Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

April 29, 2015

Patron of the Oceans

Pugh with Tutu
Lewis Pugh with Archbishop Desmond Tutu,  September 15, 2010
Picture credit: Publicist

On GMHQ this morning Sam Champion interviewed a true Hero, one who is not just another wildlife activist.
He talked to Lewis Pugh, the renown swimmer, author, activist, public speaker, and former marine lawyer, from Plymouth, England, who has put his infamous speedos into water that few of us will never, thankfully have to endure, to save an endangered  ecosystem and endangered  Ocean wildlife.
Earlier this year, Lewis launched a five swim campaign in Antarctica for a cause near to many hearts, especially his!
Lewis is swimming in the Ross Sea, to shine a light on what Humans once again are doing to wildlife that is causing irreparable harm to those with no voice.
His dream is for the area to become a Marine Sanctuary.
Among the victims he is swimming to save and protect are: Whales, Squids, Seals and Emperor Penguins, none of which has numbers to brag about here right now.
As he so poignantly said during the interview, the affects over fishing, combined with climate change,  in this unique place, is having a disastrous affect on a pristine ecosystem and those who inhabit it quite precariously.
Of course Sam is extremely close to this subject from his years on his own show Sea Rescue, and its extensive involvement in Marine life.
Pugh has a Facebook page, listed below and there have been countless interviews and stories about him, so getting to the heart of this story was quite easy.
Lewis is hoping to impact the members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources or, (CCAMLR) from its representative 24 countries.
Among the myriad of accolades and awards Pugh has been given, the one that I personally find most important was, when he was appointed the UNEP’s Patron of the Oceans in 2013.

Places to learn more:
Lewis on Facebook
Lewis Pugh Swims Antarctica’s Icy Ross Sea To Save Pristine Ecosystem
Ocean campaigner puts his body in ice to save a sea
Antarctica in a Speedo chilling for extreme swimmer Lewis Pugh
His Bio on Wikipedia
His personal web site: Lewis Pugh
Lewis Pugh: Swimmer has Ross Sea talks with Russia
Lewis Pugh’s Antarctic swim – in pictures  

April 19, 2015

Gone is Forever

A Green Sea Turtle Hatchling
Photo credit: Manuel Heinrich Emha

As someone who has in the past,  been  fond of deep-fried shrimp, as of today, it is off of my menu, forever!
I try very hard to be a vegetarian, but alas, shrimp was a guilty weakness, but now, no more.
In my mail this morning was a sickening, sad story that the Southeast Shrimping Industry is still killing our Endangered Florida Sea Turtles by the thousands, over 50,000 of them actually and few, if any,  have seemed to be able to stop them.
But wait, they are now being sued and the group doing it, just may have enough clout to force them to finally, once and for all, change their murderous behavior.
This is not a new issue with sea life and death at the hands of those who make their living fishing, it has been going on at least since the 1990’s.
But the fact that they continue to this day, and show so little regard for these Endangered Sea Turtles,  is where I personally draw the line and say, no more.
The problem for all these many years has been the nets used by the Fishing/Shrimping  Industry, that trap the Sea Turtles and other sea life and cause them to drown.
In the past, demands have been made to force implementation by the fishing industry of TED’s,  or turtle excluder devices, which allows creatures to escape, but not enough are using them and the turtles continue to die by the thousands.
All Sea Turtles in this country are either an Endangered or Threatened Species, namely, the loggerhead, leatherback, hawksbill, green and Kemp’s ridley.
US Fish and Wildlife is seeking to lower the status of the Green Sea Turtle from Endangered to Threatened, claiming that their numbers are now higher due to conservation success and better nets.
As with the recent divisive and controversial ruling concerning the hunting of our Florida Black Bear, if this does happen, what will the future hold, for the Sea Turtles removed from the Endangered List?
Will FWS in the future allow them to be hunted as well?
The very people and agencies in this state and this country who should be protecting our creatures “with no voice”  seem to have lost their desire or ability to do so.
My respect for all of these “Groups” with the blood of our “voiceless ones” on their hands, has been greatly diminished by their actions.
Being beholden  to the evil of  “money and power”  seems to  have replaced kindness and caring, and the animals are all the losers for this.
Gone is forever.

Places to learn more:
Walking with the Alligators: Sea Turtles
Lawsuit: Better monitoring of shrimping industry by federal government needed to protect endangered sea turtles
US govt sued over sea turtles snared in shrimp nets
Group sues to require sea-turtle trap doors in shrimp nets
US govt sued over sea turtles snared in shrimp nets
U.S. sued to curb deaths of sea turtles by shrimping industry

April 5, 2015

Bison and Bears, the connection~

Wood Bison in Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada
Picture credit:  Laura Kaupas.

As you may have noticed, there has been a two month gap in postings here.
The reason is that my heart has been broken over the imminent approval of Hunting our beautiful Florida Black Bear.
The final, fateful decision is expected in a very short time.
But this morning, a story on our news, brought for the first time in over two months, a reason to smile and cause for joy.
Another creature which has occupied a huge place in my heart for over 30 years, has just been given a new lease on life.
The Wild Wood Bison, which has been gone here in America, for over one hundred years, is being brought back to Alaska.
The differences between them and our American Bison are in the links below.
This reintroduction of the Wild Wood Bison, is courtesy of the people of Canada, who did not completely decimate theirs, as we did.
This cooperation between our two countries, is but one more example of the good that Humans can do for wild animals, when they chose to do so.
By appearances, it would seem that the people of Canada care and respect their wildlife more than we do here.
An example, the history of our concern for our most  “at risk”  wild things in this country, has been, far too often at best, woefully neglectful.
Ask any resident of California, when they last saw a wild animal, no, not a deer, or a raccoon, but a true large wild animal.
They have been hunted, killed and chased out of not only California, but many, if not most, of the other lower 48 states for over a Century.
The joyful news today about the Wood Bison, is bittersweet, as we who live here in Florida await the final decision to come for our magnificent Florida Black Bear.
Once this is done and they kill or hunt too many of them, it will be too late to say,  sorry!
Like the stunning, Ivory Billed Woodpecker that once ranged freely all over the South East, and have now been hunted to extinction to adorn a ladies’ hat, come Fall, will our Black Bears also be no more?
Perhaps, we could learn a bit about wildlife compassion from our neighbors to the North?
There was one reference story of a Wildlife Park in Canada, where the Wood Bison and the Black Bear live together in apparent harmony.
Are you listening in Tallahassee?
There just may be a connection between the Black Bear and the Wood Bison.

Places to learn more:
Wood Bison Free in Alaska
Wood Buffalo National Park
Alaska wood bison being held at village to be released soon
Wood Bison set for release
Wood bison leave Portage for release in Alaska wild after an absence of more than 100 years
Phenotypic Differences Between the Bison Subspecies
Wood Bison Curriculum