Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

September 29, 2015

Can We Trust You?

Forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) in the Mbeli River, NouabalĂ©-Ndoki National Park, Congo.
Picture credit: Thomas Breuer

If you have been here long, you know that over the past 3 years on WP, I have been bitterly disappointed, frequently deceived and flat-out lied to, by those who are in place to protect Global Wildlife.
So, on Friday when our President and the President of China met and came to an agreement to stop Ivory Trafficking, I was not in the least impressed, or encouraged.
As a matter of fact, I was thoroughly disgusted that on the same day the Pope was here spreading joy and love to all, our Country was preparing to wine and dine one of the world’s most prolific Human abusers at the White House.
As for the agreement to stop Global Ivory Trafficking, there is absolutely no way that this plan/idea/agreement, can work or succeed, without the full and complete, cooperation and involvement of Africa.
Do I personally trust either, or any of them to firmly support and/or uphold this?
Do I believe that these leaders have had a change of heart and become concerned, empathetic or compassionate about Animal or Wildlife welfare?
Only if in some way, they can find a potential financial gain in it for them.
Neither the US, nor China has in the recent past shown much interest in, or overwhelming concern for any Global Wildlife that are currently suffering or are threatened.
This is, in my opinion, merely political pandering to public perception and making points with which ever group they may need something from at the moment.
As for Africa’s support, or even interest in this new agreement, consider this:
What did anyone, including Africa, do to the Monster from Minnesota, who murdered Cecil the Lion, in cold blood?
Absolutely nothing.
To only add to my depression over this situation, sadly and quite embarrassingly, Florida is reported to have quite a few individuals who buy and sell ivory, for example, this person is right here in Central Florida and quite proudly advertises his wares on the internet for all to see:  Elephant Ivory
So, here’s the question for those of you who have tremendous power and have spoken the words that could stop the imminent extinction of animals who have the misfortune of having Ivory horns:
Can we trust you?
Places to learn more:
US and China Agree to Halt Ivory Trade
US and China Agree to Ivory Ban
China and US agree on ivory ban in bid to end illegal trade globally
China must act, but Africa needs to take the lead to stop ivory trade
FACT SHEET: President Xi Jinping’s State Visit to the United States

September 20, 2015

So Long Sonar!

This awesome picture of a Pacific Blue whale is courtesy of NOAA fisheries!

The United States Navy has made me a fan once again, with this latest move to save the lives of so many of our threatened and endangered Ocean wildlife.
Over the past few years in this very Blog, I have written ad nauseam about this disturbing issue and for so very long, it looked bleak and as if it would never happen, but it has!
Our planet’s Whales and Dolphins simply cannot and will not survive, if they cannot hear each other, and in the past, Navy activity in their Global Habitats has done just that, it has repeatedly interfered and done so, quite loudly.
Marine mammals need to have the waters that surrounds them quite silent, so that they can talk, or communicate with each other.
The constant noises made by our very active US Navy, has caused the whales and dolphins, to try to live within the confines of a world in great turmoil, which in turn, has often resulted in countless, unnecessary deaths for these threatened animals.
But, now after so many years of bitter court battles from both sides, and with many thanks to Earthjustice, NRDC and other concerned Environmental groups, an agreement has finally been reached and the US Navy will set aside areas of the Pacific Ocean, that will allow marine life once again, to safely do what they do best, survive and thrive!
And they will be doing this in nearly complete silence, well as silent as it can be because, who knows what else is going on down there?
So for now at least, we can all breathe a sigh of relief and say thank you to our Navy for allowing these beautiful creatures to live safely and  hear each other again.
Good by, good riddance and so long Sonar!

Places to learn more:

Navy Sonar Settlement Brings Historic Win for Whales
Navy proves its love for whales and dolphins, curbing sonar use
U.S. Navy will limit sonar, blasting near whales, dolphins in Pacific
How does navy blasting affect marine mammals?
U.S. navy sonar blamed for whales’ odd behavior

September 5, 2015

This King has left the building!

A juvenile King Cobra
Picture credit:  Biomedicinal

After living in so many places before coming to Florida in 2004, it was only a matter a time before this would happen.
And it did.
Within a few months of moving here, there it was one day, curled up on the black mat at our back door, waiting for me.
As it turned out, it was harmless, to humans, at least, it was just a Black Racer, which is a very common non poisonous Florida Snake.
Did that make me any less terrified.
Absolutely not!

But, after a few years, it has all become nearly routine and the fear gets a little less with each random encounter.
That is, until now.
A few days ago in Orlando, a man who apparently has quite a few poisonous creatures living in his house, lost one of them.
It just ran away.

But he did not, as required, report it immediately!
And after seeing the living conditions at this place, I do not blame the snake.
The escape of this snake, has been shown ad nauseum on all of our local channels.
These animals are housed in cages so small, they can barely turn around, let alone get any exercise.
My thinking is, that the snake left to find a better home!

But here is the scariest part, at least for those poor souls who live in close proximity to this man, this was not just any ordinary snake.
This was an 8 foot long King Cobra, whose venom they are saying, can take down an elephant or 200 humans.
Yes, 200!

This man, who has a state license to keep these poisonous animals, has a history of “oops” accidents and negligent behavior concerning his charges.
So, you may ask, why does Florida Fish and Wildlife still allow him to have them?
That is the question being asked by his neighbors, who have started a petition and already have 200 signatures.
A previous King Cobra got loose from this man and it turned up in a neighbor’s garage, who killed it.

This is a very sad situation for the animals ;who have no say in any of it.
The man is a “reality star” the news claims and makes his living with these caged animals.
But, each time I see him on the news, he is putting a snake into a garbage can.
He does not look like someone who is terribly fond of them, just someone who has found a way to profit from them.

In India this snake is protected.
Schools on this man’s block have kept the children inside all week and moved those in the bungalows, into the main building for safety concerns for the children.
FWC says it is likely the snake, who they and the man, both say is shy, will avoid humans, but how long can you keep these children inside?
This is not fair to them, or the animals that this man is keeping.

It is at the very least, a sad, ugly situation.
The last news story I watched this morning, gave a link to a web site, where you can see just who and where poisonous animals are being kept in Florida.
If even one child here is killed by a poisonous animal who is being kept for profit or other, there will be “hell to pay.”
Even one death is one too many.

Now, this is only my opinion but, private individuals have no business, no right, to keep poisonous animals in their homes, considering the tremendous risks that could result from an errant escape, such as this one.
It is beyond time to stop this, before a tragedy occurs.
So, those of you out there in Florida who think this is a good way to make a living, I say:
You need to find another way to earn your living, one that does not put animals/wildlife or your neighbors and their children in jeopardy.

Please, go get a real job because this “King has left the building.”

Places to learn more:
King cobra – Wikipedia
King cobra that escaped from Orlando home remains missing
Escaped king cobra on the loose in Orlando
Find venomous snake permit holders near you
Dead snakes used to lure king cobra that escaped Orlando home


September 1, 2015

Exquisite Everglades

The Everglades National Park
Photo credit: USGS/SOFIA

One of the most revered and treasured Ecosystems in the entire state of Florida, perhaps even the United States, the Everglades National Park, has just handed down some tough restrictions for the first time in more than 30 years.
This is a long, hard-fought, much overdue win for a beleaguered Ecosystem, that has in the past, had to fight off big money, big business and big politics just to stay alive.
But, no more!
Finally those who run the Park have said enough!
The Everglades National Park and I do now speak from personal experience, is without a doubt, Florida’s most beautiful and most unique little corner of the Earth.
May I offer you one tiny bit of advice, before you venture down for your first trip?
Many years ago, on our first vacation here, we took our first trip to the Everglades while visiting my parents in Miami, in the NOT EVER recommended month of August.
Only an idiot, or a tourist from L.A., would ever do this, everyone who lives here knows better.
August is the heighth of Mosquito Season in South Florida and when they descend upon you in the Glades, they are like a black veil that drops over you, if you are foolish enough to go there in that month.
As for these new restrictions for the Florida Bay Area of the Everglades, they have become necessary because for entirely too many years, all manner of human abuse have rendered this fragile place nearly crippled with what many believed to be irreparable damage.
But the tide may be turning in the Glade’s favor and I only wish that Marjory was here today to witness this change of mind and heart for her beloved Everglades, she died in 1998 at the age of 108.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas fought so hard nearly all of her adult life, to save the Glades and today I would like to believe that she is smiling.
These new restrictions may do what she could not during her lifetime, they may finally and forever, preserve and protect the Exquisite Everglades.

Places to learn more:
Everglades National Park
Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Defender of the Everglades
Florida Boating Restrictions in Everglades Park
Everglades National Park GMP/East Everglades Wilderness Study
Everglades Park to restrict boating in Florida Bay
Protecting Everglades National Park ends way of life for Gladesmen
The Everglades