Wildlife & Development

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Wildlife & Development

Postby RC » Fri Jul 23, 2004 3:45 pm

You may have heard that a woman in Sanibel, FL was attacked by an alligator yesterday.

I'm sad to report, she died today.

Good Morning America reported the incident this morning and interviewed a couple of people who were on the scene.

I got the impression the reporters were trying to draw the witnesses into commenting that the woman had encroached on the habitat or the gator had otherwise been provoked.
The gentleman being interviewed said, "she was bent over so she looked smaller, that gator just thought she was food".

Frequently, you hear about residents feeding gators for a cheap thrill thus causing the gators to "lose their fear of humans". I didn't realize they had any to lose.

Gators are protected in FL although you see them everywhere. If they crawl up onto your lawn, you are not allowed to do anything. Even if you call animal control, they will not remove the gator unless it is considered a nuisance. i.e., its eaten your pet, lunged at your lawn mower etc...

There are wolves in Michigan and mountain lions
in California, and bears in Yellowstone. What are we supposed to do?

Was going to edit for a picture of the gator but didn't work. It was 12 feet long, 457 lbs.

<small>[ 07-23-2004, 04:52 PM: Message edited by: RC ]</small>
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby RC » Fri Jul 23, 2004 3:55 pm

The attack on Melsek was the second on Sanibel this year.


Jane C. Keefer, 74, was attacked April 21 in her back yard.


Keefer recovered. Sanibel resident Robert Steele, 81, wasn’t as lucky.


Steele bled to death from a gator bite on Sept. 11, 2001, in an incident overshadowed by the terrorist attacks.

...Sanibel officials say they received 139 complaints about alligators from June 2001 to May 2002, 102 complaints from June 2002 to May 2003 and 163 complaints from June 2003 to May 2004.
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby piqaboo » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:24 pm

That was one big muthah-gator. :eek:
I'll take knee high boots and a carry-on bag, please.

Cougars in CA need something, but the situation is a little different than in FL with gators.

In CA, the attacks occur in "wilderness" areas - they arent afraid of us and we've forgotten to be afraid of them. The solution isnt clear, but some limited hunting might help remind the cats to be afraid.

Gators afraid of humans? Hard to imagine, and they are literally everywhere - they dont worry about "wilderness". I've seen them in the pools that form in the center of curved freeway on-ramps, on the golfcourse between condominium buildings etc.

On t'other hand, much as I'd object to being gator food, I think (not verified) that more people die in FL from lightening strikes each year than from gator attacks.
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby Nicole Marie » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:31 pm

Well we are building more and more in areas where there is wildlife. We can not expect that clashes between people and animals will not happen. We do have to find a balance. In CT we have passed laws stating that no new development will occure in land that is "untouched". All new development must take place in areas that already have development. The phrase revitalization is used alot around here.

Plus you just thin the herd a bit when a few of the dumb ones get offed by wildlife. (Not saying that the women you pointed out did this.) But if you are dumb enough to feed an aligator... well we can't be suprised if the animal bites back.

You also pointed out to stories from areas that are national parks were you expect to find wildlife... Yellowstone, Sanibel Island. Those areas are national parks and the plants and animals are protected. I hope you are not proposing to get rid of the wildlife? Balances can be developed. But we should not flip out when something happens. Humans have been animal food for a long time!

(This reminds me of people who build in flood zones. When a hurricane comes or flood, they flip when their home is destroyed. Well yes I feel bad for you, but you built in a flood zone... what did you expect? We should not be shocked by this.)
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby piqaboo » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:36 pm

Sanibel has a small preserve on it - more of a bird & shellfish sanctuary than anything. Most of it is a heavily developed vacation community and has been for a very long time.

If there were as many as two witnesses, the lady was not in Sanibel's wild-life preserve area. Its not well traveled (which is a nice thing, for a preserve).

And as noted, gators show up EVERYwhere. They dont care about whether its "their" area or not - they just want a pool of water, and food. So in the case of the Sanibel story, I'd say the gator is in the wrong. And if there is enough left over, I'd like a belt to match the boots.
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby Nicole Marie » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:38 pm

Noted Piq. But I still call it thinning the herd. ;)
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby haggis » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:40 pm

Well, if they don't thin that deer herd ya'll got in the Northeast there won't be in wilderness to preserve!
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby Serenity » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:40 pm

Reminds me of the tape across the floor of some of the rooms that demarcate the division between the dirty and clean area of a room where you transfer materials into a manfacturing area in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.

How do the "bugs" know these rules?
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby haggis » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:46 pm

Serenity,
it's like those dog whistles only dogs can hear, the tape emits a signal on a "bug" frequency we can't see :) :)
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby piqaboo » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:49 pm

We train our "bugs" with bleach, whips, and chains, Serenity. ;)

Some of them even seem to enjoy it :eek:


How does "thinning the herd" via a gator eating an old lady differ morally or philosophically from letting the same old lady die of heart disease because she cant afford the medication to treat it? Am full of insatiable curtiosity.
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby Nicole Marie » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:51 pm

Hi Haggis- We do allow hunting in a small time frame to control the deer. Some towns also drop birth control in the forest. They leave it in food mixes for the deer to slow the population.
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby barfle » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:55 pm

We play by different rules than the critters do, but we are more capable of forcing ourselves to the top of the food chain (with a few exceptions).

I love nature (I'm a long-time member of The Nature Conservancy), but most animals don't mix well with humans. There are exceptions, like cats, dogs, and macaws, but the critters that frequent my back yard (tons of birds, frogs, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and deer) tend to leave when I walk outside. So far, no bears, but there was a bear attack in Virginia a few months back (seems like it was in a rest room in a gas station - definitely NOT a campground, though).

We're growing in population all the time. You in SoCal know that very well (and I understand a couple of you are active contributors to the trend). We can't help but encroach on previously wild land, unless it's previously farm land. And the animals don't have a lot of choice when they are faced with loss of habitat.

I know that deer are a serious problem in many areas of the US. Lots of people don't like the idea of thinning THAT herd, simply because the animals are a heck of a lot prettier than the cows they usually eat. About the only losers, if the deer herd gets thinned, are the body shops.

It appears that alligators are an even worse pest in parts of Florida (although I'm not really qualified to state that as a certainty. It sounds like the herd could use some thinning, though.
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby Nicole Marie » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:57 pm

It's called a joke Piq.

And thinning the herd is when someone stupid does something stupid and when that stupid act kills them you can't help but go... well no shit, what did you expect? Not knowing how she was killed, I can't help but think there was something dumb she did.
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby Shapley » Fri Jul 23, 2004 5:01 pm

Nicole,

She was pruning a tree, part of her job as a landscaper. Obviously, her attention was on the tree and not on the alligator crawling towards her.

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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby barfle » Fri Jul 23, 2004 5:03 pm

Originally posted by Nicole Marie:
It's called a joke Piq.
Check out the Darwin Awards.

Some people aren't "fit" enough to survive and evolve. I don't know if the woman who was killed by the alligator was doing something stupid, but plenty of people do die that way.
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby piqaboo » Fri Jul 23, 2004 5:07 pm

YRH,
I get the thinning the herd thing. Thank goodness for contact lenses or I'd have been thinned out long since.<relieved smiley>

Were the old lady killed by a chicken, I'd be agreeing with you. Having lived in Miami and visited Sanibel, I'm more inclined to say that the gator just took advantage.

Now, being off'ed by a gator while trying to feed it a chicken would definitely qualify one for the Darwin awards!

Yup, gators are not endangered in the continental US anymore, so licenced hunting, or "pest control" would be good. Problem with regular hunters-in-orange-vests type hunting is that American crocodiles are still endangered so you'd need to send your hunters out with licensed guides to prevent "accidental" mis-identifications.

Fortunately the crocs (nasty animals indeed) do tend to stay in the salt estuary portions of the everglades parks, unlike the gators.
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby Nicole Marie » Fri Jul 23, 2004 5:21 pm

<small>[ 07-23-2004, 06:23 PM: Message edited by: Nicole Marie ]</small>
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby Nicole Marie » Fri Jul 23, 2004 5:21 pm

Got it Shapley and Piq. I feel bad for her and her family. But to me it's just nature doing it's thing. Maybe FL should demand that animal control respond to gator calls at least this would move them out of neighborhoods.

Love the Darwin Arwards barfle. We have a weekly paper in this area that prints Darwin Award type events. Always gets a good laugh.
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby dai bread » Sun Jul 25, 2004 5:10 pm

Do Americans farm deer? They're quite lucrative for our venison (cervena) farmers, and there's antler velvet as well.

The comments about people being eaten by wildlife remind me of some statistics from Australia. Apparently they've had 579 people die from shark attacks in a bit over 200 years. Yet every time someone is attacked, there are headlines throughout the country, and a hunt is mounted for the offending animal. Some sharks are now endangered species there. Lately, the message has been getting through. The brother of the last victim said to lay off, and leave the shark alone.

Salt-water crocodiles are protected in Australia, and are becoming a problem. Like their American cousins, they have no fear of humans, and tourists, who are almost universally unfamiliar with crocodiles, are occasionally eaten. A German woman was eaten a few months ago because she went too close to a pool where there was a croc.

We're lucky here. The only animal that preys on humans is another human.
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Re: Wildlife & Development

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Sun Jul 25, 2004 5:34 pm

Game farming; yup. There are ranch/farm-raised emu, deer, elk, buffalo, beefalo, gator, salmon, catfish, shellfish, and most lately, beluga sturgeon. There's a guy making a run for the beluga caviar market using imported black sea sturgeon for his breed foundation. So far, none of his fish have been marketed but the enterprise is still young. I expect we'll see salted eggs long before sturgeon steak.

re the sharks and gators, I figure that they're predators of opportunity. If you're there they may try to eat you. Only defenses are to be armed and aware or be elsewhere. Not like the coyotes, cougars, and bears who come to us because they're smart predators and scavengers and we provide easy meals.
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