Quito’s Marsupial Frog
When Home was a Place I knew
I love waking up at the sound of fresh river water and some nice soft grass to jump in. Some days it rains a lot, those are my favorite, and others we get so much light that flowers start to sprout real fast. It’s beautiful to see. My home is quite crowded. There are many of us just jumping and gliding around. Families and families, many kinds of us, some with dots and others with stripes. Anyway, I’m going to get ready for a good fly hunt, they are the best type of meal down here.
Oh I’m sorry! That was rude, I didn’t introduce myself. My name is Rudy, I am a Gastrotheca Riobambae Frog, but everyone calls me “R”. Yeah, I’m the kind with the very distinct green pattern on my back. So today, I will be jumping around a thin band of secondary vegetation just a few hundred meters across and then I’ll make my way to some well-developed forests. There is so much to do in a day! Come with me! Usually my kind stays around the bases of bunch grasses and perched on Frailejon leaves. As I jump around I like to peacefully sit in the fury mosses and carpet plants, what can I say I come from a bog-like micro-habitat. I love staying in these humid areas the most, but I also like to jump around bunchgrass that feels dry, also the smell of fresh air is the best around here. My family and I love to catch on bugs around here, it’s as if they all gather for us! There is plenty of food for us around here because of all the fauna and flora I look at. Usually as I hop around I count the number of different flowers and plants I see, it helps me mentalize where I am and how to get back home.
Anyways, did you know I’ve heard some nasty rumors going on? My city frog friends have told me that our boundaries with the human world are clearly under human influence right now! I don’t think those rumors could possibly be true, because no human has touched these places in so long… what do you think?
It’s getting dark already so I better go back home! It can get dangerous with the other wild frenemies around here. I’m glad I ate a whole lot, food shortage isn’t an existent problem around here at all, unlike my city frog friends. Oh! So as I was saying, the rumors say that our lower boundary around this territory is being influenced by humans due to direct cutting as new fields are opened! I actually have seen that going on some meters away, I just hope they don’t move any closer to us. Now that I remember! I did see some firing in the upper boundary because humans wanted to maintain trade routes open! I mean maybe it wouldn’t be that bad to coexist with humans… at least they aren’t like the ancient humans that believed that burning will bring rain hahaha. Oh how I love rain! Our rain song is the best song you will ever listen to!!! Let’s go listen, it’s almost pouring, hurry!!!
The Day Everything Changed
At first, we thought it was an earthquake, the ground shook, but then it wouldn’t stop shaking. Dust started to accumulate in the air, that is when I remembered that a friend of ours had told us he saw in human TV, that the municipality said that there was going to be a construction of a long road that would connect the city to the airport, then proceeded to admit that they knew that said construction would bring environmental problems.
I couldn’t believe it, even the streams of water were affected by it. Humans wanted to know what would happen to their houses. Where would they be relocated, we sympathize with that. We too lost our home, and much like the humans, there was no plan to relocate us. In fact, it was reassured by one of their officials, I believe that they call him Boroshilov, that the destruction of thousands of acres wouldn’t impact the ecology in a severe way.
But we know, I know that politicians always lie, they don’t care for us. And even when they admitted that our home was going to be affected, they still found a way to dismiss it. They still pretended as if all blind they were going to cut down and then replace with concrete wasn’t going to affect us in a permanent way. How many of them would be gone.
When we thought that we were going extinct, a helping hand came and saved the last of us. At first, we were scared that they were going to hurt us and end our existence once and for all, but they wanted to help us. Humans realized that we were in danger because of our habitat loss, so they planned to save our species by keeping us in captivity for a while. I remember being scared because we were captured and moved to a very small and closed space with no nature among us. We travelled for some time, and we finally arrived at the Vivarium in Quito. I was confused and uncertain of what would happen next since we have never been anywhere besides our home, but my experience was not so bad since that. We were placed in a small but nice room, with food and water. Humans took care of us and observed everything we did. They seemed very concerned for our wellbeing. We stayed there for a while, and our population began to grow. It finally felt as if I was given my family back. Everything we had to go through, all the loss and suffering was in the past. As we began to recover, we were closer to returning to wilderness. That made me happy, but I could not stop myself from thinking what would happen to us the moment we went back. Our home was no longer there. It had been destroyed by the new constructions in the city, and if we went back, then we were going to be in danger again. I guess the only thing left is to wait and see what comes next.
Our New Home
After a bumpy ride and total darkness we stop. I can sense that I am home. Darkness turns into light and around me, I see the hills that I’ve seen since I was a just tadpole. I see the same sky. It took me a moment until I could see clearly. As my eyes get used to the light I realize something is different. I am home, but it is different now. The same tall, elongated creatures that caught me in the first place are all around, “humans”. They are as noisy as ever. One of them grabs me and gently puts me into water. This is my moment, I must escape, I know this place perfectly well. I swim as quickly as I can, thrusting my legs backwards as hard as I can. Suddenly I hit something hard, it must be a rock. I try to go around it but can’t. It is everywhere, surrounding me, a concrete wall. I see the other marsupial frogs trying to do the same but ending up hitting the wall. I have to jump, get out and try to escape jumping as far as I can. I see other frogs trying the same thing, some end up being caught and brought back to the water by the humans. I sense I have a chance and seize it. I jump as far as I can until I am too far away from the scene. It feels weird though, this terrain was hard to jump through, full of trees and other plants. Now it is just plain grass.
I get to a spot where I believe I am unreachable. I watch the scene from afar. There is a small artificial pool in the middle of plain terrain full of grass. Nothing from my home remains. It is all so different. From time to time, huge vibrations shake the ground. They come from these metal monsters that soar through the concrete roads. I guess they will soon stop though, they cannot be passing through here forever.
I am just sitting here processing everything I have experienced during the last two weeks. From the day the mechanical monsters arrived, to my time kidnapped in those dark rooms, to today. Why do humans do such things? What are they trying to accomplish? Is this little pool trying to recreate what was once my home? I will never get their ways. They seem to be friendly in some things they do. I mean, they built us a pool as a way of saying sorry for destroying our home. Again, I don’t get them. The only solution seems to adapt to this new place, maybe find a new home. We have to adapt to this human vision of our world. They seem to be in control, at least they think they are.