Thursday, January 5, 2012

Musings: Killers on the Rampage

OK, folks, we've got a possible serial monk seal killer on the loose. Or perhaps the discovery Monday of a dead seal on Kauai, reportedly at Pilaa, where one of Jimmy Pflueger's workers shot a seal in 2009, is a copy-cat crime, modeled after the three previous deaths on Molokai. At any rate, from the KITV news report, these sure look like hate crimes:

"They're dying because their skulls are being smashed. So for me, that is alarming. That's setting a dangerous trend. If we don't stop it, we are going to be the cause of the death of these seals," said [Molokai activist Walter] Ritte.

Ritte believes those behind the recent deaths are young fishermen or hunters who may be misinformed about the seals.

"People are killing the seals. The government can't say it because they need proof. I'm not the government, I'm from the grassroots and I know they're killing the seals," said Ritte.

Hawaii News Now had a bit more detail:

"I can't speak for any other island," Ritte said. "I can speak for Molokai. We all talk story over there. It's a small island. So where you find the seals with the heads smashed is only places where fishermen and hunters go. So if you put all of that together, all of the talk that's going around, it's the young people. And when you talk to the young people (young fishermen) they say, ‘It's just an invasive species. And I walk all this distance and then I get there and the seal is bothering me. They are in our nets. They are in the moi hole. They are invasive species. Kill them,'" Ritte said.

So if people are doing it, other people must know. Make the reward big enough and somebody will talk. And it's not just for the sake of the seals. Anybody pissed off enough to bash in the head of a sleeping seal — or any animal — needs serious help before he moves on to the true invasive species: human beings.

Moving up the coast a bit from the murder scene at Pilaa, there was some discussion in yesterday's comment section about whether the $20 million sale of Will and Jada Smith's home above Kauapea Beach affected home prices on the island.

What hasn't been mentioned is that the property in question is agricultural land. So when you've got seven acres of ag land with a house going for $20 mill, it most certainly does affect all of us who would like to see farming as a viable activity on this island. Speculation on ag land used for gentleman's estates and luxury vacation rentals – as is the case all along that bluff above Kauapea — is rampant on this island. As I've reported previously, it's pushed out bonafide farmers in that area who can't compete with the “fair market value” created by these high-end non-farms, and it drives up the price of ag land in general, making it harder for legit farmers to carry on.

And it's all made possible by a planning department that doesn't take the farm dwelling agreement seriously and planning commissioners who voice disbelief, yet still give their approval, when a billionaire landowner represented by then Rep. Roland Sagum, who thankfully has since been voted out, claims his half-acre spread is a “farm dwelling” and his “crop” is going to be turf. Oh yes, and let's not forget the Realtors who condone this charade and profit mightily from the flips.

While we're on the topic of ag, I encountered an intriguing article about a possible cause in the colony collapse disorder that is ravaging bee hives: a fly parasite that turns the bees into zombies. (Jan TenBruggencate also has a blog post on this today.) As the Discovery article reports:

Parasites, viral and bacterial infections, pesticides, and poor nutrition resulting from the impact of human activities on the environment have all played a role in the decline.

So why is the USDA even considering deregulating corn that has been genetically engineered to resist applications of Dow's powerful herbicide 2,4-D, which has been linked to cancer, hormone disruptions and Parkinson's disease? Because — surprise, surprise — some weeds have developed resistance to the Roundup that was used to drench crops that had been genetically modified to withstand direct doses of that herbicide. So now they want to up the ante with an even more powerful chemical. And when insects develop resistance to that, then what?

"Those resistance problems are going to get worse unless something is done to remedy that," said Garry Hamlin, spokesman for Dow AgroSciences.

Mmm, what about cutting back on the poisons, guys?

To end on a positive note, I recently encountered a suggestion to eat in silence, so that one can think loving thoughts while nourishing one's body. Hopefully with non-toxic foods. And with that, I'm off to the garden.


Anonymous said...

Re: seal deaths

NOAA brought this upon themselves. Classic case of mismanagement.

Anonymous said...

Farming my okole! Will Smith was a farmer above Secret Beach? Who's kidding whom? These fake Ag lots should be condemned back to real Ag land & given to farmers who will grow food for an island that imports more than 85% of its food! Of course, real estate prices affect other real estate prices. Stop trying to make a quick buck off of the backs of those who were born here and have to live here.

Anonymous said...

"the true invasive species: human beings."

that's right. the seals were here first.

Anonymous said...

Okay, please demonstrate how the Smith's sale will effect YOUR non-coastal view ag lot with regular housing?

Please do a little bit of research on economic scales before spouting, you probably don't have a real estate appraisers license, an economics degree or any kind of licensure.

Anonymous said...

holy shit this is so sad. remember the monk seal killer who decapitated a seal in 07? we are living among sociopaths. that's the larger issue. It's the become the kind of place where people get away with killing their wives, and no prosecutor, or fisherman or resident, has the cajones to do anything about it. Myself included, actually. I mean, how do you make people care?

Anonymous said...

I think it was Einstein who stated that "ignorance breeds violence"...maybe Gandhi?

Anyway......there are many factors to consider that contribute to lack of fish. The biggest one, is reef health. With all the development run-off, cess pools leaking, mud and bacteria, our reefs are slowly dying...and so is the food supply for the fish that feed on the coral.

Males (mostly) who perpetrate violence on animals, because of their "mind-set"...have a high probability of perpetrating violence on their girlfriends, wives, and children.

Don;t let your daughters date monk seal killers!

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

As a kanaka born & raised I'm appalled at the lack of respect for this living creature that is struggling to survive like Kanaka Maoli struggle to survive everyday in our homeland. Its the lack of balance on land & sea caused by humans that has depleted our marine resources, not the seals. Don't take frustration at NOAA out on these creatures. Remember our cultural values of pono and malama 'aina that include our fisheries. Take only what is needed mindful of spawning seasons and sizes. Greediness was looked apon in disdain by our kupuna. The common good of the community including the 'aina was utmost. We need to look to these values to guide our actions.

Anonymous said...

How can you educate this population that are intent on killing harmless animals?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (4:34 PM) said: "How can you educate this population that are intent on killing harmless animals?"

O hai, r u gadfly by any chance, or one of his maggots? Because that's a fairly elitist blanket statement--in other words, thinly veiled racism.

If you want a serious answer: by not buying and living
in 1+ acre gated gentleman's "farms" and claiming a farm exemption on your taxes. In other words, setting
an honest and responsible example.

Anonymous said...

Eat chicken and beef for a few years and let the fish and reef rest.

People go to sea and fish to get away from the crowds on the land

Dawson said...

"I think it was Einstein who stated that "ignorance breeds violence"...maybe Gandhi?"

One good quote deserves another:

"This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased."
- Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol