Critters Environment Weather


I took my camera outside this morning, and then had to wait for the condensation to dissipate before taking a photo. It’s not as hot today, but the humidity is breathtaking for only being the beginning of June. Considering that the coast has already been hit with its first tropical storm, I think we can safely say that any weather report out of the South and Midwest this summer will begin with, “Wet…”.

Growth has been explosive, almost overwhelming, and not necessarily welcome, as witness this mold growing in front of our neighbor’s home. It was only a couple of inches in size a few days ago, and though I imagine it’s harmless, it doesn’t look welcome or benevolent. I thought about getting closer to get a macro shot of the mold, but then I remembered this is Saturday–reminding me of the Saturday Sci-Fi flicks where the woman, too damn curious, gets closer and closer to the strange stuff on the ground…

The front of our home is different, primarily because of the garden we’re growing. When I said previously that I couldn’t start a garden this year, I wasn’t exactly honest. We did start a garden–a finch garden. Every other day I scatter a mix of seeds across the dirt in front of our place, and we’ve managed to attract a flock of finches, a couple of mourning doves, squirrels, and several bunnies. I’m not sure who enjoys the show more: me, my roommate, or our cat.

I’ve tried taking some photos of the critters, but too much movement scares them away, as it should. The reason we scattered the seed instead of using feeders is that what the birds don’t get, the bunnies will. And if the seeds sprout, well, frankly, anything is an improvement over the current yard care company’s efforts.

Unfortunately, not all encounters with wildlife in our neighborhood have been happy ones. My roommate came in today to tell me that a raccoon had become trapped in the dumpster and I had to, of course, grab my camera to take a picture. It’s a sad, sad picture, indeed, seeing that poor little creature among all that filth.

There’s something ominous about the photo–as if I’ve taken a photo of our future. We’re just as trapped on this one little planet as that poor raccoon is in the garbage bin.

(Something to think of next time you throw away that plastic bottle, eh?)

We called the office and they hope they can get someone out to help the beastie escape, but just in case, Rob went to buy a 2 x 4 to place into the bin. We’ve used this approach before, but I am worried that it seems to favor its one leg, and if it is injured it won’t be able to climb out.

Some people think of raccoons as pests, but looking at that image again, I see a cute furry creature with big brown eyes just trying to survive, sitting among the refuse of a wasteful, disposable society, and I wonder who really is the pest?

I am so glad that we found that recycling place and now recycle most of our garbage. Otherwise after looking at that poor thing, I’d be feeling a great deal of guilt now. I still feel guilt, though. I won’t be happy until it’s freed.

The raccoon is not the only creature that has run into trouble trying to survive among an increasing encroachment of people. Not too long ago, a man shot and killed one of Missouri’s very rare black bears, when it threatened the man’s dog. At first I was outraged by the story about the bear who had been attracted to he man’s chicken feed and been chased off, only to return a second time to be killed. If the man had only contacted the Conservation department after the first visit something could have been done.

A later story, though, said that the man did contact the Conservation department and had enclosed his feed bins and taken all the steps he could. He also tried to chase the bear away in this second visit, but his dog got excited and ran at the bear and the bear stood on its hind legs ready to attack the dog. The man shot the bear with a 22 rifle, worried about his dog being killed. He then called the Conservation department again but when they found the bear the next morning, it was dead.

I have a beloved pet and would most likely kill to protect her. But now my chances of seeing a black bear in its own habitat has been decreased, and the Ozarks seems to have settled another inch or two in resignation.

Not long before the bear shooting, I read a discussion at Veerle’s weblog about the baby seal hunts in Canada, a practice that has actually increased in recent years, rather than decrease:

It is a grossly inhumane kill that goes mostly unregulated, as there are limited fisheries officer to watch and inspect the number of sealers on the ice. Credible witnesses have documented seeing seals skinned alive and tortured.

The Seal Hunt methods of kill? Clubs, hakapiks, rifles and shotguns. Not convinced of the cruelty? Then I recommend watching these 2 movies, and this audio/photo slide show. But be warned I was shocked after seeing those!

I have seen these hunts in videos in the past, and was surprised that the practice has continued. I had assumed that the fur trade has decreased as there’s been such a backlash against wearing fur coats. I do remember when I saw the videos long ago, I was angry and disgusted that such acts could be perpetuated against an animal, much less ones so young and helpless.

Yet there was a set of comments written by a Norwegian, Erik A. Drabløs in veerle’s post that gave me pause.

Did you completely overlook that I said “when used properly”? The sealers in the movies are obviously not using them properly. When used properly death is instant and the animals feel as little or less pain than when their throats are slit or electrocuted in slaughterhouses.

If you guys feel the need to demonstrate against the Canadian government, by all means do, but don’t stop there. Stop eating eggs from chickens pent up in tiny cages wading in their own s***. Stop eating meat from animals thrown around in packed transports. Heck, become a vegeterian. It’s not that hard if you really feel like you want to do something. (Or you could just do as I do; buy eggs from free-ranging chickens, milk from ecological farms and similar products.)

Guilty as charged, as I buy beef without regard for how it’s raised, and chickens from an Alabama farm that’s been cited for cruelty to animals. It’s more convenient you know. Cheaper, too.

This reminded me of a wonderful cartoon that AKMA’s daughter, Pippa had drawn a while back and which I asked if I could reproduce in a post. I predict a brilliant career as a political satirist for this young lady, and have a feeling she’ll wield her pen and pencil with devastating sharpness.

I am an omnivore and have no intention of becoming a herbivore, but one can make choices as one goes about living and consuming. The first choice to make is learning to shop responsibly, and to do with less. The second choice is deciding to enjoy the first choice.

Seals in Canada, a chicken farm in Alabama, a black bear in southern Missouri and Pippa’s wonderfully subtle drawing all remind me how we’ll cry out against cruelty and loss when it’s located far away from our own neighborhoods.

But neighborhood is a relative thing.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email