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Impending Wildlife Crisis on Catalina Island, CA

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posted on May, 14 2008 @ 11:51 AM
A family member who lives on Catalina Island has been telling me lately that the Catalina Island Conservancy is deliberately destroying the Island's mule deer population. This is being done by fencing off the herd's access to water, effectively ensuring that the deer will die of thirst. In addition, the Conservancy has announced a hunting season starting in July of this year, and will issue tags for nearly half of the Island's remaining population of 2500 mule deer. They request hunters shoot at least one doe, and with the hunting season opening so early, most does will be pregnant or have suckling fawns.

First, back in the 90s, the Coservancy got rid of some 10,000 goats that roamed the Island's interior, 56,000 acres of wilderness. Their claim was the goats were not indigenous, and were causing erosion and damaging indigenous plants that were rare and native species. So, they would capture a young goat, place a radio collar around its neck, and then let it go to return to the herd. When they had pinpointed the location of the herd via the radio collar, they would come in with helicopters and machine gun the herd, finishing off the stragglers with shotguns.

Next, they set their sights on the Island pig population. Another non-indigenous, invasive species that was rooting up the ground, causing erosion and eating their precious plants. So they fenced the 20 mile long island all the way across in two places, and ran all the pigs to ground with dog teams, then killed them all and left the carcasses for the ravens. The ravens seem to have been the primary beneficiaries of these policies, as the island now has a large and healthy raven population, but no pigs or goats.

Meanwhile, the Conservancy has proclaimed the Island fox a new species and is protecting it, although many of the foxes either developed distemper and died or simply disappeared after the dogs ran all the pigs to ground. There was speculation the foxes were either killed outright by the indiscriminate dogs, or caught distemper from infected feces. The Conservancy also claims the California Valley Quail, the State bird, that reside on the Island have now evolved into a new species, the California Gray Quail, and are protected as such.

The website linked above has a FAQ page on the recent fires and deer management program. There is a smalll bison herd on the Island, as well, but it is the focus of tours and brings in big revenue, so it is safe for now.

Growing up on Catalina Island in the 70s, my family relied on hunting and fishing to put meat on the table in our household. Now they are trying to destroy the last vestige of this important natural resource over concern about trampling and grazing of new growth shoots and tubers on the 2007 burn area. Why can't they just fence off the burn area then, instead of the deer's water sources? To see the Conservancy come in and destroy this resource for what I consider highly questionable and suspect motives breaks my heart.

The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) officially “owns” all of the mule deer in California on behalf the people of California. The CDFG also oversees a number of game management programs that include issuing tags for deer hunting. The Island’s hunting program is administered for CDFG by the Catalina Island Conservancy. Since the deer have no natural predators on the Island, the PLM is currently the only means of moderating the population.

The Conservancy administers for the California Department of Fish and Game a Private Lands Management Program (PLM) that permits the taking of 500 deer per year....

Yet they are issuing tags for 1200 deer and request taking does that are either pregnant or have suckling fawns. I believe this is a criminal act, and it must be stopped. I strongly urge all concerned parties to contact the

Catalina Conservancy

Avalon Office
P.O. Box 2739
125 Claressa Ave.
Avalon, CA 90704
Phone: 310-510-2595
Fax: 310-510-2594

as well as the

California Department of Fish and Game

DFG Headquarters
1416 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-0411

Serving Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties

Main Office:
4949 Viewridge Avenue
San Diego, CA 92123
Information: (858) 467-4201
FAX: (858) 467-4299

Regional Manager:
Ed Pert

Dolores Duarte
(858) 467-2702

Voice your concern over this wanton, needless destruction of wildlife before its too late. The next non-indigenous, destructive species to be removed will be man himself. Then they will just boat tourists over to see the bison and native fox and gray quail, not to mention all the rare and indigenous plants.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 01:23 PM
So, the latest I hear from my contact on the Island is the Conservancy is now using herbicide on the mule deer's primary food sources, long grass and anise. I'm sure they are using the non-native, invasive species argument to cover this as well.

How can this organization call itself the Catalina Island Conservancy when they are deliberately and systematically destroying wildlife like this? More doublespeak from the agendaed pseudo-environmentalist movement.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 03:23 PM
I hate to say it...

But I really don't see a problem here.. I mean.. not the greatest way to control the herd.. but.... so?
they are mule deer, very invasive. many places have problems with these deer and many places have done the same thing..
when your on a smaller island such as that, deer/pigs destroying all the vegetation and such would be a big problem..

you could let the problem go... then in a few years time your not writing an article about snuffing out some mule deer, but instead, your writing about how these things are all over the place. how they are eating all your plants and pooping every where..

so I guess what im saying.. with all due respect is.... SO?

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 04:53 PM
Great attitude. No wonder this world is in the mess it is.

The point is the herd is managed and the deer are not the problem they are portrayed to be. If you were familiar at all with the Island, you would know it is quite mountainous and remote, not small at all, and many areas the deer inhabit are accessible only on foot. They are a valuable, and imo, necessary resource. Maybe not to grocery aisle grazers, though.

I do believe your stance is the prevailing one, apathy. I know the world has bigger problems than the mule deer on Catalina Island. I also know they will never be solved by apathetic, narrow-minded, so what mindsets. When everybody is starving and the only available food is in the internment camps, where do you think you will end up?

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 04:58 PM
Are you talking the one off the coast of California?That island is so small and a ways from the inland.Weird there is even deer on there.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 05:01 PM
The reason people don't care about deer on a SMALL island is because it's not as important as you want it to be.. the deer AREN'T from the island, they were imported....

so I really don't care about the deer on an island off the coast of cali, im going to an internment camp? oh please... that's moronic

first of all.. I don't live in your country, so me ending up in one of your "camps" isn't likely.
second... im not worried about food cause I can grow/hunt my own... you know that word "self sufficient".

make you a deal... you keep fretting about an invasive species on an island that no one really cares about.... and I will worry about the real things going on in the real world.

those stupid mule deer will be bounding around eating grass long after we are dead.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 05:13 PM
Like I said, there are more important things going on in the world. Your response is indicative of apathy. If you are so far away, and so well prepared and uncaring, why bother to respond to the thread at all? Go ahead and be a NIMBY. The world is shrinking, and denying others the same rights you claim for yourself, hunting, for example, is again indicative of the mess we are in. Now that is moronic.

This is one of the real things going on in the real world, from the macro to the micro. I grew up on the Island and hunted there quite a bit. If, I mean when, TSHTF, I would like to head back there and make a go of it off the grid. I will need the deer and other wildlife on the Island to do it. It wouldn't hurt to have some fish left in the sea, as well. Why do you have a problem with that?

How do you know the US will be the only place with camps? You don't. Deny your own ignorance before you project it on me, bud.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 05:37 PM
Deny what ignorance?

because im not all up in arms about your mule deer? come on... get a clue.

so.. if something goes down or you wanna go "off the grid", you wanna go to THAT place to try and survive? good luck with that.

and I think it's freaking hilarious that you assume all people from all countries will end up in camps.. yeah, good luck finding me in canada... all tucked away down there.. (LMAO)

you can keep saying that im ignorant.. you can keep stomping your feet and pouting.. fact is your getting worked up about nothing.. this isn't some "save the tree frog" thing... it's some mule deer on a small island... (which they aren't even from ANYWAYS)

damn, let's all start a freakin fund and have a telethon!

please.. be more worried about the 30 some million in california that all live in a polluted, dry and unstable place.. oh.. but the deer.. let's dilute our selfs with that. poor deer...

and im not talking about denying anything to anyone... if you wanna hunt.. go for it.. there are tons of mule deer all over the place.

it's nothing about projecting anything on anyone.. you have your moronic opinion... I have mine.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 06:14 PM
Sorry but I agree with the critics of the OP on this one as well.

Islands are very (relatively) fragile systems. Foremost because the are isolated and due to this fact there is a dramatically reduced ability of immigration of species.

This limits their ability to restore and heal after suffering damage.

Further more, introduced species can have devastating impacts on such an environment.

The slaughter of Mule Deer is a horrific effect of managing such a system.

While I can sympathize with your concern I feel that your outrage is misguided. The actions of today are a result of actions past. The deer should not be there and allowed to continue to flourish as they appear to be doing would cause a more tragic outcome than their slaughter.

[edit on 17-6-2008 by Animal]

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 06:18 PM
Read up on the concept of Island Biogeography. Though this concept is translated into the context of fragmented habitat its basis originated witht he study of island ecosystems.

From Wiki


And Another

[edit on 17-6-2008 by Animal]

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 06:31 PM
So be it.

Go on thinking you are so insulated and isolated. Believe me, you will be found if you are looked for. I am not making assumptions. I am simply stating the fact that I don't know where all the camps will be, if there turn out to be any. I am not stomping my foot or pouting or getting riled at all really. I am doing my brother, who still lives on the Island, a favor by getting the word out about something that greatly concerns him.

You have no idea what the Island is like. You think you are out of reach in the Great North. That is ignorance. On both counts. Btw, this is not my only concern in life, nowhere near the top even. I do think it is indicative of the general disregard of a populace disconnected for the most part from the means of their own survival. You don't seem to be part of that population. Good for you. No offense intended and none taken.

Animal - If all you did was read the Conservancy page I linked, if even that, then you are getting biased information from the source of the problem. The deer are not flourishing nor are they endangering sensitive ecosystems. That is a front. Again, I am not outraged, nor misguided. I consider the deer an important resource that needs to be carefully managed and preserved, not summarily eradicated.

edit to add - I read your links and understand the science. This is not a theory, this is real life. The deer are there. Yes, they were introduced as a hunting and food resource. Imo, they need to be properly preserved and managed, not destroyed out of hand.

[edit on 17-6-2008 by Icarus Rising]

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 06:35 PM
Done deal. The # you need to call is actually 310-510-1299 ext. 423

Do not be further broken hearted if they pull this thread, I have had it happen before myself.
Blessings and thankyou for bringing this to my attention.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 06:38 PM
reply to post by Icarus Rising

I did not read your link, and I do not think I need to. Having studied and worked in the field of conservation biology I know a bit about the topic.

I highly doubt the Deer are even being eradicated. By what you have shared it sounds like their population is being halved. My guess would be that their numbers outgrew their environment due to lacking predators.

This thread has just become rather boring, bets of luck in your crusade.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 06:46 PM
Animal - I did edit my post to take in your links. The 2500 deer left is after several intensive and extended hunting seasons. Killing pregnant or nursing does will do more than halve the population. If you are bored you are welcome to go back to sticking your head in the sand, I mean your textbooks.

I thought environmentalism was about conservation and caring stewardship.

Antar - thanks for the supportive response and positive action.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 06:56 PM
reply to post by Icarus Rising

Show me that they are not being properly managed and I will act. The link you provided gave me no information on this, as far as I could see. Basically I think you are off. That is MHO.

It is funny you try to dismiss the "theory" of island biogeography. It is REALLY how things work man. That is why it is so heavily used in the decision making process of conservation and management.

Just because you do not readily see the translation from thought to real life does not mean there is not a clear path.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 07:52 PM
Animal - forgive me for yanking your chain a bit there. You are right, there is solid science behind island biogeography. In fact, there are several "micro-climate", if that is the correct term, areas on the Island. Groves of ironwood trees grow there and nowhere else. Toyon holly bushes, too. I have an axe to grind to a certain extent with the Conservancy, due to the heavy-handed approach they have taken in their management of the Island's interior since the early 90's. I only have my brother's word to take for it recently, and he has lived there and hunted and fished for his protein for the last 25 years or more. He is stunned at the latest developments and is convinced the deer are doomed, and soon. I don't think he is over-reacting, given the history. There is no other info out there, no counterpoint, no opposing view. The Conservancy is acting with complete impunity, unilaterally imposing their regimen without peer review or substantive input from residents. I don't think its right, and I started this thread to speak out about it, for all those without a voice or choice in the matter.

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 09:26 PM
reply to post by Icarus Rising

Hey man, at face value I may not agree with you but I understand your reasons for acting and I support that. I have grown to use to being an 'environmental wacko' here on ATS and I think as a result I can be over bearing. For that I am sorry. Do not let me get you down or discourage you from persuing what you think is right. More power to you man.

[edit on 17-6-2008 by Animal]

posted on Jun, 20 2008 @ 09:56 AM
Why do people that do not own the island think they have any right to tell the Conservancy and California Fish and Game how to manage the deer and land?

Many of the facts presented by Icarus are not correct, or at best skewed (Where do I begin). I can not believe that the Conservancy would encourage anyone to shoot fawns and pregnant does, that is both unethical and ridiculous.

If you can't feed you self by fishing in the Pacific off Catalina, you have a problem. Two skinny Mule deer a year isn't going to last too long.

People have different values. Some may find value in a unique island ecosystem with plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet. Others find value in non-native game animals placed here for sporting and food.
Finding value in rare plants, insects and animals may seem goofy to you Icarus, but try to look at it from another perspective.
I wont argue about your value of the deer.

If you really want to make the island your paradise of deer, goats and pigs running around everywhere BUY IT. Until then, mind your own business.

posted on Jun, 20 2008 @ 01:51 PM
last thing im going to say about this topic..

The deer were not naturally on the island.... MAN put them there... in order to to put it back to the natural way, you gotta take out the invasive species..

IR, I find it funny that your so mad that they are doing what they should be doing... restoring the natural balance..

and in typical american fashion, you assume, me being from canada that im some how sheltered... that I have no idea what the island is like and looks like..


I bet that I have seen more of your country than you have.. coast to coast.. yes I have been down to cali many times.. yes I have been to the island.. I have "seen" it...

and I still think this is a waste of time

your ignorance knows no bounds

posted on Jun, 20 2008 @ 02:12 PM
Nice to see you back and fired up there pynner.

A day trip to the Island isn't going to do the job. I'm connected to the place as a 20 year former resident. My mom served several terms on the city council. I may know a little more about the politics there than you do. But, whatever. You are entitled to your opinions and insults. You will reap what you sow, of that I have no doubt.

Again, I'm not mad. I have my own opinion about the way the Island interior is being mis-managed by the most invasive species of all, man himself.

[edit on 20-6-2008 by Icarus Rising]

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