Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

December 22, 2013

You Care About Us~

Noah’s Ark Animals
Picture credit:

What day is it?
It is ” feel good ”  or  “ good news ”  Sunday of course.
My final posting for this year is about a place that I have loved for more than 25 years, it is  the Everglades.
If you have never been there and experienced it, now is the exact right time to go, because this is the lowest point and time for the resident mosquito population.
A recent  email reminded me of why this Ecosystem  is so very vital not only to Florida,  but to the Gulf and the entire South, because  it supports a myriad of wildlife completely dependent on the single most import element on Earth, water.
For the Everglades, keeping it clean, free of toxins and chemicals, but  most of all free-flowing,  is essential.
The National Wildlife Federation has an excellent Blog and today’s good news comes from their most recent issue of Wildlife Promise, and is dedicated primarily to the Everglades.
As those who have been coming here for a bit may recall, my first trip to the Everglades was a memorable one and my first ever encounter with an Alligator~
The result of that unusual meeting was the impetus for a website called  gator-woman, and the two Blogs which followed, all dedicated to the wonderful wildlife of Florida.
But back to the issues at hand about the Everglades.
This story is concerned with the Restore Act which is intended to undo the damage done to the entire Gulf Area from the BP Oil Spill: Restoring the Everglades, Restoring the Gulf

The story goes on to describe the recently completed, elevated portion of the Tamiami Trail, built back in the 1920′s as a connection between Tampa and Miami, but which has since severely choked the Everglades, by holding back the desperately needed water flow.
The further elevation of this vital road will bring new life back to the Everglades.
This particular issue is a critical one for those of us who live in and love Florida and its spectacular array of wild places and wild things.
If a vacation is on your mind right now, I highly recommend the Everglades or any part of Florida, as now is simply the best time of the year to come here, for great weather, no nasty Hurricanes and so much to see and do.
No,  I am not a paid representative of the Florida Visitors Bureau, just one who loves what is here and am desperate to keep it all safe for future generations.
In closing, may I say that starting this Blog was forced on me, I already had one on Google,  as well as  a website and did not feel the necessity for creating another  ” child ”  to care for.
But this person who shares my life has been on WP for two years and nagged me to death to give it a try.
So, in March of this year, I finally relinquished and posted my first Blog.
It has been a magical carpet ride since day one.
And I have all of you to thank for this.
You have come here, supported my often hysterical pleas for involvement on behalf of animals.
Your responses, your support, have completely shocked me.
I was positive that I was alone in my zeal, my passion for protecting animals, but I was so very wrong.
I have posted, you have come and now some ten months later, I feel like all of you are a part of my family, you are definitely a part of my life.
I am grateful for being pushed into this and even more grateful that all of you care and are as indignant as I am, about what is happening to animals globally.
From what is on the news here right now, about the effects of Social Media on Sea World with the over the top backlash from Black Fish, it would seem that we can and have made some positive changes when it comes to protecting animals.
In 2014, I promise to work even harder and be even more involved and hope that you will continue to lend your hearts and minds in support.
While it is true that they have no voice, at least, now we all know that we can speak for them and that people are listening.
God Bless us everyone, but most especially, God Bless all of the animals and keep them safe from harm.
May you all have a wonderful Holiday and see you in 2014.

December 20, 2013

Bear Bloodshed

A beautiful Florida Black Bear
Picture credit:  FDOT

I have been quiet about this for two weeks, but cannot remain silent any longer.
My blood is boiling and there is nothing that anyone can do to stop this,  it would seem.
About two weeks ago, a local woman was out walking her dogs at night and was ” viciously “ attacked by a Black Bear and there was of course, a huge reaction by the local Press.
As many of you may already know, Black Bears in Florida have a nearly perfect record, when it comes to hurting any humans.
In response to the ” vicious “attack, the FWS immediately set out traps and were obsessed with getting the guilty bear off of the streets.
A few days later,  one was caught and FWS was adamant about one fact, they were going to do DNA tests, to be sure that this was the ” guilty “  Bear.
And they promised that they would not kill it, until they knew for sure.
Then a few days later, another  bear was caught, now they had two Black Bears.
A few days later, long before any DNA tests were ever returned, they were  ” euthanized. “
FWS said that they just had no place to keep these two large Bears!
There were still no results from the DNA tests before this was done.
Then just a few days ago, a mother bear and two cubs was caught in the same area.
They were,  it was announced, being held, but not killed.
Finally a day or two ago, it was announced by FWS that the DNA results had come back and that the mother of these two cubs was the ” vicious “ bear that attacked the woman with her dogs that night.
They said because of the two cubs, she will not be killed until they are old enough to be without her and in the meantime all three were sent to live at Busch Gardens in Tampa.
But the most important fact missing in these latest news stories was this, this was a mother Bear out with her two cubs that night  and she was probably startled by the woman with her dogs.
So, this mamma Bear did what any other mother animal would do, she protected her babies.
This point has NOT been made by any news agency, to my knowledge.
So, the two Bears that were killed, were innocent and the “ guilty "  one  was protecting her babies.
But, why on Earth do any of them have to be killed?
The public reaction after the first two were killed, was a complete landslide in favor of the now two dead bears.
People here are completely outraged about this whole nightmare.
But the sickest part of all, is that where this woman was ” viciously “ attacked by this mother bear,  was very close to a heavily wooded area that is known for having many Bears.
My question is this, why do we allow countless homes to be built right in the middle of Bear and other wilderness areas and then kill them when they react as any normal Human would?
If people want no contact with wildlife, then they should move into the city.
If you choose to live out in the woods as we do, then you should expect to see or encounter wild things.
They were here first and they should be given just a little respect.
We are living in their bedrooms, in their dining rooms, not the other way around and if we don’t like that fact, then we need to get the Hell out of their homes.
We are absolutely the intruders here!

A random news story about this issue was chosen to provide you with some general information:
DNA Test Confirms Wrong Bears Killed After Longwood Woman Attacked

December 16, 2013

Whales Rule!

rightwhalesnoaa11  rightwhaleblowhole1   rightwhales3   rwmac
The critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whale
Picture credits: NOAA

For entirely too many years,  the most Endangered Whale on our planet,   the North Atlantic Right Whale,  has had to endure endless red tape battles just to survive in their home waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
They have been harassed to “death” by ships of every size and shape, from countless countries, not the least of which are our very  own US Navy.
Now, thankfully at last, the Whales have been given a  reprieve from death,  with this new permanent solution to their life-threatening problem.
As of this past week, there is in place, a permanent  rule or law,  not subject to the whims of the US or any other Government, a set speed limit in the Atlantic Water Ways, where they travel each year, from  the warm tropical  waters of the Caribbean, all the way up  the Atlantic Coast to the northern most reaches of Canada.
And because of this new rule, wherever that they travel from now on, they will be protected from the number one cause of their  deaths, in this century, ship strikes.
All ships over 65 feet must obey these new and permanent speed limits.
The critically Endangered Right Whale,  whose numbers range between 300-500 , was nearly wiped off the face of the Earth by whalers in the last century who gave it its unfortunate name because it was just the “right ” size to kill.
The Right Whales annually make the long trek south  to give birth in the warm Florida and Caribbean waters and for those who are really lucky , they can frequently be quite easily seen from the shore near the tiny Coastal town of Flagler Beach.
Making the trip there to see them as they pass by, between December and  March,  is highly recommended,  as is an overnight stay in this very friendly town, with a plethora of dining choices  and room accommodations.
The eagerly and long-awaited ruling and stories are here:
Compliance Guide For Right Whales
Obama Administration Praised For Slowing Down Ships
Ship Speed Limits To Protect Endangered Atlantic  Right Whales Made Permanent

December 8, 2013

Scout’s Honor

My son proudly carrying the American flag.

Before your,  as promised for every Sunday,   ” Good News “  story,  an apology.
I have been pretty sick all week and not quite fully functional, so my communications with all of you have really suffered.
I truly regret this, as all of you and this Blog mean the world to me.
Reading about what this Museum is doing for those with physical limitations,  or who are physically challenged, while I was so sick this week,  made me truly grateful to be alive and feeling pretty guilty for my indulgence in self-pity.
It also brought back a flood of extremely good memories.
You may be wondering why this week’s  story,  is NOT about a wild animal,  it is instead about a unique place that could be a beacon of light for others to follow.
Reading about it made me smile, when I felt so awful,  I hope it will  do the same for each of you.
There were three connection points in this story to my own life that will explain why I chose it.
As you may know, my education was in Anthropology, point one in the connection here and you may also remember, the story of my son and his heartfelt comments upon seeing a blind child, connection point two.
As a former Nurse, I can honestly say that what this Museum is doing, is such a refreshingly welcome and positive approach to bridging the gap between the two worlds of those with and without, physical limitations, connection point three.
Raising a child with physical limitations was challenging and having facilities and opportunities such as this one, was always a blessing, which was never taken for granted.
We need so many, many more just like them.
When my young son joined the Cub Scouts at his ” special ” school, his small Troop needed a Den Mother, so I volunteered.
This decision began a lifelong friendship and presented an opportunity for personal growth for me and for him as well.

Our little Troop did things others said that we could not or should not do, like taking a field trip to the Van Nuys Airport with our boys and their varying degrees of physical limitations.
I can still remember standing  at the base of the Control Tower with one of the Control operators who looked at me and then at the boys and said, ” you want to do what? “
But, he saw the look  in my eyes and within minutes,  every one of those little Cub Scouts was up and in that Tower.
They had the time of their lives and made memories for a lifetime.
What they learned that day was, that if you want something, regardless of your physical limitations, if you really want it bad enough, nothing can stop you.
This was the lesson that I repeated to my son his entire life, that nothing could ever stop him, if he wanted it bad enough.
And as he grew into a man, I can tell you, nothing ever did.
He has accomplished some pretty unbelievable things in his life, despite what could have been severe restrictions from the confinement of a wheelchair.
This inspiring story about a very special Museum in Pennsylvania, made me remember those years as a Den Mother to some remarkable little boys and a Co-Den Mother, whose son also had physical limitations, and who to this day is still one of my dearest friends.
Please do enjoy the story:    Please Touch

December 4, 2013


Willow, a one day old baby Giraffe with its mother.
Picture credit: Ralph Daily

I had no intention of writing today, but coming upon this story and the petition that accompanied it, changed that in a heartbeat.
For as long as I can remember, the Giraffe has been the object of my affection and admiration.
There is something so regal, so fragile, so graceful, so endearing about them, how could you not love them.
In my lifetime, I have, with little shame,  amassed a collection of  Giraffes in every form,  all manner of clothing, toys for my children and my dogs of course, stationary, Christmas cards, birthday cakes, Giraffes made of  paper,  wood, copper, bisque, brass, you name it,  if it is a Giraffe anything,  I have it.
In my defense, many of the above were gifts, as my love of this animal was well-known.
But apparently, not everyone loves or cherishes this gentle giant.
What was learned about sadly today, is that there are apparently many places all over Africa right now,  that quite cheerfully advertise  ” Giraffe Trophy Hunting “ for a very hefty price, of course.
My reaction today was/is so over the top because I had no idea that people hunted them.
I can barely speak the words, Trophy Hunting Giraffes.
Please find below, the petition and story for you to reply to,  respond to, and react to, in the manner you see fit~
If you read some of the websites advertising their participation in  this atrocity,  they frequently use words like ethical and impeccable in their  ” Hunting Adventure ”  descriptions.
What on this Earth is ethical about killing a Giraffe with a bow and arrow?

Here are two of the many Hunting sites:
Hunting Giraffe In South Africa
South Africa Giraffe Hunts 

Outrage is really not quite a strong enough word for the depth of my anger at these atrocious acts,  these abominable  behaviors.
There simply are no words.
Please do sign the petition if you are of like thinking.

Thank you as always, for your continuing love of animals~
This is the story:    The Giraffe Hunters
This is the petition:   Stop Trophy Hunting Giraffe

December 3, 2013

Eye See

A Chimpanzee in Tanzania
Picture credit:
Jussi Mononen

A story caught my eye this morning, that has the potential to usher in a new era for animal rights and protection, so it was one that you needed to know about, of course.
In New York, a lawsuit has been filed for a chimpanzee, to give it the same rights as humans.
There are so many sub-plots to this story, that it may be difficult to stay on the right track.
This is not a case about the good guys against the bad guys, in my humble opinion.
Perception, ah there’s that magical word once again, how each of us sees this issue, this one is all about perception.
How will this all end, who can say.
What is extremely important, is that the lawsuit and the case, has those on both sides discussing something that 10 years ago, could probably never have happened, thinking that an animal should have the same rights as humans.
Sanctuaries, like the one that we have here in Florida for Elephants, are again being offered as an alternative to captivity for once wild animals.
This is one option, but there are others, of course.
In this murderous, bloody year for so many animals, this lawsuit just might help swing that sluggish pendulum toward the innocents who are dying, while waiting for anyone to see that their lives are Hell.
Right now, in so many places, animals have zero rights, they are murdered for their body parts, or simply because they have no value, other than what price their corpses may bring.
Globally, Animal Activists are picketing, marching and going to jail, just to bring a little light to an epidemic of cruelty towards beings who, when offered the chance, seem genuinely affectionate to the very ones who have harmed or killed them.
As a perfect example, recently here in Florida, a Manatee got up close and personal with a snorkeler:
Man Cuddles With Snorkeler’s Flipper
Yet, Humans remain the primary root cause of Manatee injuries and deaths every year.
As you may have read on one of my Blog’s, many years ago my children and I were very lucky to share a somewhat similar
experience, before it was outlawed for the safety of the Manatees.
It was an experience that to this day,  can never be forgotten or eclipsed.
Knowing the kindness, the gentleness of these and so many other animals, it therefore seems incomprehensible that we continue to drag our heels to offer animals protection, safety or sanctuary from the evil that Humans repeatedly inflict upon them.
Do I think that this case will go in favor of the Chimpanzees, not very likely.
But, what will hopefully happen now, will be a rush from many sides to file similar suits and help to encourage the non believers to at least consider the idea, that animals are not only valuable and worth protecting, they are truly unique and we are lucky to share this planet with them.

“We, the Human Race, are arrogant in thinking that because we do not understand the language of animals, that what they are saying is not of consequence.
Indeed, the animals are speaking to us and for their sake and ours, we must start listening.”

Taken from my:  Gator Woman Blog

The Chimpanzee Lawsuit Case story is here: Lawsuit Seeks Personhood For Apes

December 1, 2013

Going Green

snailkite1                          woodstorkfws1     
A Florida Snail Kite and Wood Stork
Picture Credits: FFWS & Steve Hillebrand FWS

May we all share a prayer on this  ” World Aids Day.”

Although this is meant to be a “Good News” Sunday story, it comes with an itsy, bitsy,  but……
It was just announced that a long time, proposed Wind Farm, will not be built in the Everglades , which has Florida Audubon, Animal Activists and Environmentalists all over the state, deliriously happy, but….
This IS Florida and both Wind and Solar could help so much with our serious power issues here.
In just the past few months,  the only Solar Farm here in Lake County shut down, and was auctioned off before it ever became fully functional, which was a huge disappointment to those of us who live here and were so excited about having it.
I would much prefer Solar or Wind Power any day, than some of the other alternatives that have been offered in our state recently.
But Audubon and their friends, have a lot of muscle and support here and they are,  for very good reason, most concerned about the expected potential for bird fatalities, as they have happened in other states with Wind Farms.
This is a double-edged sword for me personally, coming from California where Solar and Wind Power have been in place for many, many years and have made such a huge difference.
We need to become a greener state, a greener country, a greener world, because our sickening dependency on non-renewable energy is our past, our future should be a long-term relationship with Mother Earth.
Having been a huge bird lover all of my life, I absolutely want no birds harmed by any type of power, Solar or Wind, and the proposed location of this Wind Farm, in the especially fragile ecosystem of the Everglades, where so much Wildlife is already on the brink of disappearing, had many deeply concerned.
Most, if not all, of the Florida Snail Kites, which have been written about repeatedly on my Blog’s, have already been driven out of their Ancestral homes in the Everglades by human interference.
The Wind Farms project most likely would have finished off any remaining ones and several other Endangered Birds there as well, like the stunning Wood Stork.
So, how about a bit of compromising here?
Can’t we all put our heads together and come up with a place where the birds and Wind and Solar Farms can co-exist peacefully and safely with them?
Yes, it is risky, to have them in close proximity, but so is our never-ending dependency on non-renewable energy sources in this country.
We need to begin to think differently and make some serious changes, if we are to have a future on this planet, but we also need to make sure that when our descendants look around them, they see birds everywhere as well.
Going Green must become our mantra~

The fascinating story is written by an Audubon Associate, as it should be:
Good News For Birds As Everglades Wind Farm Is Scrapped