Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

August 30, 2011

Florida's First People

Today's Blog is not about an Endangered Florida species, but about one that has already gone, it is about the Timucuan Indians of Florida.
Our home is on land where these people once lived.
The St. John's River not far from us, was of great historical importance to the Timucuans and several other local tribes here in Central Florida.
These Ancient Indians, who were here long before any outsiders stepped foot on Florida, are rarely spoken of in local schools, in the news or even on web sites which claim to be historical reference places for their individual counties.
This is sad because so many of the names and places here reflect their importance and the influence of these Ancient people on not only this area, but on the entire state of Florida.
Here are a few places to learn more about the First People of Florida:

August 27, 2011

A Follow Up on the Condemned Ducks of Ocala

For the original story about the Ducks of Ocala, please see the posting below:
This Plan is Unacceptable.
OK, maybe the world is not a completely cold, cynical place after all!
Maybe people do care about what happens to animals.
Some people, not all people.
But, people did respond to this disturbing story in a very big way, bless their little hearts.
At this time, there is no other news about the situation.
Will keep an up to date posting here, if and/or when, anything new happens.

August 23, 2011

Can We Stop the Invasion of Florida?

Most people in Florida know about the Burmese Pythons that have taken over the Everglades.
Really stupid people buy these snakes, find out how much it costs to feed them and then dump them in the nearest body of water.
Since many of these exotic snake owners live in South Florida, they usually end up in the Everglades, where they are now swallowing up every living thing in this already highly Endangered Ecosystem.
These snakes are everybody's problem now!
Our Senator Bill Nelson has written a Bill that addresses the snake problem, but snakes are not the only invasive species in Florida.
So, we have to deal with not only invasive animals, but invasive plants as well and they are all doing the same thing to our beautiful state, eating it all up, one bite at a time!

August 20, 2011

Probably Not a Subject You Think Much About

Unless you live in Florida and have been down to the Keys, you may not even be aware that the only coral Reef in the continental U.S. is there.
The coral that live in the pristinely beautiful Keys National Marine Sanctuary, just off of the Florida Coast, have already suffered from extreme weather conditions, like cold and heat, now they are catching a disease called White Pox, from us!

August 17, 2011

This Plan is Unacceptable

No, this duck is not an Endangered Species in Florida, in fact they are not a native bird here at all.
And, if you live anywhere else, this may seem pretty trivial.
They are after all, just a bunch of ducks, right?
There is a town near us called Ocala and they are having a problem with some ducks and the answer that they have come up with for the second time, is to kill all of them.
Has anyone considered giving these unwanted ducks to people who might want them for pets or to put in the ponds on their property?
Aren't there parks all over the US where they may, perhaps be sent to live?
It seems like there just has to be another choice besides killing all of them, again.
This story describing the Ocala City Council's plan is sickening and if after reading it, you too are sickened, please make a call!

August 14, 2011

Is Today a Good Day for the Everglades?

The story below is both disturbing and hopeful.
The author's observations seem to be more than just a little biased, especially considering her recent remarks about Eric Draper.
The Federal Government never ceases to amaze, first they can barely agree to work together on the US economy, now the USDA has handed Florida a $100 million check to restore the Northern Everglades.
Local farmers claim to have demonstrated that it is possible to farm without destroying the environment, having for the 16th consecutive year reduced the amount of released phosphorus and this year they claim to have increased from their average of 55% up to 79%.
Eric Draper of Audubon says it can get better, but let's take a moment to smile.
People on both sides are saying how great this all will be for the Everglades, but hold on.
Who will actually get the check?
If it ends up in Governor Scott's hands, will he really spend it on the Everglades?
So, who's hands will the check really end up in?
Will they be transparent in their dispersal of the funds?
Or will it all end up in some account hidden to be used after the smoke has all cleared?
And, if most of this money is spent on buying land, how will that restore the Everglades?
Do we really think that everyone will just do the right thing with that kind of money?

August 11, 2011

The Tiny Miami Blue Gets a Tiny Break

This tiny, rare butterfly, the Miami Blue, has only one place on Earth to live safely, well as safely as it can in a hostile world for butterflies, the Florida Keys.
Today the USFWS gave this butterfly about the size of your thumbnail, a little smile and a little wink and said, "Ok, we will protect you for 240 days."
This emergency action came only after many years of ignoring the problems that it faced.
The agency has been targeted by countless environmental groups since 1984, for its failure to protect the butterfly, which by now, has barley enough genetic pool left to sustain it, with less than 50 adults remaining and a new invader in the form of non native iguanas, who eat the flowers that the butterfly needs to live.
Thanks to all of the passionate people and environmental groups who kept after FWS and perhaps, for a moment at least, giving the Miami Blue a tiny chance.

August 8, 2011

Can You Love a Manatee Too Much?

You probably don't want to ask this question of me or my three children.
Back in the 70's on our first trip to Central Florida to visit my parents, we went to Blue Springs State Park to see the Manatees.
While we were there, we were allowed to get into the water and be "loved" by these graceful, docile, trusting animals.
Having them touch you and nudge you, exploring you like they were just as curious about you, as you were about them, was a once in a lifetime experience.
It was the kind of thing that stays with you all of your life, it changes you, it makes you want to protect them, no matter what.
So, in answer to the question asked in this story today, for me, for us, the answer was, is, no.
We can never love any animal too much.
I believe that humans were put on the earth to watch over the animals, not to use them or abuse them.
And as long as I am still breathing, I will always be watching out for the animals.

August 5, 2011

Florida Orthodontist Performs Miraculous Procedure on Green Sea Turtle

Humans are a curious lot.
Just when you think that they are mostly reckless and selfish, an event like this brings it all back to center.
A medical team in Juno Beach, Florida headed up Dr. Alberto Vargas, went to work at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center and accomplished something that may have never been done before.
This dedicated team of talented professionals donated many hours of their own time working valiantly to clear up infections and repair the badly damaged shell of "Andre" a green sea turtle who had been run over by a boat propeller.
Surrounded by a huge joyous crowd, Andre, after a year of intensive care, was finally sent back to the sea whence he came from yesterday.
Bless you Dr. Vargas, may it all come back to you and your team tenfold~

August 2, 2011

Can a Sign Help Save a Life?

These new signs graciously put up by Lamar Advertising in the area with the highest mortality rate for the Florida Panther just may do that.
Perhaps, if more people spent more time looking after Endangered Wildlife, we humans could end up being the good guys after all.