April 29, 2014
A Gulf Sturgeon jumping on the Suwannee River
Picture credit: Tim Ross
Just in case you don’t live in Florida and/or have never been to the beautiful and famous Suwannee River and seen this phenomenon in person, please take a look at one of the Youtube videos below.
It is an amazing and exciting spectacle to watch and see happen live.
This oddly beautiful fish looks and acts like few others and seems almost mythical.
Each year about this time, animals everywhere are in the mood for love and the Gulf Sturgeon are no exception to this Spring Ritual.
This annual trip each year, from the warm waters of the Gulf, North to the Suwannee River, is for this Sturgeon, a return to their Ancestral home to spawn.
Once this is completed, they will return to the Gulf of Mexico for the remainder of the year.
There are, of course, signs to warn those new to the area, of the dangers that could be involved with this magical occurrence that they are about to witness.
Being out on a small boat in the river when the Sturgeon do get active, has proven hazardous in the past, when they can jump as high as seven feet in the air.
” The primeval Gulf Sturgeon, whose ancestral beginnings are older than Dinosaurs may date back as much as 200 million years, or about the same time as Sharks.” From my Gator Woman Gulf Sturgeon page.
What make this Ancient fish so unique, is its primordial appearance, its many rows of armor or scutes and it is these bony plates, combined with their average weight of about 40 pounds, that are the primary reason why an actual encounter with this quite large fish could and would be most painful.
Although this is considered to be the average, they can be as long as eight feet and weigh up to two hundred pounds, making this quite the fish to be reckoned with in any scenario~
Thankfully, there were no reported injuries to humans last year, from human and fish collisions!
Experts say that recently things seem much calmer and quieter, but then, the season is just getting underway.
So, if a mini vacation or trip to the South is in your plans, why not come on up or down, as the case may be and stroll around the Park grounds, or float on a boat on the gorgeous Suwannee River.
Florida Gulf Sturgeon are, like so many of our most exquisite wildlife, a protected species.
This means that no one is allowed to catch it or kill it!
Places to learn more:
Gulf Sturgeon ( An Excellent NOAA page)
Youtube Video of Jumping Sturgeon
Giant Jumping Fish Return to the Suwannee River
Jumping sturgeon return to north Florida river
Boaters Warned Of “Flying” Fish
Sturgeon returning to the Suwannee River
April 24, 2014
A small example, (not actual) of the many kinds of animals that this Wildlife Hospital rehabilitates every year.
An owl, a hatchling turtle, a fawn and a gopher tortoise (Our resident Tortoise Harriet)
Picture credits: Baby turtle – Manuel Heinrich
OK, who doesn’t love a baby shower?
But for this one, you can leave the bibs and diapers at home and instead bring bird seed and kibble.
You see the babies that this shower is being held for, all have either feathers or fur, or??
The people and the place that will be hosting this Baby Shower, is the Florida Wildlife Hospital in Palm Shores, Florida, which is near Melbourne and Palm Bay, in Brevard County.
This non-profit rescue and rehabilitation facility is holding its 8th annual Baby Shower and like most fund-raisers, they are hoping that you will come and see what they do and why and bring your check book with you.
Or, at the very least put a box or two of food for their growing collection of dependent creatures, into the loving and caring hands of the many hard-working volunteers here.
This organization began 42 years ago and is run by a host of volunteers and their Director Sue Small.
The Hospital has over 4,000 members and they are always looking for more to join them.
The cost of caring for all of these creatures is jaw dropping.
The operators of this wonderful organization are aware that many other needy groups get a huge portion of the press and news attention, but are hoping that some of the generosity and love available in Central Florida and beyond, will find its way to their facility and help them to care for the creatures who depend on them to stay alive.
Knowing the kind of people who live here and how much they love animals, here’s hoping that they will be rewarded with what they need, to continue operating this place of safe haven for injured animals in Florida.
They offer educational programs for a nominal donation, which is explained on their website.
The Baby Shower will be on May 3, 2104, from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Palm Shores Town Hall, 530 Paul Hurtt Lane, ½ mile south of the Pineda Causeway on the West side of U.S. 1
For more information, please call them at: 321-254-8843
This is a FREE event with children’s activities.
There will be food to purchase as well at a bake sale.
Their web site, which is loaded with pictures, is very helpful and has a lot of great information:
Florida Wildlife Hospital
They have a “Wish List” and Donations are accepted through Pay Pal on the website.
The hospital is open 365 days day a year to admit patients.
Places to learn more:
Wildlife hospital hosts animal baby shower
Wildlife Hospital Video You tube
April 22, 2014
Stuntman Dar Robinson and Actor/Environmentalist Iron Eyes Cody, two kind and gentle men.
Many years ago in California, I had the privilege of meeting a person who was often shown in commercials to tug at the heart-strings of us all, to treat our Planet or Mother Earth better.
This man and I were introduced one night at the Artists and Models Ball in the late 1980′s.
I had been sent to cover the event for the Entertainment section of the LA newspaper I worked for at the time.
Meeting him that night, I was struck by his gentle, kind demeanor.
He truly was, exactly like the person he portrayed in the Environmental commercials for so many years.
His name was Iron Eyes Cody, or as those of us in California loved to call him, The Crying Indian.
He made a huge impact, just as he and this commercial were meant to do, on the status of a beleaguered Earth and his commercial was ALWAYS a central part of any California Earth Day event.
I will not discuss the controversy over his ancestry, it is not why I admired his work.
What this man did then and will always do, is to make me aware of the irresponsible, often cruel way that Humans treat this place that they owe everything to, while showing her such little regard or respect.
This commercial and the campaign worked, and began a movement that started in California and spread throughout the country, to change or at least rethink, our bad behavior.
But that was then, what have we done as a species since then, to lessen our heavy footprint on this Planet?
Many groups and organizations in the United States are working tirelessly to reverse the damage already done, some are successful, some are not.
The point is, that because of Earth Day and the promotional awareness that it brings with it, Environmental Issues remain on the table.
An example, this morning on our local news, was a story that made me smile.
Darden Restaurants Inc.,whose home office is in Orlando, has begun a brilliant project.
At several of the restaurants in their chain, they are saving food scraps in a project that has them working together with Organic Matters, who is a local organic recycler.
These scraps are then being used to feed chicken and cows.
The result of this new plan, is that less food will end up in our land fills and many more animals will have a better, more natural food source.
It is a win-win.
Can the rest of the country consider picking this great idea up?
I have faith in us, with a little encouragement, we humans do try to get it right.
So, on this Earth Day, if you eat out somewhere, perhaps you might ask the owner or manager of the place, if they have heard of this idea and if they would be willing to follow suit?
We have nothing to lose and hearing about all of this, the Crying Indian may just be smiling from his final resting place.
God Bless you Iron Eyes, you were such a special man with a giant, gentle heart.
I am grateful to have known you, if only for just one night.
Places to learn more:
Darden turns scraps into animal feed
Food Waste Alliance
April 20, 2014
Our beloved Florida Panther
Picture credit: John White
What day is it?
It is once again finally, feel good Sunday.
In a recent vote that looked sure to go the other way, Exploratory Gas drilling was rejected by the Big Cypress Swamp Advisory Committee.
It is still unfathomable to me, that the recommendation for this disastrous idea came from the Florida EPA.
What are they thinking in Tallahassee?
The risks here for extinction, for the single most beleaguered mammal in the entire country, the Florida Panther, are now as high as they have ever been.
Why on Earth would they have ever offered this up to be considered in this area to begin with?
They are certainly more than aware of the fact, that this is the Ancestral Habitat for the Florida Panther and that if there is an OOPS, it could spell the end of our ” State Animal. ”
Any mistakes, any spills, any accidents of any kind, will likely finish off this beautiful animal, who once freely roamed this entire state and is now holding on, in merely a fraction of the space that it needs to exist, by the barest of threads.
Right now, Florida’s Panthers are dying or being killed, as fast as they can reproduce, their gene pool is now so reduced, that cats from Texas were brought in a few years ago, to avoid the similar catastrophe that is happening with the also likely standing on the brink of extinction, African Cheetah.
The Panther’s ranges have been cut, reduced, or just out right stolen, by various State or Government groups, for a myriad of other uses, none of which are not now, nor ever will be, more important than the lives of this critically endangered animal.
If you have the time, please read some of the signs in the picture at the bottom of the reference story.
These words, these thoughts, represent the feelings of the completely ignored and overruled in this state, who just don’t happen to have a permanent place on the floor in Tallahassee, or any well paid Lobbyists to do their talking and walking.
They are doing it the only way that they can, the hard way, with their voices and hopefully with their votes in the next election.
We need to put people in office in Florida, who care more about our priceless living things, than campaign donations, or money in the bank.
So, thank God, on this beautiful Easter Sunday, the score is: Panthers One, Drilling Zero!
Places to learn more:
This Sierra Club website is about to become, by the looks of it so far, a new favorite.
Sierra Club Florida News
Big Cypress Swamp Advisory Committee Votes to Deny Oil Drilling
DEP Advisory Committee Says No to Oil Drilling in Big Cypress Swamp
April 16, 2014
A Florida Black Bear Cub
Picture credit: FWC
**An update 4/17/2014 5 AM**
FWC just announced that there will be fines and possible jail time for anyone caught feeding Bears.
This comes too late for SEVEN Black Bears!
Today with heavy and trouble heart, I am imploring you to do something for an animal that you do not know.
This week has been nearly impossible to get through for those of us who live in Central Florida.
As of this writing, SEVEN Black Bears have been killed here in the greater Orlando area.
What is mind-boggling is this, FWC say that they have no way to know if any of them is the one who hurt the woman, as DNA tests take time to get back.
Their second explanation, or reason for continuing the killings, is that the Bears are showing “no fear of humans.”
Let’s see, Bears comes into a neighborhood, bordering right up to where they live and these kind humans leave it something to eat and enjoy the sight.
Bear thinks, Human good!
Result, no fear!
If you remember, the last time, a woman taking out her trash with her dog was bitten, but it was not until after other innocent Bears had been killed, that they said the one responsible was a mother with two cubs, who had felt threatened by the woman’s dog and was probably protecting her cubs.
They were shipped off to Busch Gardens in Tampa.
And DNA eventually proved that the ones killed were not the ones who bit the woman.
I have just called our Governor and made a passionate plea for him to get involved.
Of course I did not speak to him, my message and my name were taken by a nice person in Tallahassee, just doing her job.
Next, I am calling Nick Wiley, the head of Fish and Wildlife here, to repeat the same exact message.
Two questions are keeping me boiling mad right now.
If this were not a gated, wealthy suburb of Orlando, would there be such an abundance of concern for this neighborhood?
Are there people in this wealthy gated community, as has been whispered, who have been feeding the Bears?
Bear are simple souls really, they go where the food is.
The fact that so many of them were at this woman’s garage indicates a food source.
Did she, or are others in this neighborhood, breaking the golden rules of being “Bear Aware” for Central Florida and all other Bear areas here?
For example: Garage or other outside building doors left open at night or trash/garbage or other intentional “Bear attracting food” left out on purpose, or by ignorance?
We all, who live here and love the Bears, know about these few simple rules and for the most part do abide by them.
Where we live near the Ocala Forest, Bears roam freely all around us.
So, why don’t we have any Bear problems like they appear to have continuously near Orlando?
It could be, because we here in the Forest, have hopefully by now, learned how to protect ourselves and them from harm.
We don’t invite them into a “trap of death” by doing wrong things.
So, here is my request, of any of you who follow, read or support the thinking of this Blog.
Will any of you, if there is no financial hardship for you, please call this number: 850 488 – 7146
This number is for the state of Florida’s Governor’s office.
All you have to do is say how you feel about the fact that our FWC has already killed SEVEN Black Bears and ask how many more are going to be killed and why?
And, if you still have any unvented passion left after that, here are some other numbers:
850 487-3796 FAX 850 921-5786
These numbers are for Nick Wiley, Executive Director Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Also, his email: Nick.Wiley@myfwc.com
When the Florida Black Bear was taken off of the Threatened List in 2012, I was very concerned about their future welfare, so I called FWC and asked if their next move was going to be to have an open season or legalize hunting of them?
I was told of course not, that is not going to happen.
But the way things are going this week here, they won’t need to, it looks like Open Season on the Black Bear has already begun here in Orlando, just read the numbers!
April 15, 2014
A bee performing the miracle that keeps the whole world running~
Picture credit: Bob Peterson/ Jacopo Werther
If like us, Spring at your house means working in your garden and/or your yard, here are some things that you may wish to consider before you begin.
In my email this morning was a new round of pleading from one of my favorite sources for keeping our Planet safe, the Cornucopia Institute.
They are once again, repeating a request for us all to stop using a certain type of insecticides in our yards because of the mortal effects they are having on our bees in America.
Bees and all pollinators are dying by the millions and it is having a ripple effect all across our Planet.
On the Weather Channel this week, a sad example was demonstrated live on the set, bees are being born with crumpled wings and only living a day or two, because they cannot fly, the source or cause of this deformity is mites.
Two more recent possibilities that have been reported as possible, or probable, causation for the massive Global bee deaths, are extremely cold weather and a plant virus.
So, when all of theses factors occur within a short period of time, the mites, pesticides, extreme cold and plant viruses, the world’s bees bite the dust by the millions.
Many are calling this phenomenon, a Beepocalypse.
We do not use any pesticides on our property because of our Airedale Breanna and our Gopher Tortoise Harriet.
We also do not wish to have our beloved green tree frogs or lizards killed by them.
Pesticides, like Monsanto’s Round Up are just plain lethal to all livings things, they are equal opportunity killers.
Insecticides have already been banned in Europe.
Surely if they can do this to save our Global pollinators and their food supplies, we can as well?
Another point to remember, if you like to eat, think about what the bees and pollinators do for all of us, every single day of their lives.
Without them out there doing their jobs, our food supplies would dwindle and quickly.
No bees, no food, no flowers, no people.
Pretty simple really, isn’t it.
As a result of the massive backlash against these lethal products, most lawn and garden departments now carry and are happy to refer people, to the ones that are safe, or safer and more natural and have a less harmful effect on all that comes in contact with them.
Here in Florida, this has now become a problem of nearly historic levels for areas like the Indian River Lagoon area.
This Ecosystem has seen catastrophic wildlife death numbers in the past few years from multiple causes, but the primary one is considered to be toxins in the water.
Pesticides used on our yards and in farming, are the worst offenders in Florida.
Manatees, Dolphins, and birds are sick and dying here and the water that they depend on for life, is to blame.
The only way to fix this, is for all of us to become very concerned and careful about what we use and do with any chemicals.
Is your yard being perfectly emerald-green worth an animal’s life?
Please remember Floridian’s, what goes on our lawns and on our land here, ends up in the aquifer and eventually in our drinking water.
Do you really know what is in that glass of water you are drinking today?
Places to learn more:
Why Bees are Dying
Why Congress Should Care About the Beepocalypse
Center for Food Safety
More than 50,000 bees killed in Oregon, insecticide blamed in largest bee die-off in recorded history
Bees Dying by the Millions in Canada
How a Plant Virus May Help Cause the Beepocalypse
Bees are dying. Here’s why you should care
April 13, 2014
A Florida Black Bear in the Ocala Forest and a Florida Manatee mother and baby
Black Bear picture credit: FFWCC, Manatee picture credit: www.sfwmd.gov
The Black Bear pictured here was taken in an area quite near our house and according to Wikipedia:
“which supports the highest density population of black bears in North America.”
**Update……..Five Black Bears were killed last night by FWC**
FWC kills 4 bears in Lake Mary neighborhood where woman was mauled
Although Bears and Manatees may not be on your mind at this very moment, they need to be.
Two animal stories were on our local news this morning that need to be brought to your attention if you live in Florida.
Like much of the country, it is Spring right now here in Central Florida and a great many of our animals are on the move.
Black Bears everywhere in the state have ceased their hibernation states, short-lived as they were due to the fairly mild winter and have begun roaming into adjacent areas and neighborhoods in search of food.
Like you feel in the morning, they are now awake and very hungry.
So we MUST be vigilant right now everywhere, for their increased presence and state of hunger.
Last night a local woman was attacked, or surprised in her garage, by what may have been as many as 5 Black Bears.
Yes, she had left the garage door open, but, was their also garbage in there and or dog or cat food?
Not known yet.
Before there are even more Black Bears killed, as has been done recently, can we all please take an extra moment, to do what we know must be done and that is to keep alert and NEVER leave food outside and for heaven sakes, please remember to close your garage and shed doors at night.
We do not want or need another tragic round of Black Bear killings here, do we?
The second point to make you all aware of is, that our Florida Manatees are also starting to become active and are beginning to leave the warmth and safety of places like Blue Springs State Park and other warm water areas, and heading out to their cooler summer waters, all along the Florida Coastlines as well as inland locations.
So, when we take our boats out as or the days get warmer to where they Manatees live and travel, we need to be especially careful not to run into them.
Boat propeller strikes lead to countless unnecessary Manatee injuries and deaths every year.
And last year was an especially not a good one for them with over 800 deaths in various ways.
So when you are out in your boats from this point on, please observe the “slow down manatee zone” speed limit signs.
A Manatee’s life is depending on it.
So, while we are all busy right now celebrating Spring, can we all try to ensure that Florida’s Bears and Manatees will also be here to see it next year with us?
We all need to be a part of and support this, animal awareness alert.
Spread the word~
You may learn more here:
Bears drag Florida woman from garage
Officials Warn of Bears Stirring as Woman Attacked
Seasonal Manatee Speed Zones are in effect
April 9, 2014
Wild Orcas as they were meant to be, free and Hunting in the Norwegian Sea.
Picture credit: Wolfgang Hägele
Yesterday in California, more than a million voices, via their signatures on a petition, were raised up against the continuing captivity of Orcas at Sea World San Diego, but they simply could not compete with those of the owners, the local city Governments, or the faithful lobbyists who work so tirelessly on behalf of their clients.
What was at stake was the fate of the Orcas at Sea World facilities and their questionable safety and treatment.
Animal rights activists came from everywhere, along with parents, teachers and children to show their support for the
Bill AB2140 by Democrat Richard Bloom of Santa Monica, who was apparently influenced by the highly popular and widely publicized film, Blackfish.
It is reported that the Sea World lobbyist is Scott Wetch.
Naomi Rose, who is a marine mammal scientist with the Animal Welfare Institute, sponsored the bill, AB2140.
This Bill would have stopped the killer whale/Orca shows at Sea World in San Diego and phased out their captivity.
But at the end of the day, power and money won.
Now that the Bill has been sidetracked, or waylaid until mid 2015 in San Diego, all involved in this seem to agree that next on the list, are the Sea World facilities in Florida and Texas.
A curious item was mentioned on our local news, that Sea World’s attendance is down , but their profits are up.
How very interesting.
Usually when a great many people are as enraged as those who signed this petition are/were, something happens, things get changed, but in this case, it appears not, and over a million signatures on this petition meant zero to Californians.
Not surprisingly, Sea World did a massive, continuing campaign press blast, to discredit the film Blackfish, while
the San Diego Chamber of Commerce declared that Sea World and the Whales are extremely vital to their economy.
And, now that this scenario is guaranteed be repeated in Texas and Florida, you can be assured that the Sea World owners, local city Governments, and the lobbyists, will push back even harder with everything that they have, but it will in the end be, mostly about the money.
When those with the money and the control do not hear the voices of over a million in protest, we must speak even louder.
” We must speak for those with no voice.”
You may learn more here:
Bad Day for Captive Orcas: California’s ‘Blackfish’ Bill Stalls
California bill that would end SeaWorld killer whale shows stalls
Killer-whale bill stalls in hearing; study due in 2015
California Bill That Would End Orca Shows Stalls
Pictures of Orcas: Orca Pod Wiki
April 4, 2014
The Pier at Cocoa Beach
Picture credit: Mike Russell
On our local news this morning, came a most unexpected joy.
It was announced today, that the City of Cocoa Beach had rejected offshore Seismic Testing.
Those in this Committee actually said that they don’t want it, because it has been said to harm Whales and Dolphins.
Did I hear right?
Is it possible that an entire City Commission actually realizes that many of the well to do tourists that they work so hard and spend so much trying to attract here, are actually coming because of the wild things that live here?
I can still remember my very first trip here in the 1970′s to visit my parents, when they lived in North Miami Beach.
One of our very first day trips was down to the Everglades and I was hooked for life~
I was mesmerized by all of it, but most of all, by the incredible raw beauty of the land and the dizzying array of glorious creatures that lived here.
I had never seen most of them, in either California or Indiana growing up, so it was all new.
For those of you who do not live here, please allow me to shed some light.
We have in this glorious Sunshine State, what may be the world’s greatest collection of Birds and countless rare and exciting species of plants and wildlife in the world.
There is never any shortage of well-heeled, big spending visitors arriving here, every single day of the year, to take in all of this pristine beauty.
They travel to Florida by the millions, from every country in the world.
So, then knowing this, that not everyone coming here is going to Disney, or playing Golf, it simply would not be financially responsible, not to mention completely inhumane, to do our very best to preserve and protect the priceless beauty here, not just for the tourists, but for our state’s residents as well?
If Seismic Testing all along the Atlantic Coast is not stopped in its tracks, our Marine, or Sea life, are all in great jeopardy, the Whales, the Dolphins, every living thing.
It has been pointed out repeatedly, that the North Atlantic Right Whale, is just one more screw up away by us, to complete and total extinction.
And our Dolphins and other Coastal animals are already being pushed to the brink by overdevelopment.
So to all of you other Coastal Cities in Florida and indeed all of the United States Coast lines, you had better wake up.
Our Coast lines and all that inhabit them are a Treasure, but for only as long as they exist.
Listen, I think I hear your tourist dollars leaving the building and they may not be back!
No wildlife, no wild places, no scenic beauty, no tourists~
Some places to learn more:
Seismic testing could harm marine life
Atlantic oil drilling using seismic airgun may wipe out endangered Right Whales
A Cocoa City Commission Video: Seismic Testing Rejected
An entire page of this topic is quite well covered here: Offshore Oil Drilling
April 3, 2014
Traditional Whaling in Taiji
Picture credit: Public Domain
If you have had your absolute fill of depressing news about our wonderful world of animals, you can smile today!
Japan has argued for years, that they have the absolute right to kill
1,000 Whales a year in the Antarctic, for ” scientific purposes, ” but the United Nations has told Japan, not so fast!
Judge Peter Tomka has determined that what the Japanese are doing, is not “scientific” and they will stop immediately.
The Japanese have a very long history of whaling, as it has been a strong part of their culture since the 1700′s.
The bitter and sad stories coming out of Taiji where Dolphins and Whales are murdered every year, has been the subject of countless Blogs, News and TV stories, even a documentary film, the Cove.
Bloodshed, as in rituals, for the sake of culture, had been a part of our lives since we crawled out of the water, or from under a rock, or whatever we did, but long ago we stopped most of these heinous acts and became mostly civilized beings.
It is not that humans have really changed or evolved so much, more likely, it has been the influence of a more “ethical” society and the negativity attached to these gruesome acts.
Only our behavior towards the animal kingdom seems to have remained in our archaic past, as witnessed by the ongoing slaughter every day to animals all of over the world, especially in Africa.
Regrettably, nothing has deterred the determined Japanese, who since their defeat in the War, have felt this was one last part of their culture where their Honor and National pride were still secure.
The Japanese were not alone in this evil, many countries including ours, participated in the killing of Whales.
But in 1986, a “Moratorium Against Whaling” was enacted and all but the Japanese, Norway and Iceland adhered to it.
Although I can certainly respect preserving your culture, some of the reason to support this particular one, must be subject to the current status of Whales on the planet.
Global numbers for all sea mammals have decreased dramatically in the last Century, so continuing this so called “scientific research” is no longer a viable excuse for Whale slaughter, anywhere.
Our species, we Humans, must learn to respect all animals and protect them before they are wiped from the Earth.
For if they are all gone, we will be alone and this Planet was never meant to be Only inhabited by Humans.
You may learn more here:
This page has a wide selection of places to learn more: ICJ ruling on whaling news roundup
Here is Court’s the ruling: International Court of Justice
World Court: Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling is illegal and must end
U.N. Court rules Antarctic whaling by Japan illegal, orders halt
World Court rules against ‘scientific’ whaling
Victory for whales at the International Court of Justice