HONOLULU, HI – President Obama has signed an order creating the world's largest Marine preserve in the Pacific Ocean, a move the president has said will further protect the natural habitat of America's most treasured amphibians.
Obama made the announcement at a ceremony in Honolulu attended by dozens of officials from the Department of Natural Resources and the III Marine Expeditionary Force. According to White House aides, the decision will set aside almost 64 million square miles from the snows of far-off Northern lands and in sunny tropic scenes where Marines can safely train or deploy from dawn to setting sun without fear of being shot at.
It will also benefit the numerous squids which the Marines maintain a parasitic relationship with and use to migrate over the sea.
Although viewed in many countries as an invasive species, Marines, or Semperus fidelius, could once be found in every clime and place from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. But decades of climate change and overpopulation have mostly confined them to swampland in the eastern United States and a few remote desert and island areas. Various subspecies like the China Marine are all but extinct.
The White House has said this new preserve is far more significant than earlier government attempts at conservation. Back in 1949 the Department of Defense set aside 900 square miles of prime meth-making territory at Twentynine Palms, California to create the first wildlife preserve for Marines.
Scientists at the time feared the Marines would lack access to their traditional diet of smokeless tobacco and caffeine and might be hunted into extinction by the area's native Desert Tortoise. However the Marines eventually adapted a desert pelt for the summer season, and were able to thrive in similar habitats in Bahrain, Iraq, and southern Afghanistan.
While the Pacific Preserve is extremely popular in the U.S., some East Asian governments have already condemned it. Marines have a history of arriving unannounced throughout the region, usually after "piggybacking" on U.S. warships during frequent ports of call, then swarming ashore and embedding themselves in the local red light districts.
After Marines arrived in the Philippines in 1898, the Filipino government spent almost a century trying to remove them.
The Japanese government also sees the new preserve as a setback in its decades-long struggle to remove the non-indigenous Marine presence from Okinawa, ever since they overran the island in the 1940s, exterminated the native Issen Gorin, and repeatedly mated with the local female population.
Some experts, however, see the Pacific as the Marines' natural habitat.
Marine Biologist James Landro has spent years studying Marines in the wild, even being "adopted" by a colony near Camp Pendleton after mimicking their behavior and besting the local alpha males in a pull-up contest.
"The Pacific Ocean is extremely important to the revitalization of Marines as a species," Landro explained. "Many young Marines are born along the coast near San Diego. Hawaii by itself is probably the most significant Marine mating ground on the whole planet. It's where their young abandon the protective shell of the 'mother ship' and wade ashore to begin their exciting lives."