Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Horny Toads

Horny Toads of Texas, which are actually lizards, are becoming scarce. This writing from Duckworks Pottery is perceptive about the scarcity of some reptiles these days. I would like to think that people could resolve problems of traffic and animals. One place to go is the Critter Crossings Website: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/wildlifecrossings/main.htm

This is from Duckworks Pottery (http://www.duckworkspottery.com/duckworkspottery/index.htm)

"I make ceramic sculptures in the Texas Hill Country, home to horned toads and lots and lots of cactus.

We don't see many horny toads these days. No one knows where they have gone--there are different ideas. Being cold blooded, they like to lie on warm pavement and some speculate that many have been squished flat by car wheels. Their favorite food is large red ants, and the red ants have largely disappeared as well. Fire ants are the favorite reason for that. I like to think that horny toads are way smarter than anyone could imagine (unlike the white tailed deer who just cannot seem to realize that cars will win every time), and that they have formed a secret underground society, perhaps with the red ants--a sort of symbiotic relationship where the toads consume just enough ants to stay alive and meanwhile exhude some sort of substance that repels fire ants and at the same time attracts whatever the red ants like to eat."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rescuing Box Turtles from Maryland’s Planned ICC Highway (part 3)

As promised more on the turtles!

Major construction is supposed to start in October-November 2007.

The Humane Society and the Box Turtle Advisory Commission are now seeking out turtles. They are marking and inventoring the turtles. Later these turtles will be outfitted with a transmitter, when the groups receive them. However, worries for the turtles abound.

For one, there may not be enough transmitters. Some of the transmitters are too large for the baby turtles. Once construction begins, the groups will have to search and dig for the turtles. Disrupting a turtle during hibernation is not helpful for the turtles. Plus no one have moved 150 turtles at one time. Also since not all of the turtles have been found, construction workers are trained to pick up the turtles and call the environmentalists.

It does not bode well for the turtles. Meanwhile, the lawsuits concerning the ICC are still pending in the courts. However, notice has been received that construction will start - date unknown.

Find out more about the ICC:

WikiPedia: ICC

Toll Road News

Monday, October 15, 2007

Meaning of the Red Kangaroo

From Scott Alexander King, "Animal Dreaming"

"If Red Kangaroo has leapt into your life, ask yourself: Are you taking adequate responsibility for your life, your role as parent or leader and the welfare of your people? Do you live in a constant state of stress, just surviving from one day to the next? If you are, do you consider this as taking responsibility for your actions? Have you sacrificed a part of yourself for the benefit of the family that you now regret letting go? Have you put some part of your life ‘on hold’ and feel annoyed that no one appreciates it? If so, what prompted you take this action, and for how long are you going to wait to reactivate them? If now is not the right time then set a goal for which you can aim, thus making the wait more bearable."

Contrast this with the previous post about kangaroo slaughter.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kangaroo Slaughter in Australia and Language

I am still working on the box turtles. The ICC has been allowed to go forward. Tomorrow....

(Anti-Greenpeace Press Release, edited by me.) I edited it because it included language that does not promote civil behavior. The message is a good one but when you branch into inflammatory language, it ceases to produce the results you want. Instead such language promotes a hostile reaction.

I do agree that this should be looked into and examined. Why slaughter kangaroos? How does it help to end global warming? How does eating meat contribute to global warming? Are there other ways to end global warming?

Today Greenpeace is actually calling for the commercial slaughter of millions of kangaroos as a solution to . . . global warming! Now Greenpeace energy campaigner Mark Wakeham is urging Aussies to eat kangaroo to help reduce land clearing and the release of methane gas. "It is one of the lifestyle changes we can make," Mr. Wakeham said. "Changing our meat consumption habits is a small way to make an impact."

Obviously, Mr. Wakeham is not a vegetarian, which of course is the more positive way of changing meat consumption habits. The proposal to ommercially slaughter kangaroos is contained in a report, Paths to a low-Carbon Future, commissioned and released by Greenpeace. Roughly three million kangaroos are killed and commercially sold for meat each year. They are shot between the eyes at night with high-powered guns. Greenpeace wishes to see this number doubled. Australians eat only about a third of the 30 million kilograms of 'roo meat produced annually. This "delicacy" is exported to dozens of countries and is most popular in Germany, France, and Belgium.

The Greenpeace report has renewed calls for the Australian state of Victoria to lift a ban on harvesting kangaroos for food. Kangaroo meat presently sold in Victoria is imported from out of the state. The commercial kangaroo meat industry has seized the Greenpeace report to strengthen its demand to remove the kangaroo slaughter ban in Victoria.

**The Australian kangaroo population has been cut in half over the past five years because of excessive drought. A major commercial slaughter is hardly going to be beneficial to this diminished population.** The Greenpeace report by Dr. Mark Diesendorf, from the University of New South Wales, states that greenhouse gas emissions need to be slashed by at least a third by 2020 in order to avoid a climate change catastrophe. One of his recommendations is reducing beef consumption and increasing kangaroo meat production. "There's a small sub-set of environmentalists who see the kangaroo as a cuddly animal which should be left alone. They are entitled to their view, but more and more people are moving towards eating it,'' said Dr. Diesendorf.

What is Greenpeace thinking? Or are they thinking at all? Greenpeace is actually calling for a massive slaughter of a wildlife species for commercial purposes. To openly support the largest massacre of any wildlife species in the planet is going beyond the bounds of acceptability. What would possess them to issue a call for a kangaroo slaughter?

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Founder and President Captain Paul Watson was also a co-founder of Greenpeace. "I feel a little like Dr. Frankenstein, having helped to create this green mean monster. There can be no justification for this insane proposal." Al Johnson, who founded Greenpeace USA and was a member of the film crew in 1984 that made Goodbye to Joey was shocked when he heard this proposal. "This is inexcusable. How can we produce a passionate film denouncing the horrific kangaroo slaughter and then advocate the mass slaughter of kangaroos a few years later?"

"It is interesting that Dr. Diesendorf does not mention vegetarianism as a solution to global warming, nor does he mention the need to reduce human populations or to curb our excessive consumption of fish," said Captain Watson. "Instead, he has chosen to become Dr. Death for the 'roos and is advocating the mass slaughter of a wild native animal that has been a positive member of the Australian ecosystem for tens of thousands of years. And he dismisses those who disagree with him as a 'small subset of environmentalists.' "

Please contact Dr. Diesendorf and voice your opposition to the mass commercial slaughter of kangaroos for dinner. Tell Greenpeace that far from being a member of a "small sub-set," you are a true environmentalist, and it may choose to push this plan, but not in your name or the name of environmentalism.

Dr. Mark Diesendorf: m.diesendorf@unsw.edu.au

Monday, October 08, 2007

Rescuing Box Turtles from Maryland’s Planned ICC Highway (part 2)

What is the ICC Highway?

This 18 mile highway would run north of the Capital Beltway (Washington D.C.) aka 495, connecting Interstate 270 with Interstate 95 in Laurel MD. This highway has been debated for years now to help the traffic flow in Maryland. One problem, it goes through prime turtle territory as well as other animals. This road is to be a six lane toll road.

My Opinion

The problem with building more roads is that they increase the traffic. Instead of roads, mass transit is needed. However, in this area (VA-DC-MD), people prefer driving to using the bus or subway. Sigh, we have the worst air pollution outside of L.A. Instead ozone actions days, we go one step higher - Code Purple.

The Turtles?

This highway costs $2.4 billion. They have only allocated $20,000 to finding the turtles and putting transmitters on them. The transmitter will allow for turtle evacuation when the highway construction starts. However, the time is limited and will probably occur when the turtles are hibernating.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Rescuing Box Turtles from Maryland’s Planned ICC Highway (part 1)

This is a first in a series of blog entries about saving Box Turtles.

First the facts about turtles:
As you may not know, eastern box turtles are a dwindling species. They have low egg counts, dwindling habitats, collisions with cars, and been beat up by children with sticks. Since box turtles live long lives, most people don't know that babies are not being born in great numbers.

Turtles hardly venture a few miles from their homes. Therefore when a major highway or development happens in their areas, many turtles start wandering in search of a new home. They rarely find one.

One thing that people can do is record the turtles in their areas. Make note of them, and try to keep children away from the area. Some areas have worked with their various Department of Highways to set up safe animal crossing areas for turtles and other slow moving areas.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Meaning of Sugar Gliders

Enough with the sugar gliders? Not quite. This is the final post in this series.

The meaning of sugar gliders from Ann Williams-Fitzgerald, "Australian Animal Tarot Deck":

In the Tarot, they are the Lovers. The key words are "faith, choices, love, and relationship".

From the Animal Dreaming Forum
By Ravenna:

"Sugar glider teaches the wisdom of being able to fend for what is important to you in an assertive manner; without appearing fearsome or threatening. It is important in life that we don't go through it submitting to everyone's desires and suppressing our own wishes, or for that matter, being so aggressive that we scare off everyone! Sugar glider encourages a middle path, that is often quite masculine in nature.

Sugar glider also teaches us the value of the child in community. Often children are pushed to the side and rarely listened to, but sugar-glider teaches us that it is very important to actually *listen* to our children, and the children of a community, and what they have to tell us. This doesn't just include the cuter 6-8 year olds, but also the more obnoxious teenagers.

There is also value, in your life (if you have always been attracted to sugar gliders) in really respecting your sleep patterns and your occasional need to be introverted. It is important when distancing oneself from society that we still maintain a close connection to our family and friends, but introversion and rest is something your body and spirit crave.

Sugar-glider reminds us that we can do this. Finally, all the gliders tend to teach us that sometimes we need to do a bit more lateral thinking in order to reach a goal. As the gliders soar sideways and laterally to other trees to reach food sources, and communal nests - so glider can teach us to look beyond the square for that which nourishes us and feeds our spirit. Our lives and our lifestyles might seem a bit eclectic, but they literally help our spirit soar."

After reading this, I know understand why Gilbert Arenas choose the sugar glider to be a part of his cartoon series.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sugar Gliders (part two)

More on the Sugar Gliders. After reading about them on the net, I have discovered they are the latest in pocket pets. I have a hard time with people having wild animals as pets. Sugar Gliders need a lot of care and feeding that most people do not know about.

From Australian Fauna:
These amazing little animals are native to Australia, and have taken their name from their ability to glide through the air and their love of sweet things such as sugar.

These creatures are found along eastern and northern Australia. The Sugar Gliders are small creatures with a shiny grey-silver coat. They are around 40 cm's long from nose to tail, and weigh just 150 grams.

They feed at night, mainly on insects found in trees, but also the sap from trees such as the eucalyptus. They can move about very efficiently from tree to tree, and glide through the air.

More editorial content from Sugar Glider University :

Sugar glider husbandry is very difficult for the average pet owner. Sugar gliders are not domesticated animals, and are, therefore, not a "companion pet."

Owning and maintaining a sugar glider colony is more like maintaining a small zoo exhibit than having a pet. It is very important to practice good husbandry with sugar gliders, as most captive sugar gliders in the U.S. die very prematurely due to inadequate husbandry practices.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sugar Gliders (part one)

Sugar gliders are marsupials from Australia. They are kept in the U.S. as an exotic pet. Please, note that I do not condone keeping exotic pets, since they become pests in their adopted country. However, here is some information about them as a pet.

From Pawprint: http://www.pawprintonline.com/central-glider.html

"Sugar GlidersThe sugar glider is a small arboreal marsupial from northern and eastern Australia, New Guinea and other nearby islands, where they live in the eucalyptus forests.

Sugar gliders reach up to 6 inches in body length. They have long bushy tails, velvety gray fur with black markings, large black eyes and feet well adapted to their life in the trees.

Their most striking feature is their gliding membrane, which stretches from wrist to ankle. This gives them the ability to glide through the air, up to 150 feet in a single leap.

Pet sugar gliders have a life span of 12 to 15 years. Intelligent animals, they recognize voices, can solve problems and love to play.

Pet sugar gliders enjoy spending time with their humans and make wonderful pets. However, they require much more time and attention than most small animals and have special dietary and housing needs. Extremely social animals, they should always be kept in pairs or small groups. "

More information can be found at: http://exoticpets.about.com/od/sugargliders/Sugar_Gliders.htm

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sugar Gliders and Basketball Players

At the Washington Wizards' media day, Gilbert Arenas, one of the star players, passed out stuffed sugar gliders to promote his cartoon series. "Gazo the Pranksta". The sugar glider is called "Agent Zip". As Mr. Arenas explained, "He's a sugar glider. He's a character, but not really a character, and he was the cutest thing I could give you guys."

(The cartoon series is about Mr. Arenas' high school days. http://www.gazothepranksta.com/)

Inside the sugar glider's zippered pouch was the following poem:
"Hypocrites, fools and the oversensitive beware.
Embrace your differences.
Who said life was fair?
Conforming for the inside.
What are you doing?
Watching from the outside.
Creativity brewing.
Don’t take yourself so seriously.
Things aren’t always as they appear.
It’s cool to be different.
Especially here.
We’re Generation Zero."


What are sugar gliders, you may ask?

Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Dolphin Statue at Shell Station in Springfield, VA (3)

This is the third installment in the saga on the Dolphin Statue at the gas station.

This dolphin was purchased as part of "A Dolphin's Promise" Project sponsored by Virginia Beach (VA, USA), "Our dolphins, our city, our promise" for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and for the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program. As the city officials state, "Every time a Dolphin is spotted in Virginia Beach it will be a symbol of our commitment to help find a cure and our promise to help those battling with cancer."

As their website states:

"A Dolphin’s Promise is a non-profit organization working in partnership with the city of Virginia Beach. Our goal is to bring hundreds of life size sculptures of dolphins to the shores and neighborhoods of our beautiful city. This is a project with a very important purpose; to raise one million dollars for cancer research and to help save and protect marine life. "

Visit them at A DOLPHIN'S PROMISE: http://www.adolphinspromise.com/index.htm