Tuesday, May 28, 2013


THE BIG STORY IS THAT GATOR FARMS HAVE SAVED THE ALLIGATOR FROM EXTINCTION----AND--- CREATED A LARGE INDUSTRY.  PRIVATE ENTERPRISE AND ECOLOGY HAVE CONVERGED IN THIS ONE CASE.  PERHAPS THE PRINCIPLES LEARNED HERE CAN SAVE MOST OF THE WORLD'S ENDANGERED SPECIES.  The principle---simply put---is to find a way to make it PROFITABLE to do so.  Each species may require a different, imaginative approach.  Profitable TOURISM might save the elephant.  Creating a legal market for rhino horns might save the Rhino.  Entrepreneurs could raise them for their valuable horns. (do they grow back when cut off?)  

News flash:  it turns out that smart and sensible people are waaaay ahead of me.  Preserving endangered species by sustainable use is the aim of this already existing organization---to which---most of the world's nations already subscribe.  Good work and sensible policies are being implemented across the globe.(go CITES!!!)

The small story is the quasi-dynasty my sister and her husband have spawned.  I will speculate on that at the end.   But first I will wrap up the gator story with things I never knew and things perhaps you've never seen.

Gator eggs must be gathered in the wild.  Their nest are best spotted from the air ---in June---often around the full moon.  This ultralite was used for the first years.  Now of course he uses his helicopter---spots a nest---pushes a button and the gps remembers the exact location --- relayed to a ground crew.  They take all the eggs and incubate them. At 87 degrees the egg will develop into a female gator.  At 91 degrees a male.  At 89 degrees a mix of male and female.  Jeff prefers males--they grow bigger---worth more---but not by a lot.  
 As he gives me the story---we walk around his ranch---shows me his pet elk---has had him for years---shows me the accumulated antlers.
 Ducks, chickens and that Vietnamese pig--which curiously does not need to be fed---fends for himself.
 shows me his private dock and motorboat on the beautiful Ouachita river. (pronounced wash-I-taw)
 This critical piece of equipment---heater---maintains a near constant 89 degree water temperature.
 by mixing hot with cold water.
 And it costs a bit of money to operate.  During a cold winter he might use a whole tankful of propane in a 2 week period.
 Ignore the next few pictures if you're squeamish---he let me witness the "harvest".
As with cattle butchering---new ways of killing are  instantaneous to prevent suffering.  
 I watched Skilled hands carefully separate meat from hide.
 It wholesales for $9 a pound ---demand is always greater than supply.
Cases of meat carefully packed and stored at zero degrees. (coldest room I've ever been in) 
 The really valuable stuff---premium hides of 3 year old alligators---I was tempted to ask how many of them it took to buy that helicopter---but I didn't.  Interestingly all these hides go to Thailand for further processing.
 Meet a real Crocodile Dundee---he single handedly cornered and killed this "nuisance" gator that was endangering a family. (It ate the family dog)
 Sis shows off a gift from her son Jeff----the end product ---an alligator handbag.
They cost thousands.
 I managed one photo of the patriarch of this dynasty---Dr. Al.  I asked him what he had done right to spawn so productive a batch of kids.  He said he had only offered a small piece of advice to Jeff:  Told him he should Go Big. 
 The doc was quite a hunter.  Over the years he has allowed me to pick his medical brain when I was in trouble.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I think what my sister Bobby Jean and Al did different in raising their kids----over and beyond being decent loving parents was to HAVE A PERSONAL LIFE  THEMSELVES----and---- EXPECT---(ALLOW) each of their kids to invent their own life---to gradually discover their own fascinations and find a way to contribute to society.  Not demanding DETAILED  OBEDIENCE---they simply set and enforced broad Boundaries and then supported each one as they felt their way to Autonomy.  Well done sis---I love you and your family.


2 CooPs said...

Rhino horns do grow back in about two years if not cut too close to the base. Here in South Africa we have a few farmers that are deliberately farming for the horns but poaching is becoming a major problem.

Joyce said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed your journey home. While I hate, hate the killing of animals in the wild, I am okay with raising them for meat/hides. Your right - this is a good solution for saving species.

coupe2u said...

I like that you publicly posted your love of your family - nice touch - more people should openly express their love of each other.

JerryC said...

Great posts on your homecoming. Your thoughts on the raising of your nieces and nephews hit the nail square on the head. Too bad more parents weren't able to do the same. The World would be a much better place.

Anonymous said...

I've been following you for a while, Randy, and I have to say these past number of posts - the journey home - have been some of your best. Well done!

Michael said...

The solutions do not lie in finding profitability. The solution lies in what you've been preaching... simplify your life so you'll stumble upon Sustainability.

Now you couldn't say that around your family otherwise you might not get a helicopter ride. We'll maybe you would... but it might be a much more direct and fast trip back to earth with a little shove and less parachute. It reminds me of how my real estate-mogul cousin unfriended me on Facebook since I started publicly opposing his development of pristine parkland in my home town.

Like Max Keiser says below, "The consumer… they don't have the courage to decapitate themselves."

Keiser Report Decapitated Consumers

"You are what you eat. And I think this is an appropriate development in the mass produced chicken development world, to simply have chickens without any heads or chickens without any feet. Because this is what the consumer demands. The consumer… they don't have the courage to decapitate themselves.

Anonymous said...

The beauty of alligator hide products escapes me. Does anybody else out there think they are ugly?
It is a grand business though where business is difficult...other than oil & gas wells, of course. It is a fine adaptation to the Southern delta like Tobasco sauce.
My grandfather manufactured umbrellas in New Orleans in another adaptation. Gotta work where you live.

rvlady5 said...

Wayne Wirs 's sister passed away last night.Go check Wayne's blog. :'/