By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… I received an e-mail from a hero of mine, Cliven Bundy. I have only met the man once; however, I have followed his extended fight with the Bureau of Land Management.
The federal agencies are upset about his grazing of a few cows on thousands of acres of land that the government claimed when Nevada became a state. The e-mail I received from him was a copy of a press release Cliven Bundy apparently has sent to a number of news outlets in Nevada. I asked and received his permission to print it in its entirety.
Cliven Bundy offers to take in all Desert Tortoises marked for senseless killing and have them brought to his ranch where he grazes his cattle on Nevada State Public Lands. He says they can range on his ranch while the Nevada State Officials establish an adoption program to place these Tortoises scheduled to be killed by the federal Tortoise caretakers.
Bundy Ranch is a perfect habitat for the Desert Tortoise, proper elevation, proper climate, proper terrain; the Tortoise’s diet is the same as the Brahma Cow’s. It is a well-established scientific fact that the Tortoise lives well on cattle droppings (cow pies) because the cow does not digest very much of the nutrients in the grass they eat which leaves much protein still for the Tortoise to live on.
“I am happy to share my forage and water rights in order to save the devastating euthanization of this innocent and interesting critter,” Bundy notes.
For thousands of years the Desert Tortoise could have wandered to the mountain areas, or they could have traveled to the lower wetlands and meadows, but they chose to live in this rough desert habitat which has been designated as “critical”.
Bundy says, “I’m not doing this because of some phony Endangered Species listing of the Tortoise, not at all; I’m doing this for the humanity of preventing the senseless killing of innocent wildlife that is the property of the State of Nevada and its Citizens. It’s very clear now that it was always about money and never the betterment of the Tortoise.”
It is well established that the Bundy Ranch has served for several generations a well-managed safe haven for wildlife due to the extensive range stewardship implemented by Bundy in his continued development of his water out here on the dry desert. All forms of wildlife have flourished along with much plant life as well. Cliven is an animal and plant lover and for his entire life on the ranch as he continues on into his late 60’s to cultivate the soil to grow the best melons around and put up the finest hay for his cattle. The Bundy Ranch has also for several generations been providing food for public consumption and one more batch of wildlife to come onto the Bundy Ranch for sustenance and salvation like that of this Desert Tortoise will be no bother at all.
This sent me to researching some of the past articles on this issue in the Las Vegas papers. The original statement by the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, the agency established to protect the tortoise, was that they were closing due to lack of funds. They would, therefore, euthanize the tortoises in their care.
When there was a public outcry; not about their closing but about killing the animals that they were paid to protect; the conservatory explained they would only kill the sick tortoises. They indicated that they had 1,400 tortoises in their care and 700 were suffering from a respiratory virus.
In the boom days of Las Vegas, the organization extorted over a million dollars a year from local builders. However, when the depression hit Las Vegas, their yearly take dropped to $290,000 a year.
The conservatory states it has been bringing in over 1,000 tortoise a year for twenty years. Tortoises have a life expectancy of somewhere between sixty and one hundred years. Tortoises produce 5-12 eggs each year.
Now I am not much of a mathematician but that would suggest the conservatory should; unless they are releasing or killing more than a 1,000 tortoises a year; have a whole lot more than 1,400 tortoises.
This organization states, “It is illegal to touch, harm, or harass the animals and the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center has tried to increase the population since they were added to the endangered species list in 1990.” However, it was also indicated that they separate the tortoises by sexes. That sounds a whole lot like harassment to me.
I am getting really old but I do believe I remember if you separate any species by sex, you probably are not going to have any increase in that species. One might suspect these are the same people or at least the same policies that have protected the Moapa Dice to the edge of extinction.
I would suggest that we take Mr. Bundy up on on his offer. Take the 700 healthy tortoises that will need a home when the conservatory closes and release them on the hundreds of thousands of acres from which the government wants to force Mr. Bundy to remove his few hundred cattle. Let the cattle and tortoise co-exist. Then, come back in five years and see how they fare.
If the experiment fails, the tortoises will be no worse off than if they had remained in the control of the government that has been killing them on a regular basis. It would be a far better place that the test site filled with nuclear radiation where they released a bunch last year.
Those of you who have followed Cliven Bundy’s attempt to protect his cattle from federal rustlers will understand that the real endangered species here is not the tortoise but Americans like Mr. Bundy who stand against an oppressive overbearing government.
If you believe Mr. Bundy’s fight with this bunch of bureaucrats with support from a minority of influential eco-nut Reid-ites should be his alone, you might take a moment to remind yourselves that these are same effete snobs, with the support of Harry Reid, that want to remove you from the area also.
Thought of the week… A rattlesnake loose in the living room tends to end all discussion of animal rights.
– Lance Morrow