Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

July 27, 2011

Our Gopher Tortoise

Today, as I watched our female Gopher Tortoise scurry under the side fence of our front yard and dive down into her burrow, a sad thought crossed my mind.
She is one of the very few lucky ones.
Each time that she goes out under the front gate and down the road on one of her "journeys", we worry until she comes home again, grateful that she has not been hit by a car.
We moved into the Ocala Forest in 2004 and she and our Airedales have owned us, since.
Harriet, as we call her, has the complete run of our one acre yard and because of her and the scarce green treefrogs, lizards and skinks who share our home with her, no poisons or pesticides are used on our lawn or plants.
She eats her way all over our yard in complete peace and we know that what she eats is the food that she really needs and wants.
It all looks like weeds to us, but she is so happy.
It is all natural, just what she would have found to eat if she came here a thousand years ago.
Does Harriet know that today the FWS, which was organized to protect and to serve our wildlife, has decided that her life and the lives of thousands of others just like her here in Florida do not have a great deal of value to them. 
She, they, cannot vote or donate to political campaigns, so how important can protecting them really be?
Why should these people, who just a few years ago, allowed the wholesale slaughter of her kind when developers were allowed to kill them without concern and over 70,000 were buried alive?
What does this kind of behavior say for us as a race?
I know that you are sick of hearing this, but Gandhi's words ring in my ears again today:
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress, can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by Man from the cruelty of Man. "

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