Tuesday, April 8, 2014

thinking of round island walrus sanctuary.

 apparently it is going to take a big hit from budget cuts.  it will no longer be staffed in summers after a short summer season this year.  these are from my second trip out there.  it makes me sad and angry that this island will not be getting funded.  it's had staff out there for the last 39 summers.
 i worry for the walrus out there and the other animals as well, but having a human presence in the area probably kept poachers at bay.  now that they will know the island is unprotected the risk of poachers goes up.  ivory is all the will take from these beautiful beasts...that and the oosik.  walrus are one of the few mammals with an actual os penis.  this is a bone in their penis.  this is prized.  they find carcasses with just the heads missing and the os penis or oosik cut out.  it's a horrible waste in a species that with global warming will undoubtedly be taking a hit anyway.
 i have thought about starting a non profit just to support this island though honestly i have no idea how to go about even beginning such a thing.  there are 3 sanctuaries in Alaska, Mcneil river is another one, for brown bears...a far more popular animal to protect.  they have a Friends of McNeil River organization, it would be good to have a Friends of Round Island organization to give this treasure a voice.
 not sure how to begin like i said.  for the time being what i did do today was begin to write letters.  trying to make known the danger of leaving this island unattended and also just to start getting feelers out for what is possible.
 wrote to the various senators and our govenor and also to a few people in fish and game.  i also sent a message to wwf in hopes of alerting an organization that already exists to the plight of this small, yet vital island. it is teeming with life.
 in addition to all those quick notes via email i wrote to the friends of mcneil in hopes of getting a clue how one would begin...
 would hate for round island to go down without a fight.
 of course, now i'm seeing that my computers may soon be in danger of failing as microsoft is abandoning their old programs.  will try to save everything i can and hope for the best.  i do like having a desk top so i'm not sure if that will even stay a possibility in the future.  things change too fast for me.  even my lap top will become obsolete soon.  grr!!
 did get those taxes done and perhaps i can ponder updated systems with the refund.  seems you just get used to something and then it's gone.  life changes awful fast for this old girl.  death and taxes are assured though...taxes done for the year.
 i started my day with fish and game as well.  called a number i'd been given after sending an email about bald eagle #77.  the lady i spoke to was very nice and we chatted for a bit about a variety of things, eagles and round island.  she wasn't entirely sure of #77's story, but she believes a pair had built a nest near the runways...too near the runways.  permission was granted to dismantle this nest as it would be bad for an eagle and a jet to meet.  the birds were tagged to monitor them and make sure they would not re-build in the same area.
 seeing that the bird is often seen on the coastal trail near the airport he probably still has a nest in the area but it doesn't appear they have rebuilt in the same place.  you must obtain permission to dismantle an eagles nest as they are a protected species.  she assures me the tag is ugly but doesn't interfere with flight.  it just makes it easier to see and identify the eagles via binoc's.  too stressful and difficult to recapture birds.
 anyway, the guy who does the birds is in juneau and will be gone for several weeks and then no doubt in/out of the office as summer studies begin.
 tried to make some of those to do list phone calls, not much progress there but i did try.
 the fox on round island are also awesome.  they would be at risk as well.  they are quite tame and would be easy to capture and kill for their fur.   it's not an easy island to get to but we all know once the wrong people get there they will have free reign to do as much damage as they desire.  the place needs oversight.

 the island also boasts a huge avian population.
 it snowed through the night and continued this morning.
 was a pretty day with all that fresh snow and then with the sun coming out later.
 just met up with L and we did a loop of rovers run.
 bear watch continues.  every time i drive by the tree i see photographers waiting and watching, but no bear yet.
 if she is there, she will show up eventually, the snow may have kept her in today.  that ain't no summer.
 i feel very blessed that i have been able to visit this magical island not once but twice.  it's beauty is beyond compare.  very few visitors have even been to round island.  it's not an easy place to get to, though i'm sure poachers would find their way there knowing there is no one around to report them.
 i have tried to remind myself that though the decision is "made" we still have time if we can get a letter writing campaign together.  want to try and get a hold of the two fish and game folks that were out there with us and see if they can help direct anyone who is interested as to how to proceed to try and protect round island from the budget cuts.
 Diane had retired after many years and Stephanie also opted to take a desk job so i don't think there is anyone out there who has that same dedication to the place.  the main boat captain also moved on to other things and left just one guy who frequently seems to have issues with his smallish boat to do the transports.
 i think some thinking was did fish and game need to have their own transport to/from the island with the other boats not being readily available.
 that is where a group that was dedicated to obtaining funds specifically for use on Round Island could be helpful.
 got my laps in last night and today i hit the gym again for stair stepper and rowing machine.  did a full half hour of step and 10 min rowing after that.  there were actually people on the rower when i got there, which is totally unusual.
 you can tell i love the fox out there.  they are so beautiful and amazing.

 tourist traffic will be greatly hindered if not stopped completely by this decision by fish and game.  apparently, a few scientists will go out for study and research and there should still remain the facilities, but how much damage will come to those if they are not maintained properly. the trails that have been built up will fall apart. they just built a new outhouse.  such a waste.
 haven't taken many pictures the last few days.  break up time isn't the best time for photo's.  i could toss some iditarod photo's in here, but i'll save that for another day...it's all about round island today.
 though speaking of the Iditarod.  apparently Lance Mackey was arrested.  he'd had a previous DUI and he had violated the terms of that charge.  makes me wonder if his DUI was part of why he did not compete this year...hmm.
 huge lawsuit against the school system.  a kid fell and landed on a stick, which went into his brain apparently and caused permanent damage.  the parents blame the school and they asked for 25 million damages.  they only got 4.5 million...there are no accidents anymore, someone is always to blame.  sadly, the school district has to eat the first million before insurance will kick in for the rest.  just what our schools need, less money.
 there are apparently several of these sorts of lawsuits that the schools must deal with.  a girl went with some other students into the woods during school hours, i don't think it was on school grounds though.  she got stabbed multiple times and the family is again suing the school.
 blossom was outside in the snow this morning.  i cracked up cause when i looked out it appeared she had a snowstache.
 a little mustache made of snow.  hehe.
 i'm easily amused.  i needed something to laugh at today.
 sad and angry over the decision to shut down Round island in case you hadn't picked up on that.

grateful for 1.  being lucky enough to have been able to go out to round island twice and immerse myself into that magical place.  it's probably one of the most beautiful places i'll ever see in my lifetime 2.  the gift of living in this amazing state.  beauty is everywhere.  3.  my silly animals who make me smile and fill my heart with joy.

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