Global Tentacles

634px-Giraffe_cave_art
Giraffe Cave Art at the NamibRand Nature Reserve
Picture credit: Namibnat

 

At first glance this morning, this news appeared to be a positive move, made by someone who had their heart and their power, in the right place, and was a cause for tremendous joy.
But then after reading further and seeking secondary and other stories for reference, it seems that all is not as it appears.
Paul Allen, the Billionaire philanthropist, who is seemingly strongly supportive of protecting Endangered Wildlife, has several not so nice personal blemishes, that must also be considered before we proceed to give him his Best Global Humanitarian Award.
Mr. Allen has introduced a measure to get on the Fall Ballots in Washington State, that will put a hurting on those who use the World’s  most at risk wildlife to make a dirty income.
The measure, called Inititive 1401, has already reached, thanks to all of his volunteers in the field, the necessary number to get on to the Ballot in November.

This is a great thing.

What I am having trouble with, is the dark side of his company Vulcan and his sister Jody, who was the CEO, and has just stepped down after some very ugly issues about wildlife  poaching and sexual harassment were brought to light by accusers who work for Allen’s company.
I will not go fully into these things, as they are well presented in the links below.
What I am interested in pointing out here is this.
When very rich, very powerful people make the news and receive gushing accolades without the public or the press, doing more than just a little background digging into the facts, bad things can happen.
In this case, Allen, who has passionately promoted this initiative in Washington, to save and protect wildlife, seems awesome, but something here is not right, and  it all smells just a little rank, when you learn that he has regularly taken African Safaris and owns Tourist Lodges in Botswana.

Now add to this, the fact that his Company Vulcan,  formerly run by his sister, has been taken to court and accused of smuggling, poaching and more.
All too often, people like Allen and his sister, are unlike you and me, frequently kept safely in a cocoon, so that the scandals, or dirt runs off of them and does not stain their pristine, public images.
My concern and primary reason for writing about this today is, that it would be so much easier to believe Allen and all the others who claim to be truly concerned about the welfare of Endangered Wildlife, if there was not so damn much money involved in all of this.

If, as you do so passionately profess Mr. Allen, you truly do wish to protect Endangered African Wildlife, may I suggest that you dispose of your African Tourist Lodges and suspend your Safari trips?

It would be wonderful to see those with so much wealth, using it to personally educate and enlighten the rest of the world to what is happening to the precious few wild animals that we have left, before they are all gone.

We absolutely must take this message out to the schools, to the young, who will become our next generation of protectors.

Sadly, access to excessive money can turn even the best people’s heads the wrong way and there is just too much at stake here.

The treacherous arms of Global Smugglers and Wildlife Traffickers can have very long tentacles, some are even said to be attached to Global Mobsters, that just may reach into even safe corners, including those of the well protected, well insulated, excessively wealthy.

 

Places to learn more:

Washington Rare Species Trafficking Measure, Initiative 1401 (2015)

Global Efforts to Stop Illicit Wildlife Trade: Are They Enough?

China Promises an End to Its Ivory Trade, While Some U.S. Politicians Pander to Wildlife Traffickers

Paul Allen: Seeking unbroken tall bones?

Paul Allen’s sister steps away from managing $17 bln fortune

Seahawks owner Paul Allen, sister settle as bodyguards claim smuggling, bribery

War threatens existence of wildlife species in South Sudan

Washington State Initiative Aims to Protect Iconic Animals Threatened With Extinction

Paul Allen bankrolls initiative to ban rare-species trafficking

Mixed Blessings

florida_panther
A magnificent Florida Panther
Picture credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
 
On our news this morning were at first glance what appeared to be three happy/good stories.

After so many wildlife tragedies in the news lately, these were absolutely welcomed and needed to be shared.

First the numbers for our critically endangered Florida Panther have reported to have rebounded and were cause for at least temporary joy, right?

But wait, Nick Wiley, FWC executive Director, one for whom my respect has greatly diminished after his failed promise three years ago, that Black Bears would never be hunted, may be at it again.

Just as three years ago when the Florida Black Bear was removed from the state’s protection and had its Threatened/Endangered status removed, will the Florida Panther now become the next animal/victim to be put on the happy hunters wish list, if this does happen?

In the related story below, when it says Florida Panther, please mentally insert the words Black Bear and you will see what I fear will become deja vu.

I am sure that Nick and FWC are under tremendous pressure from hunters, gun clubs, the NRA, ranchers and residents in the upscale area where the Panther currently has its highest numbers, to do something, but to take them off of the Endangered Species list when they are still so very small in numbers and considering how many die each and every year from car strikes, outright murders, and other ugly human encounters, would be disastrous for this much beloved State of Florida mammal.

Your move Nick, what will you decide that the fate of our Panther shall be?

Next up, a very rare occurrence, a Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle was recently spotted on a local Florida Beach nesting and laying her eggs at Cape Canaveral.

The announcement of this event is causing giddy delirium and great joy here, considering the many obstacles that all nesting sea turtles must always overcome just to do so.

As with so many others in the depleted animal kingdom, Human interference and greed are the primary source for this.

The final good news story was about a young girl from California who has been given a new artificial arm by those brilliant minds at our own UCF.

She,  like Winter,  now has a brand new way to shine with the generous gift of life from the “3-D Arm Team” at UCF.

It was all a carefully orchestrated, well-directed sweet surprise, by both the school and the Clearwater Aquarium.

So, all in all, this turned out to be a day of gifts that were indeed a mixed blessing.
 

Places to learn more:

State suggests review of Florida panther status

Florida Panthers died at a record rate in 2014

Rarest sea turtle nests found at CCAFS

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle  (Lepidochelys kempii)

Kemp’s ridley sea turtle recovery plan

Girl, 10, gets surprise 3-D arm delivery from UCF students

Calif. Girl Born With No Right Hand Gets Surprise Prosthetic

Coral Crisis

UnderwaterWorld
Many thousands of species call Coral Reefs home~
Picture credit: underwater universe

 

Yesterday on WUCF, our local PBS Channel, there was an excellent dual story about Coral Reefs and the depressing decline of them worldwide and also one about the alarming situation with Oysters.

Coral Reefs are one of the most threatened and most in peril of all the world’s ecosystems and the future does not look good, unless, we step in and do what is necessary to stop what may soon become complete decimation.

Renowned Australian Scientist, Marine Ecologist, Dr. Katharina Fabricius and her team have worked tirelessly for many years studying the negative impacts of various factors on Coral Reefs and Marine Life around the Globe and the program yesterday was dedicated to their work.

Living here in the Sunshine State, we are blessed with the ability to take a short drive down to the Keys and see our very own Coral Reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

But the pleasure of seeing the immense beauty of Coral Reefs, may be short-lived for all of us.

I can feel Al Gore breathing down my neck, as I write this, but one fact taught in my Geology Classes, was that the Earth has repeatedly, over millions of years, chilled and warmed since its inception.

However, our very bad habits are speeding things up right now.

Yes, we Humans are quite to blame for many of these changes in Global Marine Life and Coral Reefs, as well as other bodies of water and threatened wildlife.

The current impact of Global Warming, whether our Governor, or anyone else in Government or politics, wants to admit, believe, or deny it, is affecting everything that lives, grows and swims in our Global Seas.

And yes, we are causing and are to blame, for a great deal of this.

We Humans use pesticides, poisons and chemicals everywhere, without a thought as to what they will do to all living things, including us!

Rivers, streams, lakes and oceans are being murdered and are dying a slow painful death, due to our ongoing ignorance, greed and stupidity.

We cannot continue our evil ways and expect that the planet will just deal with it.

Our planet and entirely too many living things on it, especially our Coral Reefs, are in crisis mode.

We made this mess, now we need to clean it up.

 

Places to learn more:

Coral Reefs

Florida’s Coral Reefs

Coral reef fish danger – Blue Planet – BBC Environment

CORAL REEFS – POLYPS IN PERIL

Coral reefs and climate change: A message for Copenhagen

Ocean acidification 

Oceans of Acid: How Fossil Fuels Could Destroy Marine Ecosystems

Elements in the Ocean

Acid tests for corals

New Study Warns Warmer, Acidic Oceans Will Kill Coral Reefs

The Australian Institute of Marine Science

Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef

 

Lovely Leatherback~

LeatherbackSeaTurtle
A Nesting Florida Leatherback Sea Turtle
Dermochelys coriacea
Photo credit: NOAA – Public Domain
 

For those fortunate ones of us who live here in the tropical paradise known as Florida, the news this morning brought a rare and treasured site and story, it was of a Leatherback Sea Turtle who had recently been seen on the beach at Canaveral National Sea Shore, laying her eggs.

According to reporter Dan Billow, who has covered the Florida Space Coast for over 25 years for WESH TV, this was a once in a lifetime occurrence.

What made it so,  was the fact that the lovely Leatherback weighing in at over 800 pounds, was doing her nesting and egg laying in broad daylight, something that rarely ever happens.

The Leatherback is the largest of our Florida Sea Turtles and this was a blessing for those of us here, who love them and do everything possible to ensure their safety during nesting season, which hopefully will also guarantee their future.

The Leatherback is one of three Florida Sea Turtles who are listed as Endangered, the List also includes the Green and Hawksbill Sea Turtles.

The story today about this Sea Turtle mother makes what we saw happen in our own front yard yesterday even sweeter.

Harriet our resident Gopher Tortoise, was next to her primary hole/tunnel, at about noon, quite busy sending sand flying, it appeared that she then made a small mound or nest and looked to be laying her own eggs.

We both found this news interesting, as we did not know that Sea Turtles and Gopher Tortoises did their nesting at the same time.

We may be grandparents again soon and we are, as to be expected, both thrilled.

The representative from the Park Service and the TV News reporter both agree that things may finally be looking up for this gentle giant.

Congratulations and Happy Mother’s Day to a Lovely Leatherback~
 

Places to learn more:

Rare 800-pound sea turtle nests on Brevard County beach

800 Pound Leatherback Sea Turtle Lays Eggs

Canaveral National Sea Shore

Loggerhead Nesting In Florida

Endangered or Threatened Species

Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) – NOAA

Leatherback sea turtle – Wikipedia

Leatherback Sea Turtle – Gator – Woman.com
 

Patron of the Oceans

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

 

On AMHQ 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

 

Gone is Forever

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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

 

Bison and Bears, the connection~

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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

 

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