Greetings and welcome to Monterey Bay. Every morning when my golden retriever Summer takes me for a walk along West Cliff Drive I am amazed by the exotic marine action and think to myself, “Lucky I live Santa Cruz.” The past few weeks not an Alonzo morning has gone by when I haven’t seen gray whales spouting as they cruise up the coast. Last week they were joined by dolphins followed by dozen’s of Dall’s porpoises that put on aerial show that would have had NBA fans buzzing. This central coast spectacle is the Broadway show that never closes. And you don’t have to charter a whale watching boat to catch the action. Just keep your eyes on the water and your hands upon the wheel.
I like to start off each month with a bang and today will not be an exception. Two weeks ago Sunday I saw the clouds lining up in a nice spread formation so I put on my PF Flyers and headed up the coast to Davenport. I love this spot along the cliffs where the Monterey Cypress trees come to rest. The clouds were oozing color in all directions as a warm breeze blew softly in my face. I knew at that exact moment that this was the place where I was supposed to be. As I gazed out over the vast blue Pacific a feeling of calm and tranquility came over my like a swarm of friendly locusts. And at that moment one thought filled my mind. “Did I bring my extra battery?” That’s a zen moment.
So let’s move on to the important news stories of the day. South African wildlife officials say they will be forced to begin culling the country’s elephants this year as the last available option to control a population expanding out of control. Since a ban on killing the animals was established in 1995, the number of elephants in South Africa has risen from about 8,000 to 18,000. Similar increases have been observed in other parts of southern Africa and in Bayonne, New Jersey. These pachyderms have been asked to relocate, but with rising airline prices and the need for leg room in first class seats it just hasn’t proven feasible although some said they would do it just for the peanuts. We asked Horton for a comment on this sensitive subject and he said he hadn’t heard a who.
The World Wildlife Fund and other environmental groups acknowledge that limited habitat makes the cull necessary. “We all love our elephants. They are the most charasmatic icon of Africa. But we don’t have the luxury to allow one species to dominate and alter the composition of our natural assests,” says Rob Little of the WWF. Sounds like they have been wrestling with this problem for a while. Because elephants have been observed mourning the loss of family members, wildlife authorities say entire families will be culled together to reduce trauma.
Central Europe’s wily red fox is making a comeback from the verge of extinction due to the disappearance of nearly all its natural enemies, which include the Russians, the Chinese, and the producers of “Sanford and Son.” Wildlife experts say the disappearance of predators such as brown bears, lynxes, wolves and fur retailers over the past 100 years have allowed the foxes to become the dominant carnivore across much of Central Europe.
The population has managed to rebound despite sport hunting that saw more than 600,000 of the canines killed by hunters in Germany during the last hunting season alone. In my mind, it were really be a sport if the foxes also have guns. Foxes have adapted to living in urban environments by feeding on garbage, vermin and paparzzi in communities where hunting is banned. But their real interest is not the food humans don’t eat but the delicacies like rats, mice, pigeons and cornish game hens that the garbage attracts.
A Southeast Asian agricultural pest with an unextremely unpleasant odor has invaded Europe for the first time on record. No, I’m not talking about Muslim rebels from the Phillipines. Swiss officials warned fruit and chocolate farmers that the brown mamorated stink bug has been detected on eight different varieties of plants around Zurich. The bug, which measures about a half-inch in length, attacks the fruit and leaves of apple, cherry, plum and lollipop trees. When asked to comment on the situation, Swiss farmers declined to speak, preferring to remain neutral on the subject.
Agricultural and NBA officials believe this insect may have arrived in Switzerland on imported ornamental plants from Asia. The bug gets its name from its ability to emit a vile odor from its abdomen as a defense against being eaten by birds, lizards and small children. The bottom line is I wasn’t sure if this item was worth mentioning so I just went with my instincts.
Okay, sports fans, sorry it’s a little late but that’s our first blog of May 2008. I’d love to hear some comments from you readers out there in the cashew gallery. So enjoy the freshness of a springtime sunset and have a tremendous sports weekend. I’ll be helping out on the weak side. Aloha.