Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

October 26, 2014

A Typical Florida Solution

A Florida Feral Hog or Wild Pig
Picture credit: US Fish and Wildlife

As you know we have only been here in Florida for about ten years.
To say that coming here to live was Culture Shock,  is an understatement.
There is simply no way to excuse, explain or define some of the behavior here.
In my email this morning was yet another typical example of how some people here handle a bothersome situation.
In this state, thanks to a Spanish explorer, who along with throngs of others invaded Florida hundreds of years ago, with little concern for the havoc that they wreaked on the places and people, are descendants from  Hernando Desoto’s wild hogs, that  have now become a definite problem for many.
Granted these wild hogs do frequently plow through yards eating and destroying much that they survey, but they are simply doing what they must to survive.
They are omnivores and will eat vegetation or what ever is available to them.
Thanks to repeated ignorant and thoughtless  behavior,  there are now many invasive species here, like the thousands of Burmese Pythons in the Everglades, that now number so many they are in danger of completely taking over the entire area and starving out local animals, not to mention the terror they present when the tourists see them.
It is not that these animals are not a problem, this is understood, it is the recommendation by a local Rancher,  or his idea of how to solve it , that makes this state the one of a kind place that it now is.
His suggestion is that the perfect solution to the pig problem is, to eat them.
One of the loudest complaints about the horrible hogs, has been of course, the damage that they do to the countless pristine Golf courses statewide, which in Florida hold nearly Holy stature.
Too many animals get too little respect here and these wild pigs will be just the latest victim of a mind-set where the next to the most hunted animal after the Florida white-tailed deer, will soon be the wild pigs.
I have always had a very soft spot in my heart for pigs, I love them and this hurts.
I wish there was some humane, kind way to solve this, but that will not happen here.
Not in a state where nearly every one has at least one gun and too may find hunting animals a thrilling sport.
There are numerous Hunting Cubs and Ranches entirely devoted to the slaughter of them.
Doing a Google search for Hunting  animals in Florida delivered over 33 million links.
Any questions?
I wonder if this line of thinking may in the future perhaps also encompass invasive humans or other?
Just asking?
Did I mention that hunting season begins in days, but the gun shots and the howling hounds are already being heard here in the Forest every morning.
Yes, I am in the minority, I love pigs and refuse to eat them.
Childhood memories on my Uncle’s farm in Indiana, simply will not allow me to.
Seeing all of this today and knowing what is happening to them, makes me so sad for their bleak life and hopeless future.
The ugly truth is, that this latest approach to an animal irritation, is yet another typical Florida solution.

Places to learn more:
A solution to Florida’s Wild Pig Problems: Eat Them
Wild Hogs in Florida
Can Wild Pigs Ravaging the U.S. Be Stopped?
Hog Wild In Florida! Feral Pigs A Problem
Wild Hogs In Florida: An overview

October 2, 2014


Why is this man smiling?
Picture credit: William A. Troyer – US Fish and Wildlife Service
I apologize for this brutal picture, but it explains my rage.

Yes, sorry, two in one morning, both of them were in my email and neither could be ignored.
This story is about a subject that pains me deeply to relay.
I can still hear the words of my first Anthropology Professor many years ago saying that:
“99% of all species of all animals, will, or have already, disappeared from the Earth.”
I NEVER got over that very off-handed, complacent, nearly matter of fact, comment.
It did not seem like he was all that terribly concerned.
But, then, why should he have been, few seem to be any more.
It almost seems like we Humans, have become hardened against, or desensitized to this alarming state of affairs, in the Animal Kingdom.
It is so much easier to pick up a gun and shoot something, than it is to put a seed in the ground and wait for it to grow!
Decimation is a horrifying word.
In the past I have used it many times when writing about the Native Americans.
They too were decimated in many places all over this country by two other ugly words: Manifest Destiny.
But unlike the Native people, animals cannot be assimilated!
Hello people, we are losing animals as fast as they can reproduce these days.
Think I’m kidding?
Look around your own neighborhoods.
Have you, like me, watched over the years,  as fewer and fewer of certain animals have disappeared right in your own yard?
It is isn’t for just one reason, or in one country, its’ everybody, everywhere, killing everything.
We either kill them directly, or by destroying their Habitats, so that they die anyway.
What ever will we all do, when they are all gone?
This Planet will be an ugly place with no animals.
As Gandhi always said, ” A Nation will be judged by the way it treats its animals.”
Well, in the end, which may be nearer than many may suspect, so will this Planet.
Don’t think we can all get on a shuttle and head for Mars or ???
This is it people.
When we have killed them all, for what ever reason, that’s it.
The answer is right in front of us, but few want to accept it.
The answer is not eating animals anymore.
And yes to the ” Happy  Man ”   in the picture above, hunting them either.
Sure, for some, for many, this is a tough pill to swallow.
But dear Readers, what else can we do?
Millions of people all over the world do without meat every day and are quite healthy.
In some of the poorer Countries, like for instance, Burma, or Myanmar, I was once told by a resident in an interview, that having a chicken for dinner, is a once a month luxury.
Of course this idea will never sell in states like Texas, where their favorite saying on signs all over the state:
” Beef, it’s what’s for Dinner.”
But for the other millions who know change must be made and very soon.
Couldn’t we all at least try not eating any animals, for what ever reason each of us as individuals may choose?
If we do not, and soon, they will be GONE!
Places to learn more:
Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF
World wildlife populations halved in 40 years – report A/a>
Shock report: World has lost 50% of its wildlife in just 40 years
Deforestation – Wikipedia
Bear Hunting – Wikipedia

Hope for a New Whale

A Bryde’s Whale
Picture credit: Sophie Webb NOAA

Just found this awesome story this morning in my email, that must be shared.
Russell McLendon of Mother Nature Network has gathered and presented an extremely compelling work and you simply must read it in its entirety.
Please see the link to it below.
If the DNA checks out, this newly discovered Whale in the Gulf of Mexico, may be the newest and absolutely most Endangered Whale on Earth, surpassing even the critically Endangered Right Whale.
This is both exciting and terrifying news.
For many years, the Whales in the Gulf near the Florida Panhandle, were thought to be a variation of the species of Bryde’s, but now the thinking is that this new Whale may an entirely new species altogether.
As Russell  says:   “They’ve long been classified as Bryde’s whales — pronounced Brooda’s, thanks to 19th-century Norwegian whaler Johan Bryde.  Bryde’s whales are found in warm seas around the world, growing up to 55 feet long and 90,000 pounds as they feast on plankton, crustaceans and small fish.”
Of course this newest Whale already has a myriad of potential dangers facing it.
The new evidence indicates that many more  of them used to exist and that something is eliminating them.
Let’s see.
So, how much oil did BP flood into the Gulf of Mexico?
The clean up from this nightmare is still plaguing the entire Gulf Coast.
The area where this new Whale is calling home, are the Desoto Canyons, near the mouth of the Mississippi, on the borders of the states of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.
This huge area has been a most inhospitable place for sea life for many years.
Dolphin’s and several other Whale Species are continuously being poisoned in their Ancestral homes, so to speak here.
This toxic soup that is now the Gulf of Mexico, has been polluted for so long, by so many, it is no wonder the depth of decimation to all the sea life there.
It is as far as I can see, an entirely 100% man-made destruction of a Habitat.
And, we are irresponsibly, completely responsible for it all.
Please do read this wonderful story that Russell has put so much thought and effort into.
We have a lot of thinking to do on this news, if we are to reverse a terrible,  long over due trend by ignorant Humans.
Could it be, could we for a change, have hope for a new Whale Species?
Places to learn more:
50 whales may be a new (and very endangered) species
Bryde’s Whale – Wikipedia
Baleen Whales – Wikipedia