Chasing Mirages

Tag: invasive species

Invasion of the apple snails

by on May.31, 2013, under Posts

If you’ve seen these pink globular clusters near lakes and ponds, then it’s already too late – you’ve been invaded by apple snails from South America.

This notorious species was introduced to China in 1981 and has since spread throughout the warmer parts of the country.  It’s called 福壽螺 in Chinese, and is believed by many to be poisonous if eaten.  According to multiple sources on the internet, this appears to be untrue, although it is often a carrier of a frightening parasitic nematode.

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Monster Agave Penis

by on Sep.24, 2011, under Quickies

Technically, it’s called an inflorescence.  This one is by far the biggest I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of agave penises in recent months.  I estimate this one is 40-50 feet tall.

I’m now in Jinghong, the largest city in Sipsongpanna, a minority-majority autonomous area in China’s Yunnan province.  It is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen in China. Every major street is lined on both sides with towering tropical trees that shade the sidewalks, and most of the buildings, street lamps and even billboards feature artistic flourishes inspired by the traditional architecture of the Dai ethnic group, giving the entire city a unique and exotic air.

The people are also warm and friendly, a nice departure from most Han-dominated Chinese cities.

Keep tuned for more posts from Malaysia and Laos!

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Kalaw, Myanmar – another environmental disaster

by on Aug.10, 2011, under Posts

As beautiful as it is, Kalaw is not without its environmental problems. The locals depend on agriculture for their livelihood, and sadly, farming practices here are far from sustainable.  As recently as 30 years ago, tigers could still be hunted in this area.  Now there are none left.  The remaining “Reserve Forest” has only been protected because an important water reservoir is located within it.  This tiny patch of protected forest covers less than a single mountaintop, not enough land area to support even one large predator.

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