Environmental officers had to do some emergency landscaping work in Senegal recently, in order to reroute a stream back onto its original course. A passing holy man cursed a waterfall to flow backwards in revenge for splashing his favourite religious text. He obviously didn’t stop to consider the environmental impact of reversing a water feature, and he clearly needs to spend some of his meditating time considering why he is trying to walk and read at the same time.
We generally try not to be judgemental about the actions of religious figures, as they have an annoying habit of claiming that their actions were actually to teach an obscure lesson on some point of religious doctrine, but frankly this one was pretty silly and nearly caused damage to some valuable habitat of the endangered medusa toad.
Medusa toads are often mistaken for a large frog eating a snake, as can be seen in this short video which has been shared recently on social media: http://i.imgur.com/OYSluIL.gifv
In this case the toad must be a juvenile, as the cat has not been turned to stone. They are in great danger from both collectors and habitat loss, even without the meddling of grumpy prophets. Humans with a body mass greater than about 15kg are not at risk from any medusa toad younger than one hundred years, but care should be taken with small children around particularly large specimens.
The stream had been gathering at the top of the waterfall, unable to descend, but a path has now been cut down one side to fill the pool feeding the waterfall. A second path has also been cut on the other side to allow the water to descend again and return to the original stream bed. It’s a complicated solution, but should cause the least disruption to the ecosystem. The alternative would be to dynamite the rocky outcrop and destroy the cursed waterfall completely, but no one is certain whether that would work or just cause the curse to send water wildly in all directions.
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