Pato Poc

pato+pochttp://www.chilanguerias.com/6-animales-extintos-en-esta-decada/patopoc/

As an international student, I wanted to share with you guys the story of a duck species that used to live in one of our lakes called: Atitlán Lake.  I say used to live because Pato-Poc, also known as Giant Grebe is extinct.  So you can have an idea of how he was… this creature was about 46-50 cm and it looked like the pied-billed Grege. The color of its feathers was dark brown with white flecked flanks. The head was almost black and the neck dark brown that changed from spring to winter (in winter it was white). The wings were very small and flightless.

Sadly the decline of the species started in 1958 after an specific fish called smallmouth bass. This fish reduced the amount of crabs and fish that was the main food for the duck. There were several attempts to reestablish the amount of ducks in the lake, but sadly it was not successful and in 1983 there were only 32 ducks in the lake. The last two birds were seen in 1989 and after this year, they disappeared. No ducks are alive in Atitlan Lake or any other place on Earth.

This is really sad. In high school our science teacher always showed images and stories about this duck. I am glad that there were corporations and people who tried to save them.  But at the end I understand that it is the circle of life… Some species will disappear, and some will appear… I guess we need to always be grateful for what we see because who knows? Maybe next year we wont have it any more.

-Maria Anleu

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