Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

January 1, 2014

Their World, Their Future~

ARKive – Images of Life on Earth
Picture credit: Animal World

As the world celebrates a New Year, my thoughts are as usual, focused on animals.
Recently there has been a lot of reflection and or controversy about the ESA, the Endangered Species Act turning 40 and whether or not it is, gasp, still necessary.
Merely writing these words sent shivers down my spine.
Since it was first signed into law by President Nixon in 1973, the ESA has seen many successes, as well as a few failures, but the numbers alone, are not the most critical factor, when it comes to the value or worth of this Act/Law.
The single most important reason for its need, is above all,  to provide a buffer zone between humans and their world and the animals and plants/flora, that would face certain peril, or indeed even extinction, if it ceased to exist.
The success stories of the ESA are by now quite familiar: the Bald Eagle, Grizzly Bear, Peregrine Falcon, Gray Wolf, California Condor and a wide array of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
Their track record of success at 99% is most impressive.
The point is, the ESA has made a difference when little else could have.
Now, with the suggestion by some, that the ESA needs an overhaul, if the protection of those on the brink of extinction were left up to as has been suggested, to individual states, where do you suppose their priorities would lie?
In Florida to date, we have seen little evidence that Governor Scott would protect wildlife or wild land, at the risk of offending a potential donor, as he is currently running for re-election and that means not biting the hands of those who write those big campaign checks.
The Governor is, I am sure, being pressured by great hordes of developers to sell them extremely valuable land and let the concrete pouring begin.
I am not against development, but am very much opposed to allowing it to be done in wildlife sensitive areas where many animals right now are already in daily conflicts with humans and dying for merely trying to survive.
Human and wildlife encounters are becoming daily news here in Florida, with the recent tragic Black Bear stories, the ongoing Panthers human/conflicts, Brown Pelicans once again being maimed by those who do not wish to share their fish bounty, wild creatures all over our state being caught and sold out of the country to the highest bidders, it goes on and on.
When the safety and protection of threatened animals is left to those with personal goals, or ulterior motives, animals will always lose.
So, the first priority for me in this brand new year, is to assure that the Endangered Species Act remains the single greatest safety net in this country for those with no voice.
As this new year begins, how many of us are truly aware of that delicate web that holds the lives of so many animals and plants together?
If the ESA is allowed to be altered, as is being proposed right now and the power to control it is  turned over to individual states, what will they do?
Will their first thoughts be of the welfare of those now barely hanging on, or will they be pressured or enticed into building new malls, shopping centers, casinos and condos, and the animals can all be damned?
Please keep this in mind and respond, if like me, you don’t believe that the lives of animals should be controlled by those who may not have their best interests in mind.
It is after all, their world, their future~

Some powerful sources of information about this vital issue:
Endangered Species Act Is As Important As Ever
Keep Endangered Species Act Strong
Grizzlies An Issue As Endangered Species Act Turns 40
The Endangered Species Act  Turns 40
At 40, US Endangered Species Act Faces Attacks 
The Endangered Species Act Celebrates Forty Years Of Wildlife Protection (VIDEO)
Defending The Endangered Species Act
 40 Species For 40 Years Of  The Endangered Species Act

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