Island Insight Episode XXXIII: Habitat destruction; The Aruban Borrowing Owl 

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Eco-cide: Is the process of destroying the natural way of life in such a manner that it becomes completely incapable of supporting its native species, turning the land in to something worse than a desert. In an unregulated or unsupervised process of progress, lives that previously used a specific part of the land as their habitat have become victims, exposed to being displaced or destroyed; condemning our native and unique species to extinction is not an option. Addressing government officials, as well as parliamentary representatives of the imminent actions necessary that should be considered against habitat destruction and that nature is to be taken in consideration as condition number one no matter what the plan is. The purpose of developing our tourist industry, has reached its sustainable capability. Reconsidering depleting our natural resources for economic and urbanization purposes. Clearing habitats for hotels, housing, commercial and infrastructure facilities is the principal cause of habitat destruction. Adding to this, the harming effects UTV`s causes when off- roads up and down like extras of a Mad Max scene, followed by sand and lime stone mining activities, illegal, dumping and urbanization.

Habitat destruction is currently ranked as the primary cause of species disappearance all over the planet. Imagine on a tiny island like ours, confronting a constant process of natural environmental change that is mainly caused by habitat fragmentation, geological processes as erosion, climate change or by human activities, such as the introduction of invasive species, especially cats and snakes as the boa constrictor, insects, lizards and amphibians of adjacent ecosystems that easily can alter the balance of nature.

At this rate of development our: 1.Burrowing owl and the 2. Aruban rattlesnake: Crotalus durissus unicolor are close to many of being the next species that runs the same fate as of the 3. Blauduif, or Red-necked: Columba squamosa and 4. Lora or Cota, the Yellow-Shouldered Amazon: Amazona barbadensis, not to mention these two birds have completely disappeared off the island due to human activities in to their habitat.

3.The extinct Blauduif 4: Lora or Cota

The illusion that we must grow economically by taking over nature will soon collect its toll, if we do not act and take our fragile ecosystem in consideration. What is going on now on Aruba is unprecedented if we see how much ecocide has been taken place lately versus the last 30 years. Encouraged by generous incentives whose only goal is exploiting the property to the max. Human, as well as island resources were to be shared with visitors. The islands way of life, is where all its value rests upon and all we have to offer besides our genuine Aruban friendship our mystic landscapes and ecosystem. We must realize that devaluation and “eco-degradation” occurs with every tree we cut, every building we erect, every emigrant we import, with every habitat we destroy we kill many species. We should guard our patrimony. We must keep the island life, otherwise we will be dealing with a nation severely affected by social problems which demands large public funding to address and resolve many new issues we today can prevent. Social education and Cultural preservation is imminent.



1-“Shoco” 2- “Cascabel”

When we talk about owls many of you would think of a large bird, swooping down at night on prey, hooting loudly from a tree, like you have seen on cartoons on movies. However our burrowing owl_ the only species of owls found on Aruba_ hardly fits the mold. This small, spindly-legged owl lives on the ground, is seen hunting during the day, and makes soft cackling sounds

Native artistic interpretations of a Shoco and a Cascabel Owl and Rattlesnake

Aruba`s Borrowing Owl: 1 (Athene cunicularia arubensis), known as Shoco, in Papiamento, which most probably derives from the Caquetian “ Xeque”, the Aruban endemic sub-species of the burrowing owl family.

Standing about 7-10 inches tall, this little owl gets its name from where it lives. Burrowing owls are often found in abandoned rodent burrows, old tubes, most often the dig a nest in sand mounds. Far from trees, they nest and live near their burrows. Their brown-mottled feathers help them blend in to the surrounding landscape where they dine on insects, small mammals, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians.

Burrowing owls can be difficult to spot if they are not moving. In addition to their ability to naturally camouflage with their environment, an owl appears from a distance to be just another prairie dog standing sentry near its underground home. An observer must carefully scan a prairie dog colony with binoculars, looking carefully for any movements from the owls. The reward may be seeing the little dancing hops the owls sometimes do as they bob around on their long legs.

Burrowing owls catch food as they walk or run along the ground, and sometimes snatch insects in midair as they fly just above the surface. Much of their food sources are available during the day, but they are also active at night.

Discover an Aruba which no other could share with you. Discover and explore and take your experience home with you. Our renowned indigenous and educative session has been entertaining curious participants for decades. Mail us at etnianativa03@gmail.comto confirm your participation. Our facilities and activities takes place close to your hotels area.