Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

June 30, 2012

We Will Take It!

A Brown Pelican A Florida Manatee Florida Kemp's Ridley Turtle

Kind of similar to what happened this week in the Supreme Court,
this victory was not exactly what we were expecting.
Not only was this Restore Act a win for wildlife, but at the same time,
the despised Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline rider was left off of the Bill.
The message this all sends is pretty clear, at least for the moment.
Animals are important, clean air and water are important.
And a clean environment is important.
And people everywhere are demanding that we have it.
The people have spoken loudly and clearly all this year and thanks to the
millions of them all around the world who are wired and connected,
networking with Facebook and Twitter, the signatures on petitions went
through the roof and their angry voices were heard all the way to the Senate.
Oil Companies and their greedy CEO's need to start looking for a new place to call home,
America is once again, becoming a safe haven for our wildlife and our environment.

June 27, 2012

The Last of His Kind, Lonesome George!

Lonesome George
                             Photo credit: putneymark
Like Ishi, the Last Yahi, George was also the presumed last of his kind,
a giant Pinto Island Galapagos Tortoise.
When the last of any species is gone forever, we should ask ourselves one question:
"what are we doing to cause this?"
With Ishi, it was simple, Manifest Destiny.
European invaders marched across this country and decimated every Indigenous person
that they encountered along the way, in the pursuit of what they claimed
was their absolute divine right or Manifest Destiny.
The scenario is pretty much the same right now, for many species of animals on this planet,
as their Habitats are being wiped out for hotels, restaurants and shopping centers, while
their water and food sources are being poisoned with chemicals and pesticides.
Species of every type, including we humans, are in danger of extinction due to
our own greed and stupidity.
Living beings all over the world are dying at an alarming rate and the future is
bleak according to the scientists who are studying this rapid demise.
We simply cannot continue on this destructive, selfish path and
not expect a terrible price to be paid.
Unfortunately for the animal kingdom, they are the first price to be paid.
Will we be next?

June 24, 2012

A Ray Of Hope For Florida's Most Treasured Bird

On the Gulf Coast of Florida in Homosassa Springs
right now, there are two doting parents tending to
eggs and if we are very, very fortunate, one or maybe
Whooping Crane
A Whooping Crane
even both of them are fertile.
These two Whooping Cranes are making history for the most Endangered Bird in this Country and if chicks are born, they will probably be sent off to become a part of one of the research programs based out of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland.
Regardless of whatever happens right now, a pair of Florida Whooping Cranes is doing their best to save their own kind from disappearing, forever.
All that we need to do now, is to let them be themselves and stay out of their way.

June 21, 2012

Can You See Through Your Glass Of Water?

This story is so important on so many levels.
Just in case you did not minor in Geology,
here is something that was pounded into my
head by a Professor at CSUN years ago.
Pipeline Spill in North Dakota
Photo: Peter Carrels
When our water is poisoned, it could take as long as 10,000 years
to clean it up.
At the time he was speaking of the poisons in California's water
from the fertilizers and pesticides used in the San Joaquin Valley,
or the Vegetable Bowl of America.
Now, it is Dirty Tar Sands Oil, and it is just as lethal and
will take just as long to clean up.
Millions of innocent people all over this country are being bullied
by these Oil Companies and the environmental disaster certain to be created by these greedy, ruthless people, will be left behind for our
children to contend with for centuries.
The Ogallala Aquifer is just one of many, many American water
sources that are right now in very grave jeopardy.
When our glass is full of toxins, it will be too late to object:
Great story, well done!

June 18, 2012

Can Clams Clean Up Our Coral?

Lucinid Clams               Typical Seagrass Meadows
                                            Photo credits:
                      (L) Lucinid Clams - Laura L. Govers
       (R) Typical Seagrass Meadow - Marjolijn J.A. Christianen

Well, according to the Biologists at the University of Florida, yes!
These little cleaner/sweepers are doing a great job on Florida's,
correction, America's only Coral Reef.
This vital Ecosystem just off our shoreline, has been, like all Ecosystems,
used and abused, so any help that it can get is great.
Enter tiny Clams to the rescue.
The seagrass beds just offshore, absorb much of the bacteria/toxins from
the Ocean and would die a slow, painful death from them, if it were not
for these tiny toxin devouring Clams.
The actual study is here:
An interesting Thesis on the process is here:
Another look at the actual process:
So, the next time you run across one of these little Clams, please say thank you!
The seagrass keeps the Ocean clean, the clams keep the seagrass clean.
It is life in perfect harmony and balance.

June 15, 2012

Two of Florida's Endangered Butterflies Are On The Brink

   A Schaus Swallowtail  Butterfly                      A Florida Miami Blue Butterfly
As if the recent news about the Miami Blue wasn't bad enough, word now comes
that the Schaus Swallowtail, which was thought to be heading out of trouble,
has gone into a downward spiral.
Emergency procedures have been implemented that includes taking some of them
into "protective custody" to save the species from complete extinction.
The causal factors here are the usual: shrinking habitats and the wide spread use of pesticides.
Do we really expect these fragile creatures on the brink of extinction,
to be able to survive these never ending intrusions and abuses by humans
or overcome these kinds of invasions into their worlds?
Why do we act so surprised when they simply just disappear?

June 11, 2012

Wind Farms In Florida, The Good, The Bad And The Extinct!

As a former resident of California, Solar and Wind power
were always just a normal part of our everyday lives.
There was rarely ever any controversy connected to them,
in fact most of us were proud to live in a state that was so 
Birds at Lake Okeechobee
Birds at Lake Okeechobee
Photo credit:
FAU/Richard Botta
devoted to clean energy.
But here in Florida, it is a much different story because we still have lots and lots of at-risk Wildlife.
Huge Wind Turbines, called the Sugarland Wind Project, are currently being considered for an area of about 13,000 acres that Sugarland owns in South Florida, where they can and will potentially do a lot of harm, for maybe just a very small return in useable energy.
If you read the story below from the Miami Herald, as well as the comments, you will get a better understanding of why the biggest objectors to these Wind Turbines are not coming from the usual or expected places, they are coming from Environmental groups, like Audubon and the Sierra Club.
The Everglades,  Lake Okeechobee and a nearby Wildlife Refuge are sensitive habitat areas that are home to a multitude of permanent native or resident birds, as well as a large number of visiting or snow-birds species.
Some of these locals, like the Snail Kite, are an Endangered Species and the idea of losing any more of them could simply be disastrous.
Now, who do suppose is in huge favor of installing these Wind Turbines?
That would be Big Sugar, or Sugarland, who is set to make a fortune off of this deal.
You know, those people who are already poisoning much of the water in South Florida,
including Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades with their toxic phosphorus run offs.
The stakes are very high here and the winners and losers are yet to be determined.

June 8, 2012

Nothing Else Is Working

Although this could seem scary for any another dog,
these specially trained ones from the University of Auburn,
called EcoDogs, will be carefully watched over,
Florida's Everglades National Park
The Florida Everglades
so maybe it just might work.
One thing is for sure, nothing else that has been tried so far
has been effective in removing the most dangerous opponent
the Everglades has ever had, the Burmese Python,
which now number anywhere between 30,000 and 100,000.
These deadly, carnivorous constrictors have made a virtual buffet
out of the Everglades, eating their way from one end of it
to the other.
Thanks to a plan submitted by our own U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings,
there may still be some
hope yet for the most pristine Ecosystem
on the planet, the Florida Everglades.

June 5, 2012

A Tragic Trio: Ignorance, Evil, Cruelty

Reading the story below yesterday nearly broke my heart.
Those of you who read this Blog regularly already know
Our Sweet Harriet
about our own sweet Gopher Tortoise, Harriet.
At some point in our history as a Race or Species, we simply
must start taking at least a little of the responsibility for
the kind of people who do these horrific things.
These three boy/men were not hatched in a biology lab somewhere.
They were born, they had parents and at some point, must have gone
to school, had friends and been a part of our society.
They are not the first to commit these kinds of hideous acts,
nor will they be the last.
Evil has been with us from the very beginning.
Sadly, with the wired world we now live in, news like this travels globally in nano seconds.
These disturbed young men belong to all of us, their crimes are on all of us.
Somewhere, somehow, we missed something we should not have with all three of them.
If we turn away from desperate need in others, we are part of the problem.
As for the tortured creatures whose lives they ended, I need to believe
that they are now in a better, safer, happier place.

June 2, 2012

Do You Really Want To Live In A World Without Bats?

Gray Bat
An Endangered Grey Bat
This often maligned creature is in big trouble right
now and its future may lie in our trembling hands.
Many people fear the bat and with all of the hype from Hollywood,
is it any wonder?
Bats are warm blooded, flying mammals that we should
be praising with every breath.
Because, truth be known, we would be at the mercy of millions of nasty, ferocious bugs without them in our world.
Take this number for instance: 3,000.
One bat can eat 3,000 mosquitoes in just one night!
Since 2006, White-nose syndrome has been wiping this species off of the map,
all but eradicating one bat species after another, all across the Country.
So, we humans had better put our heads together, as a species and help the best friend
we could ever find for insect control, because when the bats are all gone,
the insects my friend, shall inherit the Earth!