Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

June 29, 2014

I am an ALLY, are you?


I was just about to write about two Endangered Birds this morning, when this came in my email.
The Birds can wait until tomorrow,  this is much more important to me and millions of others around the world.
First let me say, that I have felt this way since the 60′s, when I lived in L.A. , long before it was fashionable to do so.
It was the time of flower children, free love, inspirational speeches and thinking, yes some of it was quite radical as well, and also sadly, way too many really bad drugs.
It was more importantly, a time of a different kind of attitude toward others.
Did the Viet Nam War/Conflict have anything to do with this, probably.
We were all so very young and so very scared.
We had a common bond,  a mantra,  ” trust no one over 30.”
We were afraid of the violence that surrounded us daily and sought what we thought was a better way to be live, to be.
It was a time of gathering of minds, souls and bodies in support of one critical idea, Peace.
We desperately searched for this state of being that was seemingly just out of  our of reach.
Quite understandably, so many from a wide variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds, came to L.A.  back then in support of what was happening and it was easy to ignore stereotypes, racism and ugliness toward any who were ” different.”
It was the time of,  Hair, the musical that defined an entire generation, and was dedicated to the idea of loving everyone, we were all the same, no color,  or sexual or racial lines, we were united in our determination to stop the prejudice, the violence, the hate and most importantly the killing.
So, today when this came, it simply had to be addressed immediately.
It is who I and millions of others, who were reared up in L.A. in the 60′s,  are/were.
I am now and  will forever be,  AN ALLY.
Won’t you be as well?
And for those who keep asking, I am not a Gator Woman, it is a pseudonym used at WordPress for my Gravatar.
My name is Donna, am so happy to see you here~

June 27, 2014

Two Updates, One Despicable Item!

Comfrey Jacobs,  animal rights activist and humanitarian, extraordinaire~
Picture credit and kindly lent by:   
Deby Dixon photography

I am quite sure that you all remember this brave young man putting himself on the line at Yellowstone Park a few months ago,  trying to stop the slaughter of Bison/Buffalo.
The posting about him was:   God Hears.
What you need to know now,  is what happened to him and the high price that he paid for his altruistic ideals.
By the way, if we did not live nearly 3,000 miles away, we would have joined him there.
What the courts have done to this young man, verges on  being a vicious retaliation and wanting desperately to make an example of him, to warn others who may in the future wish to try a similar act, to rethink it.
The Cattle Ranchers in Montana, have entirely too much power and control in the entire Yellowstone Basin Area and this all is absolutely a result of them putting the squeeze on the local law enforcement agencies  and the court systems.
Here is the follow-up story about Comfrey Jacobs, who did his best to try to prevent wild animals from being killed:
Activist Convicted of Blockading Yellowstone’s Wild Bison Trap
The second  update is one that has been percolating in my head for many months now.
This story deduces, quite accurately in my opinion, that if the economics in the part of Africa where Wildlife Poaching is out of control would improve, the poaching would decline.
I believe that this is a real possibility and that Africa needs to make every effort to encourage and perpetuate this.
If other countries wish to become involved, especially the United Nations, there could be a breakthrough in ending these despicable, heinous acts,  by truly desperate people, who are most likely starving and see no other option in their survival.
Those involved in Wildlife Poaching, must be made to understand, that this is not the true answer to their problems, it is simply a short-term, stop-gap, that comes with great personal risk.
The  story is here:
How Improving Local Economy Could Solve Africa’s Wildlife Poaching Problem
The last story is new to me and was in the same email as the other two.
Just writing this sentence is so painful, I can only imagine how horrible the actual facts of the story must be.
Your reactions to it,  will tell me all that I need to know and then I will read it, if I can.
Right now, just knowing what has been done,  is already breaking my heart.
Most regretfully and apologetically,  here is the link to this despicable story:
Buried-Alive Chickens Exposed in Shocking Undercover Investigation of Nation’s Second-Largest Producer

June 24, 2014

Cadet one, Gator zero!

The educational experience of a lifetime!
“An environmental education student gets to feel the back of a young alligator on the refuge”
Please do observe the tape around the young Gator’s mouth to protect all involved!
Picture credit: Steve Hillebrand,  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Public Domain)

Just now while having our lunch, this story came on our local News and became an  instant must be reported story.
We do not have a lock on wildlife ignorance or abuse here in Lake County, but we must be a close runner-up.
Apparently a group of  young Police Cadets were at a facility in Tavares, here in Lake County and were  in training on how to handle Gators.
It is said that one of the Cadets  tripped and fell on top of the four-foot gator, (making it fairly young) which then clamped down on the Cadet’s hand and would not let go.
Please, try for a moment to understand the experience of having a quite large thing/person falling on top of you and what your immediate reaction might have been?
When the Gator did not let go of the Cadet’s hand, one of the FWC who were on hand to demonstrate, or instruct  the Police Cadets on how to properly and assuming, safely, deal with, or handle coming face to face with Gators in their daily duties or routines,   immediately shot and killed the Gator.
The person sitting directly across from me, whose Blog is sarcastically called,  ” This Is Florida Don’t You Know, “
in reference to the things that happen here every day,  that make us scratch our heads, immediately  asked this question:
” why would they be using a real alligator in this kind of training exercise with young, inexperienced Police Cadets and why wasn’t the Gator's mouth taped closed? “
As for me, I  have nothing more to say, I am completely  speechless.

You may read about this story here:
Gator shot after biting cadet’s hand during training exercise in Tavares

June 21, 2014

A New Blog!

Greetings Dear Readers and Followers~

It is here for your consideration:
Flawless Pandemonium

While we were away last week, a new Blog was busy percolating in my head.
It is now up and it is my fondest wish that some of you may come to see it.
This new Blog concerns the Corporate Bullies worldwide who hold all of us hostage daily, in some way.
It may be the pet store where we buy our dog food, or the place where we buy our gas, or our groceries.
These are the Big Boys and they take no prisoners.
And as you soon will learn, neither will this new Blog.
Monsanto is number one on my list and the others have just been laid out on the newest post, called the List!
Please do come, I am counting, as always, on your support~
thank you~

Schaus Survival

The magnificent and critically Endangered Schaus Swallowtail Butterfly
Photo credit: Dr. Emmel UF Zoology

Yes, it is only a butterfly, an insect, but the engaging and endearing story of this particular butterfly is the kind of stuff that Hollywood loves to drool over.
The  Schaus  Swallowtail  was  the first Butterfly, the first insect, to be put on the Endangered Species list in 1984.
This huge, magnificent five-inch Butterfly was once plentiful all over the Upper Keys and even Miami.
But, then with the advent of massive and widespread herbicide and pesticide use to eliminate mosquitos, sound familiar, its numbers took a complete nosedive.
In 2012, only a scarce few were found and Florida Biologists went into panic mode to stop the free fall.
Enter the UF Team  to the rescue.
This week, six of them were brought down and released into Biscayne National Park.
So far 45 of them have been released.
Other steps have been taken to help in the recovery of the Schaus, invasive plants and trees were removed and those that are native to the butterfly like torchwood and lime,  were put back.
This is not rocket science, this is finally doing what is right for something that we, Humans have nearly wiped off the face of the Earth with our callous, careless actions and total disregard for animal life.
Butterflies are not the only victims of our very bad behavior, there are so many other similar stories with others who have suffered at our hands.
Some have even gone extinct now, thanks to us.
Lastly, it is my extreme pleasure to introduce you to the primary saviors of this stunning Butterfly:
Dr. Thomas Emmel  and  Jaret Daniels  from the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity
at the University of Florida at Gainesville.
Studying Butterflies has occupied the majority of these two dedicated Biologists life time of work.
In closing,  may I recommend a trip to the  University of Florida Natural History Museum on the grounds of the school with its  vast assortment of fossils  and plethora of exhibits and displays.
Then you should continue your day of wonder and discovery by walking right next door to the  Butterfly Rainforest.
A visit to this impressive facility will be a never to be forgotten adventure for those of any age.
Come see what makes this place the state of Florida’s best  non beach, non amusement park,   attraction.
It truly is a  Natural Wonder.

Places to learn more:
Endangered butterflies released in park
Endangered Schaus’ Swallowtail Butterfly Release in Biscayne National Park
Schaus Swallowtail Butterflies Released Into Biscayne National Park
Endangered butterflies released in park

June 17, 2014

Ethics Be Dammed

The magnificent,  soon likely to be extinct, Florida Panther
Picture credit: The Florida Panther page


Just now on our lunchtime news,   was a story about our Governor’s supposed questionable connection to some of the very same Companies that had recently been given permission to drill for oil by our DEP  in Collier County.
They  said, that he owns a lot of stock in one of the Oil Companies  that wants to drill,  blah, blah, blah.
It went on for several minutes about various terrible things that they believed were going on,  that may have been most unethical and  the Governor’s  possible connection to the these drilling companies, and the terrible idea that he was doing some VERY unethical things,  it went on ad nauseam.
By the time it was over,  I felt completely disgusted with the story, the Reporters, the Residents  of Collier County,  the Governor and anyone else involved in this nightmare.
People were shown taking  to the streets of their upscale neighborhoods, like Naples, signs in hand, shouting about their beautiful way of life being lost, their soon to be declining property values, their  glorious life styles diminishing, etc., etc.
Every single point that they made,  was about how the possible drilling would affect them and their lives.
At no time,  did anyone ever mention,  what should, in my opinion, be the number one reason that  no one should EVER  be allowed to drill in Collier County, it is the very last safe haven,  or tiny remaining Habitat for our critically Endangered Florida Panther.
This animal is on it last legs, it is at the end of the log.
Hello, it is out of time.
But not once was this fact mentioned in this story.
If this drilling is approved and they do begin  in Collier County, the Florida Panther is doomed to extinction.
But should any of this come as a surprise?
This is the very same neighborhood that just a few short months ago, was completely up in arms,  screaming for Florida Fish and Wildlife to come and take care of  a Black Bear that was annoying them.
They wanted it gone, and right now!
So, if our desperate Florida  Panthers need any warmth, support, or a kind word spoken for them in this area, they are just plain,  flat-out of luck.
In Collier County,  money and status trumps all.
I know this because one of my Aunts lives there and she has spoken about this fact at great lengths to me.
Are all of the parties involved in this matter completely oblivious to the dangerous peril that the Panther is in?
I truly doubt that.
What is clear to me,  is that when it comes to money, profit,  political power and just about anything in Florida, any and everything comes before the life of an animal.
Greed is a state of life and mind here.
So, will oil drilling go forward here, most probably.
If it is stopped,  one thing that you can be sure of, it will NOT  be because they are concerned with the ethics of the Governor and where his sticky little fingers may,  or may not have been.
It will NOT  be because they are concerned with the life or death of the Florida Panther.
It will ONLY  be because somehow their money and status is threatened and in Collier County, that is everything.
Ethics can be damned.
Places to learn more:
FL Gov. Scott stake in oil company tied to drilling near Everglades and endangered Panther habitat
Scott’s stake in oil company tied to Collier drilling riles environmentalists
DEP and Collier Commission Clash Over Everglades Oil Drilling
Gov. Rick Scott’s stake in oil company tied to Collier drilling riles environmentalists
Sen. Nelson calls for federal review of Hughes Co. well drilling in Collier
Judge backs Collier County drilling project

June 12, 2014

50 Years of Extraordinary Service

Lake County Supervisor of Elections: Emogene Stegall
Picture credits: Lake County

Years ago, when we first came to Lake County Florida, we discovered a very active local political group.
The political demographics are not of importance, as we were each at that time, from different ones.
But we had met and liked a couple at a local rally and they invited us to come look them over.
We did and found some we thought were of like minds, so became a part of their group.
Eventually we started going to all kinds of events, meetings and fund-raisers in the area and one of the very nicest people that we had the pleasure of  meeting,  on what was to become a regular basis, was someone it turned out, was a most remarkable person.
As it turned out, Emogene Stegall was the Lake County Supervisor of Elections.
This position was,  in and of itself,  quite an impressive accomplishment, but you see, this is a position that this amazing woman has held for the past fifty years.
Yes, 50 years!
Most people do not stay at their jobs for 50 weeks, let alone for 50 years.
So, Mrs. Stegall became an instant favorite to run into where ever we happened to be on our political journey in Lake County.
It is most unlikely, that anyone could ever top,  or even come close to her long list of achievements here.
Emogene has been recently recognized for her lifetime, or 50 years of service as the Lake County Election Supervisor and a beautiful story accompanied her  picture in our local paper, the Leesburg Daily Commercial.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall if this inspirational woman ever does her memoirs!
One can  only imagine the many great stories that she could tell of her years in this Office.
Did I mention that Emogene was ALWAYS perfectly dressed?
She was simply first class when it came to her public appearance and maintained a persona that matched the extremely important Office that she held.
Regretfully, the many wonderful pictures that we had of her and our many encounters, were lost last Fall in Indiana, when both of our laptops were stolen while we were there on vacation.
These personal pictures showed the  joyful,  warm and kind person that we were grateful and lucky to know.
Congratulations Emogene on celebrating 50 years of the best service that Lake County will ever receive from ANY employee!
What the future holds for Mrs. Stegall is yet to be determined, one thing is for  sure, Emogene will do it perfectly, just as she always has!

A lovely tribute to her is here:
Stegall recognized for a half century of service