[texbirds] Re: unwelcome news from Laguna Atascosa

  • From: "David T. Dauphin" <dauphins@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Texbirds <texbirds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2013 21:25:20 -0500

The new Refuge manager mentioned in the McAllen Monitor that two ocelots had 
been killed by vehicles on the Bayside Wildlife Drive.  He failed to mention 
whether or not they were killed by "public" or by government vehicles, such as 
Border Patrol.  He also failed to mentioned when (dates) these two were killed. 
 And, he failed to mentioned if they were killed at night, when the public 
cannot be inside the Refuge, or during the day.  Rather arbitrary, but within 
his prerogative.  However, if he or the Friends of Laguna NWR truly want our 
support, more information should be forth-coming.  These questions need to be 
addressed to the Regional Office in Albuquerque.

David Dauphin
Mission
On Sep 30, 2013, at 9:12 PM, Robert Becker wrote:

> Staff at Laguna Atascosa NWR informed us, via a posting on Texbirds this 
> afternoon, that from Oct. 15 onwards the Bayside auto loop will be closed to 
> private vehicle traffic. The staff representative cited the deaths of two 
> ocelots in recent years from vehicular traffic on the loop and the recent 
> findings that ocelots are frequently crossing the road and are moving about 
> in close proximity to the loop road, day and night.
>  
> The bayside driving loop has exposed thousands of South Texas visitors to an 
> unparalleled immersion in prairie, thornscrub and littoral habitats and the 
> wildlife that dwells there. I know of no other place like it in the federal 
> NWR system. I am proud of this resource, and I often urge visitors to avail 
> themselves of it. This decision to effectively bar thousands of visitors from 
> enjoying this resource, however, is poor conservation policy and even worse 
> public policy. 
>  
> Refuge staff now decrees the loop road will be open only to cyclists, walkers 
> and scheduled guided tours. I am one of many visitors who is of a certain age 
> and physical condition who cannot walk or bicycle 13 miles in the South Texas 
> heat to appreciate the natural wonders of the refuge. The bus or tram tours, 
> while well meaning, are no substitute to the slow-paced, measured and often 
> solitary meanderings through the refuge that we have cherished over the 
> years. What about the rest of us who cannot walk or bike the loop?? Those 
> experiences will be lost forever if this policy is left to stand.
>  
> Why was the public not consulted before such drastic changes were foisted 
> upon us? There are indeed alternatives short of this harsh measure. How about 
> more limited hours, say 9 am to 3 pm, and slower speed limits, say 5 mph 
> instead of 10 mph, and more speed bumps? How about more time spent on 
> enforcing the measures designed to protect the ocelots? And why should 
> conservation-minded birders, all of whom would stand up to be counted for 
> protecting these rare and beautiful mammals, be punished collectively for the 
> reckless actions of a thoughtless few?
>  
> National parks and wildlife refuges rest on a bargain with the public. We 
> support them through our taxes, our volunteerism and the legislation that 
> creates and maintains them in exchange for the enjoyment for all of these 
> precious resources. This action at Laguna Atascosa must not stand. Join with 
> me in whatever way you are comfortable with in opposing this measure. I will 
> start with conversations with the offices of Rep. Filemon Vela and our two 
> U.S. senators. I hope the birding community takes notice and acts with me. I 
> hope the officials at Laguna Atascosa and others involved in this decision 
> reconsider.
>  
> Bob Becker
> Rancho Viejo
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> 
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