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dirtgirl_wt

frustrations with common perceptions of wildlife

dirtgirl
17 years ago

Just here in the last few days I have discussions about wildlife with different people that left me disgusted and depressed and convinced that for every two steps forward we take, there will be three backwards.

I truly believe that for every one person with even a slight grasp of the complexities and dynamics of a healthy ecosystem there must be ten Joe Sixpacks strolling about with blinders on who only see what they want to see, or believe what they have been told by other Joes.

Here, in short, are a few of the incredible things I have heard lately, and all of them deal with how one particular species or another, or one that is reintroduced is "ruining" our local ecosystem:

Turkeys are a bad, bad thing. They are not native (?!) and were brought in by the DNR and they eat all the quail eggs so that's why there aren't any quail left. (from a devout quail hunter) And the woods are full of "turkey mites" now (I have decided that these mysterious mites must be deer ticks because I've got turkeys everywhere and never seen anything new on my shins) and these same turkeys are ruining the mushroom hunting because they till up whatever mushrooms they don't eat. And I had a deer hunter tell me turkeys were ruining the deer hunting because deer won't associate with them...the turkeys work up the ground and the deer can't smell where a predator has been. This one really had me scratching my head. Predators? Of deer? Oh, you mean hunters...

Then I heard from the die-hard rabbit hunter camp. Amazingly, no one accused (yet) turkeys of eating young rabbits. However, according to them we do need to kill off all the 1) coyotes, 2) hawks and owls 3) foxes, and 4) pray the bobcats don't get a better foothold because that's why their hunting has gone to pot. Maybe it never occurred to them that it might instead have something to do with 1) their 15 free-range tom cats, 2) their burning and mowing and plowing of every fencerow in the county, and perhaps 3) the fact that most of them choose to ignore bag limits and shoot more than their tag allows.

We have one or two eagles in our area now...I kept it to myself when I first spotted one months ago for fear it would be a Joe target. Just this week one of my neighbors drove up and wanted to know if I'd seen the eagle. I told him I had, asked him what he thought of his first good look at such a magnificent bird, and he told me that it was amazing that a bird that big could catch songbirds and quail. I felt that queasy feeling in my gut coming on. I told him then that I wasn't sure about eagles catching songbirds, but that I knew they did eat a lot of fish when they could get it, as well as carrion. That's when he got a look on his face and said "Well I like fish myself!" I thought of the rabbit hunters and the quail hunters and suddenly had a mental picture of this guy now bringing a rifle along on his fishing trips.

Seems like greed and personal preference are the driving force with most of the people I know, not learning about complex relationships among different species and population dynamics. I am so sick and tired of finding dead hawks and owls, possums and coons,and then hearing some idiot spouting garbage about why it's the right thing to do. I apologize for my ranting, but it frustrates me to tears to think that I could try til I am blue in the face to change the rural mindset and most of it will be a waste of breath.

Comments (44)

  • Flowerkitty
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That's why we need tv and movies, to slowly introduce the younger generation to a new way of looking at things. When a whole community has a mindset, it takes a sneak attack and a couple generations for thngs to sink in. It works best if the media doesnt try to declare rules for every which thing a person does. I would rather we let up an telling people what to eat, how to live, what to think and say, when they are obligated to do forced voluntary community service, but work on making people cherish and value the wild species. The other stuff mostly affects the doer, but attitudes on wildlife keeps the wildlife alive. For instance, Canada is extremely politically correct; just preaching certain literal Bible passages can get you jail time for hate speech, yet Canada is allowing the biggest baby seal hunt ever. Those blankety blank seal clubbers are committing irreversable acts. Years ago tv used to have Smokey the Bear commercials all the time with the message we must prevent forest fires to help the baby animals. That made a big impression on me as a kid not just the evil of the fire, but the need to protect baby animals

  • John_D
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This is a grass roots problem: you have to educate humans one by one and dispel myths as they pop up. ("No, raccoons do not kill cats." "No, opossums aren't just big sewer rats." Yes, eagles and other raptors are protected by law and you'll go to jail if you shoot one." "Yes, the use of steel traps is illegal in WA.")
    But there are some things you can't fight. I no longer tell my neighbors about the presence of certain animals, like seeing a coyote or bobcat. When I found cougar tracks down by the creek last week, I stepped on them to muss them up, hoping no one would learn about the big cat's presence.

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  • Elly_NJ
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hey, I got a good one.

    I work in a central NC rural school. I had students tell me that there are no male catfish; that female catfish breed with eels.

    Unfortunately, it seems stupid people keep spawning.

  • jillmcm
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Dirtgirl, I feel for you. I have had more of those conversations myself than I care to think about, many of them with people who are fairly well educated otherwise. Educating one on one does help, even if it can drive you mad sometimes. Some of our best conservationists are former hunters/trappers/etc. who finally had their eyes opened to reality - often by the dedicated efforts of someone like you. Don't give up!

  • apcohrs
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We used to have a lot of red fox in the area until the coyotes moved in. So I was very excited to learn that my Dad (in town) has a fox pair in the neighborhood. He's excited too; the foxes apparently denned under his compost heap this winter.

    Then he tells me about his neighbors who call the cops whenever the fox are sighted - to come shoot that dangerous wild critter.

  • dirtgirl
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    John D, that's exactly how my behavior has been modified over the years. Now when I come across something like the eagle (I told only those people that I knew would treasure the experience the same as I had) or bobcat tracks, I either keep it completely between myself and my husband or maybe call the DNR and let them know.

    Sorry about that ranting though...I felt better afterwards but sometimes it's easy to let yourself get negative.
    One thing I never ever let myself forget: it is never too late with a child.

  • Elaine_NJ6
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I had an epiphany about this a couple of years ago when I was studying the book of Job. (I'm Jewish, and I'm not a fundamentalist of any kind.) After Job finally complains about all the terrible stuff that has happened to him, god gets annoyed, and he asks Job if he understands how the entire universe works--do you know where the wind comes from, what makes the stars move, etc., etc. In other words, unless you understand how everything works, you have no right to complain, because you are seeing things only from your tiny, incomplete point of view, whereas god has to see everything. My epiphany was that we humans seem to cursed with the ability to see things only from our own point of view, and unfortunately we see that only too clearly. So the first people who arrived in the Americas exterminated all the megafauna. And my neighbor cut down a beautiful silver maple because she thought that was where the cicadas came from, and one of them hit her in the head, and she hated that. And your neighbor shoots an eagle because he thinks the eagle is stealing his fish. And politicians won't raise gas taxes to encourage development of alternative fuels because they want to get reelected. And everyone pours fertilizer on their lawns because they think only of their own little tiny piece of property and have no idea where the runoff goes. Or waters excessively because they don't know where the water comes from. (I live in an old, built-up suburb, so lawns are the dominant ecosystem here.) I too do not mention it when I see foxes or hawks.

    I know that this is the problem, but I have no idea what the solution might be. Read "Collapse," Jared Diamond's new book about environmental disasters throughout history.

  • dgower82
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The funniest thing that I ever heard was that we should kill all the coyotes because they are eating all the deer. Also that there is not enough deer like there used to be years ago. That was when there was so many deer that the dnr had people come into the parks to get rid of most of them because they were starving and eating everthing.

  • Jenneyz9FL
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    So many people watch T.V. and watch the commercials. If there were more commercials educating the public in what would probably have to be an entertaining way, due to so many people seeking pleasure, then perhaps the process could be speeded up and it wouldn't require someone to have to want to watch that type of program...just slip it in between their favorites. The other way is to start placing billboards, ones that would catch the eye and people would think they were going to read something in line with their pursuits, drawn in by the picture perhaps and then they would read the targeted words. Not just billboards, you see, but posters on buses, bus stops, taxi cabs, inside government buildings, at carwashes, restaurants, public restrooms, bumper stickers on vehicles, in airports, subways, anywhere people go. And why not create a T.V. show and movies that are entertaining while having the underlying purpose of educating people about the ecosystem, maybe even subtly so they aren't even aware of it really and their attitudes just start changing without them actually doing it, but just from being exposed to positive ecosystem messages...oh, and why not write songs and get a popular artist to sing them on the radio, all the while keeping in mind the need people have for entertainment so they would listen to the words. So many ways to change this....dance routines incorporate the message into the dance and music and perform publicly making sure every patron has a booklet with the ecosystem message in the story of the dance. Radio is a good way...put it right there with the popular talk shows, get a good host and let people call in...just think how many people would tune in especially with so many having conflicting views on this topic. Magazine ads and articles in the magazines most popularly read...eye catching appealing ads and articles perhaps with famous people pictured within. More childrens books on the ecosystem...fun to read with lots of pictures. A class available in every school for every age on the modern ecosystem and taking personal responsibility for maintaining it. (Oh cool, there's a white ibis in the front yard) Anyway that's my 2 cents.

  • catherinet
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Wouldn't it be cool if someone like Steven Spielberg would make a movie about the earth and taking care of it and the interconnectedness of everything, and the ripple effect of all the humans' actions? I think something like that would have the greatest effect on the masses. But unfortunately, it would probably only be singing to the choir.
    I don't want to say too much here, since I'm so depressed and negative about all of it right now, that I don't want to depress anyone else with my sadness. I'm to the point where I realize that I can only be concerned with MY relationship with the earth, and let the others go.
    But I wholeheartedly agree with Dirtgirl, that our salvation is with the children.

  • Aurore
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Catherine
    Our salvation is also with the legislature and each and every one of us.
    We can go to see the animals and the beauty of places like Yosemity national park and Yellowstone because of forward thinking people like Teddy Roosevelt who wanted to ensure that these places would be there for his children in their natural pristine beauty.
    We need to support these efforts.
    How I wish some forward thinking legislative members would see how our farmlands are being divided up and sold off because farmers make more money selling their land than they do farming. Once the houses are built these areas are lost to farming and animals. Oh well, just one of my pet peeves.
    Stay positive.

  • yellowbell
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I know how you feel too. My in-laws live in the country, but then any animal that they perceive as a threat or even animals that are just annoying to them (wild cats, snakes, birds, coyotes), they shoot. If I point out ways they could avoid shooting something, I'm called a "tree hugger." Geez Louise.

  • DaveOdd
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think there should be a bag limit on stupid people. If someone says more than three stupid things in 10 minutes, it is open season. So long as you provide a 300 word essay explaining why you shot them in the face. Oh and of course you can only shoot three a year.

    The problem with rural folks is most of them are die hard Christian Conservative Republicans, and according to them "God put everything here for us to rape and destroy at our liesure".

    I've talked to county sheriff's officers who are more than happy to tell me about how they shoot and run over snakes because they don't like them. That's good thinking in impoverished farmland, make sure those rodents make everyone poorer. One cop said "I kill them because I don't like them" and I wanted (but didn't) say "There are a lot of people who don't like cops...."

    Dave

  • WiValerie
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hey Dirtgirl,
    Be glad you are down there in IL, up here in WI the new big hunting/enviromental debate is over feral cats. Hunters want to shoot them.
    There are some groups here that are trapping neutering and rereleasing feral cats. Without the usual feline preventitive immunization programs, I'm sure these cats have a much shorter life span than dometic cats.
    What is the humane thing to do in this situation? It's true that the feral cats catch song birds.
    I've never had a big problem with hunters especially since most eat the animals they shoot.
    But what are they going to do this time? Eat cats? Sick! VAL

  • dirtgirl
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Please please please don't get me started over killing snakes...my day is going really well so far.

    Eating cats? Well, given our cultural stigma regarding eating "pet" species, I don't know how that would go over with the masses, but I do think that might be a potential solution for the pigeon problem is urban areas. Why not? Squab was the dish of kings and nobility in Europe for generations and now there are millions of them in our cities, a scourge in some areas.

  • vonyon
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Val, just read that story on CNN. Believe it or not, it made the front page. I sent the link to a few people I know.

  • pondwelr
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This cat controversy made headlines in my small town paper.
    It reminded me of 1955. My dad got a job as caretaker/gamekeeper for a rich mans ranch. My dad couldnt even squash a bug, but was supposed to clear out the feral cats that were eating the pheasants. My big sister didnt know the stock from the barrel on a rifle, so it was up to tomboy me, at age 11, to kill all the cats. To describe the way those cats leapt and screamed after being shot makes me sick to this day. I was so traumatized by that, and never really forgave my dad, even tho he bawled and threw up with me.
    That said, it was totally wonderful having them gone from that ranch. Hey, those kitties may look benign, but only watch them stalking and eating critters as big as or bigger than themselves is so creepy. It makes goose bumps on my arms now, rembering them wailing and fighting, pouncing and eating alive the unfortunate things they caught. AAAUUUGGGHHH, I will have nightmares tonight.
    In case anyone wonders, I have housecats that I adore.
    Pondy

  • cantstopgardening
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I just heard about the feral cat thing a bit yesterday. There is not going to be an easy answer on that one!! As for the idiot who kills snakes, I'm with you on that one Dave. I have seen the return of snakes and other amphibians to my yard, after many years of adding things besides the non-habitat lawn grass and yews that were here when we bought the place.

    Last year, I lifted a bag of topsoil, and surprised three different sizes of garden snakes. I covered them back up quickly, and made sure they got to keep their bag of topsoil for the summer. I will admit, I still jump when I see one, just because they surprise me, but I'm always glad they are in the yard. I feel honoured they think it's a worthy habitat.

    But, umm, Dave, you mighta hit on a few of my affiliations. Not ALL the people in those categories are total idiots. (I'm only a part-time idiot. I get it right some of the time;-))And, in my opinion, the urban areas have a responsibility to wildlife too.

    So many poeple complain about animals eating all their plants, so they go plant stuff the animals can't eat. I've found if I simply plant more of the stuff the animals can eat, I don't notice the damage anymore. It did take a bit to get the yard lush enough, and I'm sure some would call it animal welfare, but it works! For me anyway. I've seen a much wider variety of animals in my yard since I've been planting a wide variety of plants, and animal 'damage' is much less noticeable.

  • FurryCritterFan
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Pondy, sympathize w/your comments. We had 7 indoor cats. I woulda thrown up too.

    Dave, laughing at your bag limit on idiot people.

    Sadly, 40 yrs. ago my grandpa took us to his farm and he would chop off the head of garter or grass snakes or whatever he'd find.

    Animal welfare, CSG. !I like that! Wildlife in the scenery is the reason I'm gardening, [smiley]

  • cantstopgardening
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    FCF, speaking of wildlife in the scenery, I have some extra American Cranberrybush viburnums that are potted up. DH helped me move a bunch from the front berm, which I plant too thickly, to the back, and I have a few extras. I think the cottontails in your yard would like some :-)

    Our cottontails make their nests under them in the front yard. (We did leave enough for the cottontails, but it's not as thick as it used to be. It was looking a little jungley, and I'm trying to walk that fine line between habitat and suburban. I don't want the neighbors to think that in order to support wildlife, one has to live in a total thicket.) I haven't seen any cottontails yet this spring, so I'm hoping I didn't take too much out.

    I am realizing how lucky I was to grow up on a farm with parents who appreciated wildlife. Dad always talked about it after spotting an animal, made sure the fencelines had a good variety of plants and rocks to support wildlife. And he left the fenceling a bit wider than usual, just to provide extra room. He absolutely did not tolerate any animal cruelty, and even though he did use chemicals, he was always reading and trying ways to use less of those. He also maintained several ponds, even though he could have tiled the area and filled those in. We even had a beehive occupying the wall of an old house on our farm, and Dad never wanted it moved out, as he knew the value of those bees to our fields.

    I guess I just though most farmers loved life like that.

  • catherinet
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    One year, I was out checking my zuchinni. I had a chicken wire fence around the entire garden, to keep out the rabbits, but it had some weak spots. I discovered a nest of baby rabbits under the zuchinni! I didn't have the heart to throw them out, so they spent their childhoods in my garden......eating the greenbeans to their hearts content. :)

  • jancarkner
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm still scratching my head over Flowerkitty's comment "For instance, Canada is extremely politically correct; just preaching certain literal Bible passages can get you jail time for hate speech" What the ??

    Proud Canadian (who thinks hate-mongers should be held accountable)

  • vonyon
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Jan, You know, that is an interesting debate. I don't like hate mongers either, but I do believe that they'll still be out there even if they are silenced. If you silence them, then then you just don't know who they are. So, I believe they should be allowed to speak if for no other reason than to identify themselves which in my mind holds them accountable for their beliefs.

  • CountryDan
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Wow,
    Interesting thread here, with the common thought lying where it should be, in the education of the next generation.
    I have mixed emotions on several topics that have been discussed, growing up on a cattle ranch and seeing what coyotes can and will do to a cow that is down and calving, having gone hunting from an early age with a single shot .22 and crying after the fact of killing a cottentail, later deer.
    My parents raised us with an open mindset, allowing us to make our own decisions in how we approached everything in life. I have never changed or deviated from that teaching. While I personnaly choose not to hunt anymore, I don't begrudge my brother for doing so, and while I have created a wildlife oasis of my acreage, I respect the neighbor for wanting to "control" her property, that is her right.
    Unfortunately there is no black/white situation that can be easily controlled with the type of education required, the small impact that I make with the nieces and nephews, when they can actually be pulled away from the computer/tv/video games, may or may not be enough, but it is an attempt.
    Which I think everyone here is doing, it may seem like small steps for one person, but when considered on a whole, there is movement forward.
    Dan

  • brenda_near_eno
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Elaine, I agree with you:

    "After Job finally complains about all the terrible stuff that has happened to him, god gets annoyed, and he asks Job if he understands how the entire universe works--do you know where the wind comes from, what makes the stars move, etc., etc. In other words, unless you understand how everything works, you have no right to complain, because you are seeing things only from your tiny, incomplete point of view, whereas god has to see everything. My epiphany was that we humans seem to cursed with the ability to see things only from our own point of view, and unfortunately we see that only too clearly."

    But with humility, we ALL have our tiny points of view, and this whole post is all us Job's complaining.

  • loris
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I also get frustrated by what I see happening around me. I'm concerned about the environment and how our trashing it is affecting animals. I've signed up to get alerts from both the National Wildlife Federation, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, and both provide easy ways to email the appropriate people. I know it'd be better if I was actually writing letters to legislators, and others, but I found even when I intended to, I almost never did so. If nothing else, it makes me feel like I'm doing a little something about things.

    Here's the National Wildlife Federation alert link
    http://www.nwf.org/action/

    It's a little off topic, but I also visit ecologyfund.com
    and thehungersite.com which have sponsors who provide money per click on such tabs including some for protecting wilderness.

    Here is a link that might be useful: UCS Action Network Sign-up Form

  • Raindrop2003
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I was lucky enough to grow up living in various National Parks (Lassen, Carlsbad Caverns, Denali), because my dad was a biologist with the National Park Service. I learned from an early age the sanctity of the natural order of things including wildfires, natural selection etc. In fact, it wasn't until the Reagan administration that I remember wolf hunts being conducted in the Parks in Alaska.

    Now that I'm grown and on my own I do what I can to preserve life as it comes by being an organic gardner and not feeding the non-native species in my area (grey squirrels come to mind), but trying to encourage native species by giving up part of my garden to various predators since trying to eliminate one group usually ends up eliminating others that I want there.

    Sure, we are the strongest species of the earth, but if we don't take care of it....it won't take care of us either.

    (Feel free to call me a tree hugger....)

  • cypsavant
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    ...and speaking of idiots...my favorite recent story about our local wildlife concerned the "reintroduced" fisher...apparently a pair of these werewolf-type creatures set upon a fully grown Clydesdale mare, ripping her to shreds and forcing her imminent destruction at the hands of the local vet. Another neighbour told me how a fisher had attacked both of his 70lb dogs and torn them the proverbial new orifices...
    It's all the fault of the Ontario MNR, of course. Deep inside a secret Cold War laboratory, their mad scientists continue to propagate all manner of predatory creatures...not only fisher, but timber wolves and cougar and huge swarms of dragonflies. They are releasing the cougar and timber wolves to wreak havoc on the deer population...and of course anyone in cottage country will tell you that come June, the MNR's special water bombers will fly over, releasing the hordes of dragonflies just in time to deal with the mosquito menace.
    There are more good stories from these parts, but those are my favorites.

  • gymell
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hey, I agree wholeheartedly with most of what folks are saying on this topic. However, I would just like to point out that ignorance, intolerance and hatemongering are not exclusive to any one demographic or political persuasion. There are plenty of people who will point the finger at another group for such things, and then turn around and do the same when presented with opinions that differ from their own worldview. So please keep that in mind when you are pointing the finger at others.

  • jillmcm
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    CypSavant - oh my. And here I thought my Canadian neighbors had more sense. Any Clydesdale mare worth her salt would have stomped a pair of fishers into furry pate! I can see a cornered fisher making a dent in a dog, but a draft horse? Come on! Or maybe it was a daft horse owner? :)

  • cypsavant
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hey jillmcm...it goes to show that stupidity is a truly universal human trait...it knows no borders, it sees no colors...it's the mucus that binds humanity together.
    The long held (albeit mostly by Canadians) belief that Canadians are somehow "a sensible people" is really only a matter of numbers...we're roughly one-tenth of the population of the U.S., hence we've only got 10% of the imbeciles you're saddled with...they're actually a protected species here.
    Fisher pate...mmmm. On second thought maybe I'll pass...mustelids aren't the other white meat for anyone...but I digress. Apparently one of the local papers even made mention of the Attack of the Amazing Colossal Fishers...so of course if it's in print, it must be true, right?
    I actually had a run in with a bona fide stupid person this evening...on my way homeward from the back 40 this evening, the local coyotes gave me a wonderful serenade. As I got near the house, I noticed a frantic looking person pacing around in my yard. Turns out one of the neigbours heard the 'yotes and thought I might be in imminent danger. I told him they usually let me live, but if his kids ever went into my swamp they'd likely never make it out alive. Between them and the cougars and the bear (we have neither, at least not usually) He said something about moving back to town, hopped in his SUV and sped off. I don't know how these wild critter stories get started, honestly.

  • bulldogsnbutterflies
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    ive never been to this forum before but wow its great.here in south fla there are so many conflicts with wildlife due to the rapid population growth.seems people want to move to the country then gripe about the wildlife.its all fear and ignorance driven.people feed the gators then wonder why they are hanging out in their yard.unfortunately "nuisance" gators are killed.
    on another note i had a debate in a forum with some idaho hunters about the return of the cougar to their state, seems their argument for killing all cougars was public safety.strange argument when over 500 hundred people in this country were killed last year in auto collisions with deer.its also a fact that over half of all rattlesnake bites are alcohol related.thanks for listening
    a fellow tree hugger

  • catherinet
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    lol Cypsavant!

    bulldogsnbutterflies......welcome! It's so comforting to find people here, who have the same feelings, isn't it? I hope you hang around here more often!

  • Dswan
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I came home from work one day and my hillbilly neighbor informed me that he did me a big favor. He killed a big blow snake that was in my side yard for me. When presenting me with the corpse, he asked, "are these snakes poisonous?" This uneducated dough-head meant well, but educating people about the value of wildlife is very difficult.

    I had a discussion with this fellow and calmly told him that my preference would be for the snakes to be left alone. They eat the mice and bugs that are also in my yard. The next time around, he showed me a snake his daughter caught in his yard and asked if we could let it out behind our yard. I willingly complied and all the children in the neighborhood watched the snake slither away into the bushes.

    The biggest problem I face are hunters with ATVs who don't act responsibly. Killing animals and tearing up terrain seem to go together like beer and pizza. Killing wildlife is bad enough, but the destruction of their habitat is a major issue here in the west.

  • cantstopgardening
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Dsaw, thanks for educating your neighbor. See- it does make a difference. I have a neighbor who has called for snake pick-up before. She would be the one bolting all the doors and windows at the sight of a snake. I reliberate her snakes in the wild area beyond our subdivision. She's always so greateful, and I'm just glad a snake didn't get whacked.

  • cypsavant
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Actually, Dswan, I kill wildlife fairly often. Only in the appropriate season and only what I eat...and I don't feel bad at all about it.
    But I can sympathize about the snake...or any other critter that gets killed for no good reason at all. I've sadly run into enough boneheads over the years (and many aren't hillbillys...not sure if we technically can legally call them "hillbillys" in Canada...it may be like "champagne" is only rightfully applied to certain wines produced in the appropriate districts in France..perhaps we can call them "sub-alpine oriented peoples" ) who seem to feel that the only appropriate response to any critter on their property is extermination.
    I have a skunk that lives under my front verandah...not so much lives but loiters. In the several years that it's been resident, I've smelled it only once, and my olfactory abilities are finely honed. I've enjoyed watching the old girl raise litter after litter of handsome young skunks. A visiting relative was shocked by my entire family's nonchalance over the skunks. I told him that we learned to accept them and their odd habits, in much the same way my family came to accept him. Still, on his own little slice of rural bliss, he routinely dispatches any and all skunks, coons, and squirrels as they are "vermin". I find this appalling. What's worse is that he is an extremely civilized, well read and thoughtful individual...and unless Manchester, UK qualifies as part of Appalachia, I'm doubting his hillbilliness.
    Every day I hear complaints about Canada geese, cormorants, and sundry other birds and mammals. More and more, these complaints are coming from retirees and yuppies, refugees from the urban sprawl of Toronto or Ottawa. I hear comments about control and culling, and how the environment is "out of whack" Personally I'd like to see the exposion of these minivan driving Homo sapiens brought under some sort of control..they've taken to building their large bulky homes in every corner of our once proudly rural township...they clutter our roads and insist on trying to recreate the exact situations they left behind...if anyone has any suggestions I'm open.

  • catherinet
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well said Cypsavant!

    I take a rather pessimistic view of straightening things out again. I feel as though I am being crushed beneath the wheel. Our beautiful rural county will, within 5-10 years, be a city. Just 7 miles south of here, a developer is turning 1700 acres of farmland into a city. No one seems to want to fight it, except me. I suppose that within a short time, all the animals of this entire county will be trying to live on my little piece of land. I am ashamed to be human. I keep hoping one day the doc will say "Why, Catherine, your DNA test came back, and, well, it's so very strange, but you're not even a human. We think your a tree". I would be so proud!

  • dirtgirl
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Wonderful new posts, glad to see it is still going.

    Has anyone been watching the series on PBS, Strange Days on Planet Earth??

    This is so very very relevant and well executed, I may have to break down and buy the whole series since I have missed a few episodes.
    Last night dealt with the consequences, both realized and yet unknown, of predator removal from within an ecosystem.
    I kept thinking of this post, and the general ignorance of a huge part of the population-especially concerning "threat" animals, and I wonder how we will ever find a balance.
    The first installment discussed the intricate ways we are linked with the entire planet, not just our own little corner of it, and how even the most innocuous activities can have drastic repercussions a whole continent away.

  • moonwolf23
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    ok call me a optomist. I don't think its as bad as it sounds. things have gotten better, and cypsavant your cousin may very well be killing the coons, skunks and squirrels because of fear of rabies. I know that skunks and coons can be prone to it and you are warned by animal officers and others to be careful around skuks and coons because of that very reason.

    snakes are a truly terrifying animal to most people. How many species can kill us out of hand with a bite, or in some cases a spit. Not to mention all those years of being linked to the one that led eve astray. Not that they weren't frightening and awed by other cultures.

    Their are things to do with developers. back yard habitats are becoming more frequent or else the nwf wouldn't have a website for it. Their are a few enviromental orginizations that buy land. contact some of them. The one with the angry looking baby bird (can't remember) comes to mind. Then you can also when it comes to subdivisions ask for open space from the towns zoning area. That way you have a buffer zone that wildlife can use between houses. I'm sure the subdivision would like it, the town would like it because more people would buy with a buffer zone and heh it ultimately helps wildlife. THen you can wait until the baby boomers die off and housing isn't so precious. Eventually all new houses get old and crumble and they either turn to the wild or get built up on again or they don't and more often then not the forest comes back. theirs a town not far from goshen ct that is a reserve that used to be a town like a 100 years ago during the charcoal rush here, so they could make iron or steel. Of course now it has along with being a nature preserve it has lots and lots of ghost stories to go along with it. ANd the only thing you can see anyway is old foundations.

    But what i do find disturbing is a lack of tolerance or respect. I realise a lot of this is ranting, but how can you expect people to listen to you or even compromise to your way without some respect given to them. ok thats my two cents.

  • cantstopgardening
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    'But what i do find disturbing is a lack of tolerance or respect. I realise a lot of this is ranting, but how can you expect people to listen to you or even compromise to your way without some respect given to them. ok thats my two cents.'

    Excellent point Moonwolf. First, you have to respect them, then you can teach them. As a teacher's aide, I know this is true.

    I got a chuckle out of your view of what housing will do when the baby-boomers all retire. That's what DH and I think too. We live in a fairly modest home, with a large yard. (For in-town standards.) Sure, sometimes the house seems too small, so then we just get rid of some of the stuff that 'owns us,' and the place is bigger again.

  • catherinet
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The "respect" thing sounds good, but it's difficult to respect thousands of people who move en masse to the countryside, and have absolutely no concern for any other species or the people who have lived there for a very long time. I love our county and it's rural heritage. I love the earth and feel that I live pretty gently on it. But there are huge subdivisions and small cities going in around me, and the last thing on their mind is the earth or any other animal. You're right.......I don't respect them. But even if I did, I couldnt' change anything. These people want malls and restaurants and race tracks and casinos, etc., etc., etc. Anything that gets in their way be damned. It is way past talking about respect and tolerance. They are bulldozing my way of life off the map. I have no patience left.
    Dirtgirl, I'm sorry to get off topic.

  • dirtgirl
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Go ahead and say what you feel, Cathy. I know how much it bothers you, even down to the sound of the traffic. I know how it would affect me also, if the natural world I am blessed with were replaced with asphalt and the drone of traffic. I would be hard pressed to respect any of it.
    I always try my hardest to stay objective and see perspectives from all sides, but it always seems that inevitably, human needs,( or should I say wants) override everything else. I'm not unimplicated in this. If I look around the room I am currently sitting in, I see products that required energy, resources, something taken from nature in some form or another. It makes my head hurt: even if I try to make intelligent choices and live more simply, I am still a consumer.
    When I consider the numbers of people who never once give a thought to the consequences of these same daily choices or where it all comes from, my optimism is severely challenged. Not defeated, just severely challenged.

  • cypsavant
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    dirtgirl, I'm reminded of Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life", in particular, the "Galaxy Song"
    "So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
    How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
    And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
    'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth. "
    And on the subject of respect...while I'm in the mood for quotations...I can't help but think of one from "Charlotte's Web" authour E.B. White that sums up my thoughts quite nicely...
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. "

    Here is a link that might be useful: The Galaxy Song

  • catherinet
    17 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Dirtgirl and Cypsavant,
    If I could only express myself as well as the both of you, I would be such a happier person.....or should I say, just less likely to explode into a million pieces! For me, it all gets jumbled up inside, and I feel like I will go crazy. You both can articulate your feelings so well.
    The quote from Charlotte's Web is a good one.
    I know that the Mother will always endure. I just wish I could see her not have to struggle so hard against man.

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