Spring quarter I will teach a fully online version of an “Introduction to International and Global Studies.” As I was looking for documentary content for the class I came across this animated video that tells the story of the rediscovery of the Lord Howe Island stick insect. This species was believed to be extinct, after its habitat was over-run by rats introduced by Europeans. In 2001, however, a single surviving population was discovered on a lone shrub on Ball’s pyramid in the midst of the Pacific Ocean.
This animation is not designed for children, although they could view it too. The art work is gorgeous, and the use of colors creates a visually spectacular world. One reviewer used the word “haunting” to describe it’s impact. The first section of the video is silent, before the second half begins a narration by the discoverer of this population, Nicholas Carlile. He proves to be an engaging storyteller, who captures the wonder of this unique moment. The combination of visual design and compelling narrative have made this an award winner in the film festival circuit.
From Hawaii to the Georgia Islands, rats have overrun indigenous species and caused immense destruction. This beautiful video places the issue of invasive species into a particular context with an uplifting story. Strongly recommended.
Curious? You can view the video here.
Shawn Smallman, Portland State University