Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

February 27, 2014

No Ducks, thank you~

A Rubber Duck
Picture credit:  Alexander Klink

With this posting today, I may lose some of you,   c’est la vie.
I just got a new Petition in my email and felt compelled to pass it along.
Here is the Petition:  Remove violence promoting products in your store
It is addressed to Petco, a store where I do not shop as often as I used to,  because  they do not carry the food that we have chosen for Breanna, which is Wellness Core Ocean.
I have asked for it repeatedly  and they continue to say that they do not carry it.
The products that are in question in this petition are, now comes the hard part, promoting  ” Duck Dynasty.”
Yes,  that Duck Dynasty!
I have just signed the petition and agree with the thinking in it.
Sorry for those of you who are fans of theirs, but please do read the petition and then make up your own minds.
As for me, I do not watch their show because of their  treatment of animals and their comments on gays and other groups.
The show, the cast and the premise of it all,  is in direct conflict with everything that I believe in and is just not for me.
It would be absolutely unbearable to have Duck Dynasty products in my face,  when shopping for Breanna’s food  at any store.
I agree, as  the petition states,  that having these products for sale in the stores,  is in conflict with the image that Petco has worked so hard to achieve.
I may be alone on this, but I’m OK with that~

February 21, 2014

Despicable Deeds

Image: Public Domain

As an impressive list of Global Heads of State assemble in  London to discuss the horror inflicted on wildlife worldwide, our own country has just announced its own set of new rules to play by in dealing with this, or our National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.
What is remarkable is that it is being staged in London where just days ago, the trio of England’s youngest Royals had just returned from a delightful  hunting  adventure.
Are the rest of us expected to say , “Oh, it’s  ok,  they are just carrying on an Ancient Royal Ritual?”
I think not.
These three quite privileged young people knew that what they were doing would offend many in the world and would most likely become front page news right before this important gathering in London.
They most certainly had to be  aware  of the controversy that they would be unleashing.
Doesn’t this all smack of elitist snobbery?
My affection for these three was irretrievably diminished by the sight of them holding up their kills in their hands, I was both disgusted and sickened.
Being wealthy or a Royal from any Country,  should not excuse Sport or Trophy hunting, period.
So, while for the moment, I am pleased  to learn of this announcement by our Government, what about the rest of the world?
Something that I found odd about getting today’s  email from WWF, was that a week or so ago, I had received another email from a DC political group asking me to choose what I considered the most important issue that the President might speak about during his Annual State of the Union  Address.
You know what my response was of course,  ” Global Animal Abuse.”
It may “ take a village to raise a child, ”  but it will take Global Unification to stop the slaughtering of wildlife in every corner of this planet.
It must start young, we need to as parents,  teach our children that animals are not here for our pleasure, or,  God forbid for us to mangle,  murder, or maim, but to be cared for and respected as another species like ourselves.
While this announcement from Washington is welcome, it is by no means the entire solution to the problem.
It is merely a good place to begin.
Wildlife Trafficking is only one small aspect of  Global Animal Abuse, you see humans have found countless other ways to torture, abuse and murder them.
And we must address all of them, not just one.
This must become a  Global Issue of Humanity, to be exposed, explained,  learned and adhered to by all Nations all over the world.
Animals are just as an important species as we are, we simply do not speak their language, so do not know how to talk to them.
This quote was written for my initial effort at Blogging in 2011,  but it is just as relevant today I believe:
“We, the Human Race, are arrogant in thinking that
because we do not understand the language of animals,
that what they are saying is not of consequence.
Indeed, the animals are speaking to us and
for their sake and ours, we must start listening.”

The stories are here to learn more:
US Announces Ambitious Strategy to Tackle Wildlife Crime
The National  Strategy  on Wildlife Trafficking
The Wildlife Fact Sheet

February 16, 2014

Saving Sharks~

A Nurse Shark
Picture credit: Joseph Thomas

With every story written, I read your words, I feel your pain, it is my pain as well.
Like me, you suffer through every terrible bit of news about who and what is being done daily, to innocent animals all over the world, and as one of you remarked on yesterday’s story, you also ” feel hopeless ” sometimes, about all of this, wondering if anything that we do truly matters or makes a difference.
Well, not today, because today is ”feel good Sunday ” and by God I have brought you a feel good story, finally!
If you have been coming here for a bit, you may recall a story written not so long ago, about the despicable act of Shark finning in many countries all over the world.
It sent many of you/us over the top in furious tirades.
Since then, there have been several states and countries who have banned this disgusting practice and things were looking up, then NOAA dropped the hammer on all of it and another wave of fury began.
After all of the Petitions, emails, phone calls and just plain ugly responses (over 24,000 of them) to NOAA’s interference and may I just say, negative and confusing attitude about this terrible Issue, our US Government has finally relented and we, the people, can claim one small victory for at least one of the wild things that we share this planet with.
Although this is a great victory for the sharks, 5 states still remain in question and pressure must continue to be put on them to join this humane and critical step towards saving sharks.
Yes, we can and do make a difference~

The story is below, please do read it and feel good, this is one for them.
We can all take a little credit, because we care and we fight back against all odds to protect ” those with no voice. “
NOAA backs down

February 15, 2014

Powerless Panther

The beautiful Florida Panther
Picture credit: SFWMD

A California water Company was just given permission by the St. John’s Water board to double their daily take of our water this week, even though we are in the third year, of a four-year drought, here in Lake County and Central Florida.
In the three recent drought  years,  our water  levels have been nearly a foot short of normal.
Florida’s aquifers are at alarming levels and being drained all over the state,  God help us if these droughts do continue, for we shall not be able drink the sand.
As our lakes continue to dry up, wildlife is continuously coming into residential neighborhoods hunting for food and water, which  frequently results in their deaths.
It is terrifying  to think of what will happen after this bottling company begins taking twice as much water from our aquifers than they already do and they are assured that they will be able to do so for the next 20 years.
This same Water Board,  is the one who tells us that we can only water our lawns once a week during the dry season!
Did I mention sinkholes?
Guess where many of them are happening in Florida?
That is correct, near the water bottling companies.
Now we have learned that Southwest Florida is about to become the next Texas, as multiple oil companies are about to be given a green light to drill for oil in the last Habitat in the state for the Critically Endangered Florida Panther.
Florida, in my humble opinion, has now become much like other environmentally unfriendly states and is being controlled by special interest money groups with very deep pockets,  who care nothing for the people, places, or animals here.
In Florida, as elsewhere,  the bottom line is now, “ show them the money.”
What is unbelievable, or is it, that this newest assault on wildlife, the Panther in particular,  appears to come with the blessing of the Florida DEP.
How can this be?
The very definition of their  name is  Environmental Protection, right?
How does allowing companies, yes that is plural, to drill for oil in lands so precious to this much beleaguered animal, protect our environment?
Oil drilling in Collier County will be the Panther’s  death warrant.
Of course there is great opposition to this from many sides, those who want to protect the Panther, and those who just want to stop the raping of the few remaining  pristine Florida wild lands.
This is an area that will quickly fall apart if this is allowed to go forward.
Do I believe that it will be  stopped , absolutely not, too much money is at stake here, with out-of-state drilling companies salivating and chomping at the bit to get in and get to drilling.
They have already raped and drilled their own states dry,  so Florida is virgin land.
So, you ask, what do these two Issues have in common?
They are both highly unpopular with the people, but are getting pushed through because of you guessed it, money, kick backs, what ever name you wish to call it.
It is all the same to those of us who live here, we no longer appear to have any say in these things, because the control has been taken away from us.
When it comes to politics, and getting things approved here,  the wealth is pretty equally spread around, checks get written, money always wins.
In my life I have rarely seen so much greed, corruption and dishonesty and it reaches into every corner, every level of the state, from the top to the bottom.
Very few even bother to try to hide their dishonest, deceitful deeds.
They seem to feel, believe,  that nothing will happen to them and they are right.
Corruption in politics in Florida, as with many other states I am sure, is rampant and examples of it are in our news daily.
Florida is up for sale to the highest bidder, animals, water and all living things be damned, just get out of their way and don’t interfere.
Why did we allow this to happen, why are we and the Panther powerless?
You may learn more about both Issues  here:
Interest growing in Collier County oil
St. Johns foolishly approves more water withdrawals from Niagara bottling
Niagara Bottling gets OK to pump
Oil Companies Are Planning to Drill in Florida Panther Habitat
Concern over possibility of drilling in SW Fla.

February 9, 2014

Masticating Mollusks~

Oyster Sloop, Cos Cob
Painting credit: Frederick Childe Hassam

The sun is out here in our part of the  Sunshine State  for the first time this week, the rain has finally stopped, although we desperately needed it, but nearly a week of not seeing sunlight, got to be a bit overwhelming.
And with this bright sun this morning,  finally a chance to bring you some upbeat, cheerful, positive in any shape or form,  good news about Florida’s animals.
This morning on our local news was a story that the possible savior for the highly polluted, severely contaminated,  Indian River Lagoon could be for all of the local residents to hang oyster traps at their the Indian River homes.
If you have been following this Blog for a bit, you may have read one of more of the postings already done on this subject, as  the pollution of the Indian River and the effects on the wildlife that call it home,  has been a thorn in my side since the inception of this Blog last March.
So hearing the story this morning about a new idea, a new thought in cleaning it up,  was very exciting, and it is a natural non chemical solution.
The Award Winning project by the Brevard Zoo has encouraged all the  home owners who live on the Lagoon to get involved in this and help the River recover by putting out Oyster traps out on their docks.
It seems that Oysters collect tremendous amounts of pollutants from the water that they live in.  (having lived in LA for 30 years,  this was not a subject very familiar to me)
It does seem sad that the very good deed the oysters are doing by removing the putrid remains of human neglect,  is ingested into their own bodies.
But, I  have been told by my resident Connecticut Yankee, who is  quite familiar with all of this, that it does not hurt them and that, he says, they thrive on it.
All I can say is  YUK!
It is wonderful that the Zoo in the area where this is all taking place,  is leading the way into the potential renewal of one of the most formerly pristine bodies of water in Central Florida.
The number of wildlife species that are totally dependent on the cleanliness and health of this body of water is staggering.
The numbers that have already died or are now severely suffering is like wise, dolphins, brown pelicans and manatees to name but a few.
A huge Thank you to the Brevard Zoo for implementing this visionary project and God Bless these Masticating Mollusks~
If  you live on the River, or just want to get involved, these are just a few of the places to learn more about the Project:
This is absolutely the finest piece of work that I have ever read about this subject:
Troubled Water: Indian River Lagoon
More about the Oyster Projects:
The Oyster Restoration Project
Blue Life Florida
Water Projects
Oyster Reef Restoration

February 5, 2014

Bye Bye Butterflies

The stunning Monarch Butterfly on its life-giving Milkweed.
Picture credit:  Tiago J. G. Fernandes

When our time on this planet is over, how do you think that our generation of humans or our species will be remembered?
If the rapid rate of death for so many Threatened and Endangered Species is any indicator, we will most likely be thought of in much the same light as the gladiators of ancient Rome.
The present state of existence for the beautiful Monarch butterfly is in a free fall and the major cause of it,  is not a shock to those who love animals.
The  multitude of heinous acts committed by Monsanto and the ever increasing devastation of living things on our planet is a direct result of their herbicides and pesticides.
This toxic soup is being force-fed to innocent  animals, plants and humans, without prejudice, as Monsanto is an equal opportunity chemical assassin.
The continuous overuse of their number one selling product, Roundup,  is the prime culprit in the decimation of North American milkweed and it has nearly wiped the plant off of the planet.
You see, Milkweed is mother’s milk for the Monarch and without it, their numbers have declined just this year alone, by 44%.
Their annual winter travels from all over North America south to Mexico, are legendary: Migration and Overwintering
In the past their numbers were staggering, at between “60 million and 1 billion butterflies arriving in the area any given year,” now they are but a pale reflection of their former glory and their prospects for the future grow dimmer each day.
In the end, or ultimately, it is not only the Monarch that are being decimated, it is people, animals and plants all over the world and Monsanto knows exactly what they are doing.
The question remains, what are we going to do?
The only American company with more money and power than Monsanto is Wal-Mart.
So, does it come as any surprise, that between them these two pretty much run this country?
Our Politicians know who writes their campaign checks and refuse to stand up to either of them.
Here is the Petition and  if you agree with its thinking, please do sign it and pass it on:
Monsanto: Stop the use of your Monarch-killing herbicide
Places to learn more about this story:
Monarch Population Hits Lowest Point in More Than 20 Years
Monarch Butterflies drop, migration may disappear
New Report Shows Monsanto A Major Culprit in Record Decline of Monarch Butterflies
Butterflies are on the Decline and Monsanto’s GMO Crops are a Major Reason Why
The Missing Monarchs