Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2015

Lost Instincts, Domestication, the new Evolution of Migratory Geese

In the past few years there's been a growing number of increasingly strident petitions in our local community about the "infestation" of Canadian Geese. The complaint - they're everywhere, they make a mess of our nice clean paved sidewalks with their droppings, they pose a danger to kids, pets etc. etc.Some have even called Animal Control to come take the birds away. To no avail. The birds are here more frequently, stay longer and are growing in numbers.

What got me curious, was the recency of this phenomenon. The area around here has been inhabited by species homo sapiens for many decades, and I myself dont remember this being an issue a few years ago, so why this sudden outcry?

So of course I started researching it. And figured out that it's happening because of marked changes in the geese's behavior. And what caused that you may ask? Wait ...take a wild guess... surprise, surprise, WE DID!

Canadian Geese as the name implies were native to Canada and the extr…

Tiger Conservation in India, The Case for Government Involvement in Species Protection.

In my opinion one of the key success factors in conservation efforts is the role of government, as illustrated by the Tiger conservation effort in India.  "Whoa, whoa, hang on there," you say... "what are you about, complimenting the government for anything, especially something that is not self-serving? are you crazy? or worse yet a government stooge?" But I assure you I'm neither, I just believe in giving credit where credit is due.

Let me backtrack a little so I can tell you how I formed this opinion, and hopefully you'll see things my way.

When I was in India a few months ago, I saw several stories in the media about the successful resurgence of the wild tiger population, a species that was close to and is still on the brink of extinction across the world.

Here are some stats to understand how dire the situation is -
Over the last 100 years, the global tiger population in the wild has dropped by 97%, from close to 100,000 to a mere 3200 today. *In fact …

Human settlements come at the cost of habitat loss for ALL creatures.

A sudden screech..."Eeeek!", followed by a vigorous flailing of arms or stomping of feet... now that would be the normal reaction. Instead this morning I gently picked up in my hands and saved two "ugly" brown bugs while swimming laps in our pool. I see them often, struggling to get out of the water before they drown. I know many who see me doing it probably think I'm crazy. My response to anyone who would ask; not that anyone does, they just stare at me weirdly and look away, probably wondering when the men in the white coats are coming to take me away to a padded cell; is because they matter, and because we owe it to them.

Here's another similar story I saw on the news today, yesterday, almost everyday. A local reporter interviewing a panicked family as they recount the fear of what they experienced. A bear/coyote/deer broke into their backyard/house/garbage, scaring the kids and causing general panic until help arrived in the form of uniforms with tranq…

The Case for Verticalization

I was in India a few weeks ago, home with my family, which came with so many simple pleasures; being pampered by mom's cooking, dad's chauffeuring, and a nostalgic sense of freedom from having grown up on those streets. It also came, however, with some jarring moments of shock and unfamiliarity at the rapidly growing & congested skyline. What used to be a sprawling green city of well to do retirees, was now a "bursting at the seams" urban behemoth.

Walking through once familiar streets, suddenly everything looked different. The population explosion as a result of rapid economic growth, meant that space was at a premium and beautiful sprawling bungalows with large natural gardens and orchards were being replaced by tall, narrow concrete apartment buildings and commercial structures. While nostalgia bemoans these changes, missing the charm and the space that once was, the practical conservationist applauds the long reaching benefits of such vertical growth.

Vertic…

The Commoditization of Killing - Canned Lion Hunting

Wildlife hunting in Africa is suddenly big news. Thanks to a tweet by Ricky Gervais (albeit almost 5 years late) about Rebecca Francis and her killing of a giraffe in 2010, and followed closely by news stories of the US's approval of a black rhino hunting license won in a Dallas auction last year, there's now a spotlight on the issue of trophy hunting. While this controversial subject and its often misleading claims to helping conservation efforts is getting its day in the sun, there is another more deadly practice hiding and growing in the shadows in Africa - Canned Lion Hunting.

Peter Barkham of the Guardian likens canned lion hunting to "shooting fish in a barrel". Adult lions raised in captivity and often drugged,  are released into an enclosed area, with no room to run. Hunters, on the back of pick up trucks are able to pick them off with almost guaranteed success. I say almost, because even with all the odds stacked in favor of the hunter, amateurs often miss,…

Celebrating Earth this day... almost speechless!

Today is Earth Day (if you didn't already know that). It felt important that I say something. But after thinking about it a while I realized I couldn't possibly say it all in one post. In fact, if anything, this entire blog and all the posts I write are a celebration of Earth Day. Every day is Earth Day on www.speckonadot.com.

So I decided instead to dedicate this post to showing you why its so important to celebrate and protect the earth. Every time we travel, my family asks for pictures of my husband and I. Usually that's a tough task, because we almost never take pictures of ourselves. For us, its all about the space we're in and celebrating its uniqueness. Now I can put all those pictures to work, to share the beauty I see everyday, all around me.

Here's the earth in all its glory - sunrise to sunset, seasons changing, creatures big & small. After seeing this, how could you not want to have it live on forever....









Last Rhino Standing...

If there was ever any question about why saving the Rhinos was so important, the story out on major news channels recently, should eliminate all doubt.There is only one... count that... just one male northern white rhino left in the entire world. In fact there are only 5 of the species left in total, two females in zoos in the US and Czech Republic and 2 other females who live with Sudan, the single bull at a conservancy in Kenya.The situation is so dire, that Sudan, the bull, and his two female comoanions are under 24 hour armed guard and wear monitors to prevent poachers from getting to them. Demand for rhino horn, which is believed to have medicinal properties, continues to grow, and is estimated by some experts to be worth more than drugs.In addition to protecting him for as long as needed, frantic efforts are underway to help the two females breed. With age and urgency be in a factor, alternative options like in vitro fertilization and surrogacy with a different white rhino speci…

Saving Trees to be trees... and not a landfiller!

Here's a pop quiz for you -  which of the two scenes below do you think is more likely?

Scenario 1 - I open everything I get in the mail, and suddenly I am a happier person, paying lower interest, owning a better home (after selling the one I'm living in at an unbelievable price), have a home full of great stuff, bought with shiny new plastic, be better educated, and more relaxed.
Or Option 2 - I yank my hair out in frustration at, the hours wasted ripping open bulky envelopes to make sure there's no personally identifiable info, a slew of paper-cuts crisscrossing my tough skin, a new batch of recycling every day, and a sinking feeling at the backlog of other chores. Any guesses?

I know that to many of you, a version of option 2 hits close to the mark, frustration at the volume of junk mail we receive daily is a common complaint, yet, they keep coming, everyday in the mail. Fat, glossy, window envelopes, with sometimes too much knowledge about our lives (it's scary h…

Countdown to another dead Rhino, 8....7....6....

Did you know that while you're going about your 8 hour work day, somewhere in the wilds of Africa, another Rhino is being killed and viciously mutilated? Or that someone in China is stirring rhino horn powder into a drink, while others look on in admiration and envy?
I didn't...until now!

In my ongoing evolution as a writer and a quest for more experience, I volunteer at a few nonprofits to help with their communication needs. I recently connected with and did a little work for a nonprofit called Nikela, a completely volunteer run public charity that is an incredible example of how people with passion and belief in a cause but limited funds can still make an impact in the world. Started in 2010 by Margrit & Russ Harris, driven by a desire to support the extraordinary people trying to preserve African wildlife, Nikela helps by 
“telling stories, raising some funds and doing what we can to support those who give their all to stop the rhino poaching, curb the escalating wild…

One step forward... two back?

I often liken myself to a pack mule, a description my husband reluctantly agrees with… but before you start picturing a frail skinny creature, slave to a cruel overlord or the clich├ęd woman with a large handbag filled to bursting with a gazillion whatchamacallits and doodads let me clarify. That is how I look when I return from a list checking, efficient and comprehensive multi-store weekly grocery run. I hang my genetically broad shoulders (I kid myself by chalking it up to years of swimming) with 4, 5 and sometimes 6 reusable fabric bags, in a myriad of colors, filled to the brim with all the fuel needed to keep those shoulders and the body they're attached to, healthy for the next shopping trip. To maintain this self-perpetuating cycle, I keep reusable bags everywhere I might possibly need it - in the car, at home, in my handbag - so I never have to use one of the supermarket bags.

Why do I put myself through that you ask? When I could just grab a bag at the store as I needed it…