Howdy Herpers, 07/20/13
First off, Typing Boy sometimes sends out "knock your socks off" missives that he expects multiple "ooos and ahhhs" from the gallery. And all he gets in return is the sound of crickets. There is no accounting for taste with this audience. Then, whilst mired in email Armageddon, he sends out a missive that requests responses from three people, and about 50 of you respond!
What with being a very active president of a herp society, organizing 2 new websites, and herping until he drops, I hope that those of you 50 who said "got it" will forgive me if I didn't respond with "got yours too!"
And if you don't know what I'm talking about, you're likely blessed to be on the second list that was spared that type of lunacy.
Count your blessings!
I'm going to do something that I've never done before. I'm not comfortable doing this. We all get emailed monetary leg humps from this org or that org--and at least they are smart enough, (desperate enough?), to become non profits. While we of the Suizo Project SHOULD do that--the 800-1200 bucks that it takes to do that always winds up being spent on transmitters, PIT tags, receivers etc. In other words--useful stuff!
Ok, enough with the BS. I'm asking for money. A new batch of transmitters have just arrived. The little old winemaker coughed up the 700 bucks to pay for that. This with the blessing of his lovely wife Dianna. This was just a stop gap order. Every one of those transmitters has already been requested by our subjects. (They don't know that they requested it, but they did.) Once those surgeries are done, there will be more animals that need the old transmitters that we yank. That will be another $700. And with three steady trackers, we have never have we been more ready to add in new animals.
Those are 400 bucks each. We've already released 2 VERY good candidates for the study due to fiscal woes.
So no, you can't take it off your taxes. We will of course entertain giving animals a name you choose for a hefty donation--but does that really matter? If you donate, you know that the study will continue, and you will also know that you can count on good reports so that you can herp vicariously with us. And join us on the ground as well.
To show what unmitigated gall we have, we're asking you to do this the hard way. Cut a check, make it out to me, stick it in an envelope, and send it to me at:
950 N. Cherry Ave
Tucson, AZ 85719
Every penny donated goes for equipment. We don't get a salary, and we pay gas and beer money out of pocket. (Although you have the right to designate the money be spent on beer. Who are we to turn down free binges?)
If you want to avoid all this hassle, and want to give, we can arrange to have you pay the makers of transmitters with a credit card.
Thanks for your consideration. If it doesn't bring in any money, we'll continue to the best we can with what we have. Thanks.
Good old female tiger rattlesnake # 12, "Ellie." Her transmitter was due to expire 7 June of this year. They normally expire early. By mid-May, the edict "get Ellie" was burned in our brains. Only you can't easily get something that remains invisible in rocky rubble-- unless you want to strip mine certain pristine patches of ground. That we will not do--we will lose an animal first. (Not necessarily because of strict environmental codes of ethics, but more likely because of our lack of desire to swing pick axes and shovels).
In all of 2013, we did not ONCE see Ellie up. With the few glimpses that we had of her, she was buried deeper than a Texas tick. Even those visuals were rare--only one for me. And so 7 June came and went, and we started to intensify the hunt for her. I have 20 write ups of the same rock shelf that is packed with Neotoma debris to show for these writeups. The saving grace was that she was in with a tortoise--so at least I got to watch that during the process.
FINALLY, on 6 July, we got our first rain storm. Every snake we tracked was up--including the erstwhile Ellie. It was nothing short of a miracle that her transmitter was still working. We snagged her, and noted that she was WAY too pregnant to endure a surgery and release. So, Marty hung on to her. She dropped five kids and one stillborn baby on 10 July. All the images that follow come to us by way of Marty Feldner.
I thought I'd start with the first courtship event that we witnessed last year, and bring us on to the present. The images are labeled clear enough for you to see the action. Note how skinny CT12 is after her ordeal. Can you spare 90 cents, so we buy her a mouse? :-)
We are currently watching two more pregnant tigers where transmitter changes will NOT be a problem. We also have one black-tailed rattlesnake about to drop. We hope to share these exciting moments with you insitu.
For now, whether you donate or not, please enjoy these breathtaking images. And know that more will be on your screen soon.
Best to all of you, roger