1 Jul 2013

Arab Dictators: A National Geographic Special

Arab Dictator of the Gaddafi
genus, caught in Libya and
unfortunately killed by  people
who don't appreciate nature.
These days, everybody is taking more interest in the environment and concern for biodiversity and the welfare of different species is shared by all sensible people. One of the species that has been facing serious challenges in recent years is the Arab dictator, found mostly in the Middle East and North Africa. This native species with its long beak and decorative plumage has long been admired by nature-lovers across the globe, but its numbers are dwindling unfortunately. While not yet at the point of extinction, we must all do everything we can to ensure its survival. We teamed up with National Geographic to provide you this guide for the Arab dictator and what you can do to help preserve it.

Nesting Habits

The Arab Dictator in peculiar among all species in its tendency to build several nests for itself and its mates. These could number in the hundreds as was the case with one particular dictator in Iraq. It thought that this multiple-nest tendency has a defensive function as the natural enemies of the dictator have difficulty locating which nest it’s staying in.

The nests also serve an important function in signalling the dictator’s status and are usually ornate and decorated with the best Italian stone money could buy. This clashes somewhat with the nest’s defensive role but it is not unusual for dictators to exhibit irrational and contradictory behaviour.

Mating Habits

As alpha males, dictators tend to be quite paradoxical in their mating habits. Their status and ornate plumage would allow them to attract several females. But for reasons scientists haven’t been able to figure out they tend to be monogamous, staying loyal to one usually ugly and old female who often plays a pivotal role in public. The Dictatoress is also active in flock activities like collecting seeds and heading NGOs that support the equality of the sexes and education.

Some dictators have been known to indulge their polygamist instincts by surrounding themselves with attractive female bodyguards. This was the case with one from Libya, who also kept a team of sturdy and not very attractive nurses close by. This is explained by the dictators’ survival instinct and their focus on prolonging their lives as they it as a responsibility towards the flock.

Migratory Habits

Dictators tend to settle down and are averse to migration, save for the hot season when they might head to Europe or other destinations for a couple of weeks. This is a feature unique to this species, as migration tends to be recreational rather than functional.

Dictators however have been known to abandon their territory at times of extreme duress when their leadership position is challenged. At such instances, they leave in a hurry usually heading to Saudi Arabia. It is not clear what makes them choose Saudi Arabia, but the local government seems to be welcoming towards them because of its commitment to the environment and species preservation.

Dictator Gatherings

Once a year or so, all the Arab Dictators assemble in one location in a bizarre ritual that scientists are still trying to understand. The dictators gather around in a circle and take turns speaking in a pompous incomprehensible style that could be quite irritating to those not well-versed in the ways of the Dictators. Then they have a big meal and decide where they’re going to meet next year.

Natural Predators and Enemies

Dictators tend for the most part to be predators occupying a position at the top of the food chain. This and their natural cunning explain their longevity and survival despite being beset by many dangers. They are ruthless in confronting dissent and are able to maintain social order, sometimes for decades.

Nevertheless, occasionally momentum builds up among the citizens against the dictators who manage to 'topple' the dictator, a process that is usually accompanied by destroying all the totems he had erected and the symbols of virility he spreads around his territory.

It's not unusual under such circumstances for the person who replaces the dictator to acquire a similar attitude and display similar behaviour, becoming himself a dictator within a few years. There are several recorded incidents like this.

Arab Dictators also form peculiar relationships with a species called the 'American President', one of the few that has a higher status than the Arab Dictator in the food chain. The American President, aided by the smaller and less flashy 'British Premier', form alliances of convenience with Dictators that last as long as they are useful. Once they have ceased to be useful, the Dictator is abandoned in haste and sometimes destroyed in a ceremonial, chest-thumping display. The 'British Premier' plays a secondary role in this process, exhibiting a keen survival instinct to appease the President.

Threat of Extinction

The resurgence of interest in democracy and freedom in recent years had unfortunately contributed to creating existential threats for the Arab Dictator, with people often resorting to removing or even killing them while paying little respect to preservation. New ones have emerged since, but they tend to be dull and have significantly less impressive plumage and style. We hope this article will be a wake-up call for lover of nature to do their best to protect a species that has for a long time been a distinctive addition to biodiversity in the Middle East.

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A specimen of the
'American President',
this one wasn't the
brightest and he's
now in a reserve. 
A 'British Premier' caught in the 90s,
particularly sly and servile towards
the American President. 

The Saddam genus from Iraq,
it has rich fur and ornate
head cover. Sadly also
killed by poachers. 

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Karl reMarks is a blog about Middle East politics and culture with a healthy dose of satire.

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