horses and saddles sold cheap and other metaphors

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Florida Panther Posted by Hello

Florida Panther
Puma concolor coryi

Description: A large, unspotted cat with a relatively small head and a long, dark-tipped tail. Generally smaller and darker than other subspecies. Tawny above, darker on midback, with black-tipped hairs; white overlaid with buff below. Dark spot at base of whiskers. Ears short and rounded, with dark backs. Legs long and heavy; feet large. Juvenile buff with black spots.L 6–7' (1.5–2.13 m); T 21–37" (53–92 cm); Ht 24-28" (59-69 cm); Wt 60–148 lb (27-67 kg). Female smaller than male.

A subspecies of the Mountain Lion, the Panther is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is a native Floridian not, it did not retire there after spending a life time of fighting commuter traffic. This is not a housecat on steroids, it is a wildcat, which needs isolation and game-rich wilderness. the Florida panther has not been much of a match for the relatively uncontrolled suburban growth in Florida. It's been exterminated in many areas as its habitat was overtaken by development and its main prey, the White-tailed Deer, disappeared over much of its range. For many years, the Florida Panther was pursued by bounty hunters and persecuted as a threat to livestock. Today the Florida Panther is known to survive in only one area of Florida, in the Everglades-Big Cypress Swamp region. There have been sightings elsewhere, but those have been very rare.


In 1995, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began releasing eight female Texas cougars into the Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve and Everglades National Park. The plan was for the cougars to mate with Florida panthers, introducing new genes into the panther population. Florida panthers had been isolated from other panther (cougar) populations for more than 100 years. Inbreeding was rampant and causing reproductive and health problems among the Florida cats. Under natural conditions, a limited amount of crossbreeding among the various sub-species would be normal and beneficial to the cats.

Darrell Land, the FWC wildlife biologist in charge of the FWC’s panther research and management in south Florida, said he believes genes from the Texas cats have spread throughout all areas occupied by panthers. In the future, scientists expect all Florida panthers will carry the Texas genes.

“We have removed the Texas cougars from the wild, but the kittens they reared have remained and continued to reproduce,” Land said. “That has greatly improved the health and reproductive ability of the panther population.”

He said the existing cats are still genuine Florida panthers, because the introduction of genes from the Texas cats merely mimicked what would occur naturally if the Florida cats still occupied their former range throughout the Southeast. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) also recognizes the cats with Texas genes as genuine Florida panthers.

“We believe the panther population in south Florida is roughly 80-100 animals living in the wild,” Land said. “The scientific community’s consensus is that we need to establish two additional populations somewhere other than south Florida to relieve some of their vulnerability to extinction. Because the only known population is in south Florida, a single disease outbreak or some other natural (or man-made) catastrophe could wipe out the whole population overnight.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Jay Rosen at PressThink has a thread up about media bias. The conundrum of "bias" is not solved, but defintely a lot of food for thought. PressThink's Questions and Answers about Media Bias

New Bush ad is a lie. Who would have thought.

Cold Turkey
by Kurt Vonnegut

Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.

When I am 81 for sure, but it is hoped, before then I will write living prayer, a rant, a joke, a stick in the eye as cool as Kurts.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Matt Gunn's blog brought to my attention that John Kerry's new campaign slogan " Let America be America Again." is from African-American poet Langston Hughes.

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

go see this remarkable flash presentation set to a reading of the poem. As Matt notes the killed and wounded numbers are increasing every day.

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