A Natural Pyramid Protects This Decades-Old Secret
In the South Pacific, off the coast of Australia, only a few miles past the historical Lord Howe Island is Ball’s Pyramid.
Ball’s Pyramid, named after Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball of the Royal Navy, has a unique story behind its creation. Millions of years ago a shield volcano began creating layers that would eventually build a natural pyramid.
The Secret Foundation
The submerged foundation is so massive that it meets all the requirements for consideration as a continent.
It’s the underwater environment, and stunning geographical conditions make it an excellent spot for experienced divers who want experience in shark-inhabited waters.
The Amazing Wildlife
The struggle that kept people off the sea stack for nearly a century was the edges of the island. Bally’s Pyramid has jagged edges which made any research about environment or wildlife extremely difficult. But in 2001, two Australian scientists and a local ranger discovered an extinct species of insect on the pyramid alive and well.
In 1918 an infestation of rats from a ship landing on Lord Howe Island destroyed the bug’s population, and scientists thought of them as extinct.
The Last Of Their Kind
They initially found 24 Lord Howe Island Stick Insects. Unfortunately after many more thorough searches of the island, there were no other insects found. These 24 were the last of their kind, anywhere in the world. After two years of debate, the Australian government allowed for 4 of these insects to enter a breeding program.
The hope of the breeding program might mean that these insects have a chance of survival. On the brink of extinction, two insects were handed off to a successful breeder of walking stick insects, but both died almost immediately.
The Last Hope
At the Melbourne Zoo, Partick Honan a member of the invertebrate conservation breeding group took over, naming the two remaining insects, Adam and Eve. As of 2008, the zoo houses about 700 mature Lord Howe Island Stick Insects and carries about 11,000 incubated eggs at any given time.
Release into the Wild
Finding a home and established habitat for the insects proved a problematic topic. Lord Howe Island still has a large rat population which would put the insects in danger again, and it has human inhabitants. Most of which don’t want giant insects around.
Currently, the critically endangered insects are still under the care of the Melbourne Zoo. But the zoo wasn’t the only one hard at work.
On Ball’s Pyramid, an expedition in 2017 gave hope that the initial population of 24 has had success breeding as well. Ball’s Pyramid does not have a sustainable environment for a large population of these insects and finding them a permanent home is still a problem.
The Melbourne Museum and Zoo began working together to make the bugs appear more appealing. Or, at least more appealing than rats, so the inhabitants of Lord Howe Island would allow the insects to reemerge in their native habitat.