From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Island: Creation's haven

CIA Map of Christmas Island (Public Domain)
Contrary to popular opinion, Christmas Island is not primarily populated by Christians.  The CIA World Factbook states that in 1997 it was 36% Buddhist, 25% Muslim, 21% Other, and only 18% Christian.  However, on Christmas Day of 1643, Captain William Mynors of the British East India Company happened to be sailing past this "quadrilateral" dab of terra firma in the midst of the great Indian Ocean.  Hence the name…

Wikipedia reports that the island's 1,403 human
residents live in settlements on the northern tip.
Their ethnicities are as follows: 70% Chinese, 20% European, and 10% Malay.  They no doubt enjoy the tropical climate and dramatic vistas of their paradisiacal surroundings.  Nevertheless, it is their non-human neighbors that benefit the most.

Because Christmas Island is quite isolated (e.g. more than a thousand miles from its current "mother ship" Australia), it was uninhabited by people until late in the 19th century.  Therefore, it hosts "many unique species of fauna and flora… which have evolved independently of human interference."  There remain at least 18 plant species which can be found nowhere else on earth.  The island's forest is "the only nesting habitat of the Abbott's Booby [an endangered seabird] left in the world."  The Christmas Frigatebird [also endangered] nests on the north-eastern shore terraces.  Other animals – such as the Christmas Island Flying Fox, the giant gecko, and the pink blind snake - are also endemic to this special place.

Two-thirds of the island is now a national park - dedicated to the preservation of unique wildlife.  In a very real sense, Christmas Island has become a haven for God's precious Creation.


Copyright December 25, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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