Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

March 30, 2012

Restoration Money Goes To Those Who Best Understand Mother Earth

The Everglades Snail Kite
The Miccosukee people of Florida will get 
Tribal Wildlife grant money of  $199,0000 to
help restore the damage done to the
the habitat of the Endangered Snail Kite
and to deal with Mercury contamination.

March 27, 2012

Can A Tiny Skink Stop A Million Dollar Project?

The only thing that is better than this story is when a
Gopher tortoise shuts down a huge development dig!
A Florida Sand Skink
Although we have lived here since 2004,
I have only seen this elusive creature once.
It slid across the grass one hot summer day,
right up to the front step where it sat quietly for
a moment and then died right it front of me.
I had no idea what it was or even if it was safe to do so,
but I picked it up and carried it into the house.
I studied it, then googled it and learned about it.
It was a beautiful, endangered silver sand skink, that now has its own
page here and hopefully one day, another will bless us with its presence.

March 24, 2012

I Have Nothing to Say Today

A Florida Black Bear
I need time to grieve for HER and somehow deal with her senseless death.
She did not need to die!

March 23, 2012

She Is Dead

The mother Black Bear who bit a Condo resident
last week is dead, they killed her.
A Florida Black Bear
Please lock up your garbage,
I don't want to die! 
Her baby, they say, has been shipped off to a 
Marion County Endangered Animal Sanctuary.
This will, I repeat, will happen again and again.
Do you know why?
Because absolutely nothing, has changed in this
situation, except that this young mother was killed.
The trash crates are all still at the doors of these
Condo residents and likely everywhere else across
Central Florida.
Condo garbage dumpsters are not secured and this
will keep happening until someone at the top ends this 
needless nightmare, by passing some real legislation with teeth in it.
A law must be passed to hold condo management and owners, as well
as home owners responsible for their garbage.
A beautiful, wild, warm blooded animal should not have to die
because lazy, thoughtless, idiots refuse to lock up their garbage.
Remember the line in Avatar?
"This is your fault, they did not need to die."
She did not need to die!

March 21, 2012

What Do Ted Turner and the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Have in Common?

Well, Ted is a gazillionaire who actually uses his wealth
to care for Endangered Wildlife on this planet and
Red Cockaded Woodpecker
Red Cockaded Woodpecker
this particular woodpecker, the Red Cockaded
is one of those fortunate wild animals that he is
helping to save from extinction.
Actually, this very rich, most private man, has done
this repeatedly throughout his life.
He simply, quietly, without a lot of back patting and
press, goes about the very important business of trying
to save Endangered wild things from dying on his watch.
Turner is one of the good guys and even though he
doesn't care one bit for this sort of thing,
"Hey Ted, you truly are a great guy and thank you
from all of those who cannot speak, at least not in a
language that we humans can understand."

March 18, 2012

It Is Mommy and Baby Bear Season Right Now In Central Florida

We have another, let me repeat that, another tragic Black Bear
situation here in Central Florida.
A young bear mother with a cub who may lose her life today.
Read Jarhead's story
Please ask why?
Because she had the audacity to eat at the Condo Bear Buffet in Orlando.
This particular Condo Complex has countless residents and it would appear that every single one of them has a crate right at their front door filled with garbage.
They also have on these same Buffet grounds, very large dumpsters that do not appear to even be closed, let alone bear proofed.
So, enter the mama bear and her baby one night this week, doing what every hungry bear in a buffet will always do, eating the food left out for them.
A woman came up on the snacking pair at the open dumpster with her dog and everybody panicked.
The woman turned to run away, terrified and fell down, the bear bit her on the back side.
No, the lady was not critically injured, just some stitches, I believe.
Traps have now been set and FWS says that because the mamma bear, with her cub in tow, bit a person, it must be killed.
They say they do not know what will happen to the cub.
Okay, we went through this exact same situation, minus the biting, very recently and there was a tremendous uproar, everybody went nuts about the mamma bear and the baby.
In the end the mamma bear was killed, we were not told what became of the baby.
Now, here we are again.
Yes, I called PETA and asked for intervention on Saturday morning.
They said, they are aware of the situation and that it is tragic.
Translation, they don't want to go up against FWS in this case.
There is a solution, but absolutely no one wants to do it.
Not the Condo Mangers/Owners or the residents of this and countless other similar residences here in Black Bear country in Central Florida.
We must enforce the "keep trash locked up" or Black Bear Trash rule.
If there is no "bear buffet," the bears will go away.
Every time they come into populated areas, the same thing happens, bears get killed.
Being "bear aware" should be a law when you live where they live.
Bears will eat what is easiest to get and when it is constantly put right in front of them......
Condo owners and residents need to look in the mirror when this next mother and baby die because of their lazy, selfish refusal to do what is right to save them.
We should also be going to schools and talking to kids and teachers about this.
You know how this idea works:
"Mommy we shouldn't put our trash there, the bears will come and then the mommy bear will get killed."
Trash Education can save a life, a bears life.

March 15, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Okay, maybe only giraffes, zebras, rhinos, hippos and tapirs.
This could only happen in Florida, right?
After all, this is the land of the Magic Kingdom and the Orlando Magic.
A bill, HB1117, surprisingly called the Jurassic Park Bill,
has just been approved in Tallahassee and only awaits the governors' signature
to become a law that will then allow zoos to turn wild animals loose to graze.
What ?
I saw this two days ago and had to open my big mouth, of course, in response to a
quite thoughtfully written story by Frank Cerabino of the Palm Beach Post.
My usual, unemotional, unbiased comments in response to his story were as follows:

"How much more can the beleaguered wildlife in this state endure?
The list of endangered plants and animals is now hovering at 200.
Habitats have been given away to developers, golfers, boaters and
let's not forget the Cross Florida Barge canal to nowhere.
Panthers are hit and killed nearly every day because they have nowhere else to go,
Gopher Tortoises are buried alive for buildings, Birds and Butterflies
are driven from their ancestral homes for recreational facilities.
When, where does it end?"

March 13, 2012

Oh, Joyous Spring

Our Gopher Tortoise, Harriet
This morning our wayward Gopher Tortoise Harriet,
popped up out of her hole and sat for quite some time
basking in the warm sunlight at the edge of her burrow.
Once she was warm enough, she began cleaning and sweeping
the opening and as to be expected, sand went flying everywhere~
Her next move was to enjoy her favorite "weeds" that we never
remove in the yard.

Hunger taken care of, she disappeared back down into her domain.
Today is the first time that we have seen Harriet since winter began.
We hold our breath every time that she disappears for long periods,
never knowing if she has left us for a better place to live, or been
run over while ambling down the busy road on the other side of our
fenced property.
So, seeing her this morning is cause for celebration.
She is home, she is safe and hopefully will spend the entire summer eating
everything that she loves here, all of which have no pesticides to harm her.
Welcome to Spring Harriet!

March 12, 2012

To Keep Hydrilla, or Not, That is the Question~

Lake Toho is engaged in a multisided battle with a plant,
some fishermen and some duck hunters.     
A male Florida Snail Kite
A Florida Snail Kite
The plant is Hydrilla and it was introduced into the lake
many years ago, for what purpose, is not exactly clear to me.
The plant has spread and taken over every place that it touches,
like most weeds do.
Enter the Everglades Snail Kite, the key word here is Everglades Snail Kite.
This beleaguered bird was driven from its ancestral Everglades home by human greed and has just recently fairly successfully taken root in Lake Toho.
The kite's primary food is a snail that loves the Hydrilla, so the snail has food and
the kite has food, problem solved.
But wait........
The recreational people mentioned above, who use Lake Toho are now going head to head
and nose to nose over just how much Hydrilla should be allowed to remain in the Lake.
Each group has their own opinion and legal forces to speak for them, all that is, except for
the Everglades Snail Kite, who was just about to be come the Toho Snail Kite.
This bird has been pushed and shoved to accommodate selfish, self centered groups who
care nothing about it or its ultimate fate.
All that each of these groups want to know is, "will I get what I want?"
Who will speak for the Kite?
This very well written story gives a clear history of all involved.

March 9, 2012

We the 99%, Say NO!

If you still believe that your opinions, your phone calls, your emails do not matter, please see the page below.
Passionate people like you and me, can and do, change minds and hearts.
Okay maybe not hearts.
But the point is, that the power we now have because of our wondrous wired world, we are able to reach out and touch those who are controlling our lives in Washington and globally, every day.
Thanks to facebook, twitter, texting and just plain email, dissatisfied, issue educated, thoughtful humans everywhere are saying, no more!
We have shown in the few past months that we will not go away because we the people, now have this power and will not stop until we get what we want.
Lesson learned, keep posting on facebook, twittering, texting and sending those emails, keep calling your elected, well paid politicians in the Senate and the House, clearly letting them know, that if they do not do what you/we want, you/we will vote them right out of office.
See how long they can live on what the lobbyists give them then!
So, please read the Roll Call page below and pat yourself on the back for a job done well:
Keystone Pipeline rejected, Arctic drilling rejected, Gulf Spill Restore Act passed.

March 6, 2012

My MIA Green treefrogs

It has been pretty warm here for a bit and the familiar
A Female Green Treefrog
My Florida Green Treefrog
green lizards/anoles and southern toads have all
been returning, a little more each day.
In fact today, we had our first ruby-throated hummingbird
at the kitchen window since last fall.
The beautiful yellow finches (snow birds) are here in the
highest numbers since we moved in and of course the visiting
Robins are
happy to bathe with our resident birds.
But what is sorely missing are my little green treefrogs.
(Yes, the correct spelling is green treefrog according to UF Biologists)
They are such a treasure to us and we have sadly noticed that each year,
there are fewer of them than the year before.
Now with spring in full swing in Florida and all of the others checking in,
it is more than just a little concerning that we have not seen even one by now.
Many Florida Biologists consider them to be the bellwether of our states'
overall well being, so this cannot be good news.

March 3, 2012

The Disappearing Wood Stork

For the past five years, the Wood Stork has had fewer
A Florida Wood Stork
and fewer successful nesting seasons in the place where
it historically has had the highest numbers in the country,
the Corkscrew Swamp in South Florida.
Now in the sixth year of a downhill curve, things do not
look any better for this very endangered bird.
An unforgettable memory for us of this magnificent bird, came about six or
seven years ago in an area near Lake Okeechobee, out on a long fishing pier.
A man standing near us was obviously engaged with a Wood Stork in a humorous situation,
so we stayed to watch the show.
The man would wait for a bite and quickly begin to reel in his catch, but just as soon as he did,
the bird would jump and snatch
his prize right off of the hook.
It was both funny and amazing to us, but not so much for the frustrated fisherman.
He said, "Just as soon as I catch one, he jumps in and takes it, I've been here all day
and it hasn't stopped."
But we could see, that he did not really seem to mind all that much about his losses.
Thinking about the lack of food and habitat left for this beautiful bird now, we had actually
witnessed a tragedy in the making.
When a species become so hungry that it will stand and fight with a human for something to eat,
what should that tell us?
Couldn't we all manage with one less recreational lake area to fish, boat, swim, picnic,
play and party in, to save a species in a desperate state of existence?
The Wood Stork used to number in the thousands here in Florida,
but they have been completely decimated.
They are on the brink and could use a little help from us, before it is too late.