecklein.