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Of cars and coyotes

By Staff | Jun 3, 2015

To the editor:

On May 22, a motorist struck and severely injured a 73-year-old man on a bicycle on Periwinkle at a crosswalk. According to the authorities, the bicyclist was at fault.

Motorists should be reminded to slow down and look for pedestrians and bicycles when near a crosswalk because, according to Florida law, pedestrians have the right of way. Remember the Sanibel plan that discouraged an “urban automobile culture” and encouraged bikers and walkers? Will the city council express outrage at this incident and take steps to remedy the intense traffic problem?

Yesterday at San-Cap Road and Jamaica Drive there was a dead black snake, run over by an auto. A few days ago I saw a dead egret by the side of the road, and almost every morning there are little piles of bones and feathers or fur on San-Cap Road. Even if there is no concern over an injured 73-year-old resident, one would think that SCCF or CROW would express outrage over automobiles slaughtering wildlife.

Contrast the apathy about “killer automobiles” with the intense concern about coyotes. The Sanibel Biologist Working Group was formed, consisting of the city wildlife expert, SCCF, USFWS, and CROW. Who formed the group? Was it the city council? Surely the council members would be more worried about the thousands of excess autos on Sanibel than a dozen coyotes. Coyotes rarely if ever bother humans, but think of the outrage if one snacked on a poodle from New York or loped through Doc Ford’s parking lot and leered at a patron?

The council and the chamber of commerce would take immediate action. Mr. Ruane and Mr. Goss would make a trip to Washington, D.C., to consult coyote experts (at taxpayer expense; those budget cutters are tricky). The experts would recommend poison or sharpshooters to exterminate the rascals, but that would be socially incorrect on Sanibel. The Biologists Working Group has already hit upon a good excuse to relocate or exterminate the coyotes. The rascals snarf up turtle eggs and hatchlings. It makes no difference that our beloved birds also regard baby turtles as tender snacks. Sanibel is supposed to be a wildlife sanctuary, but if a large alligator or a bear frightens a tourist, the chamber of commerce has decreed goodbye wildlife.

What right do we humans have to decide which species is the most important? According to Genesis, God created all creatures, the great, the small, the beautiful and liked them all. One could argue that sea turtles are an endangered species and must be protected. What will happen when a sea turtle sticks its beaky head out of the surf and fastens his evil reptilian eye on a sunbather who has had one too many rum drinks?

Goodbye, Mr. Turtle.

John Raffensperger

Sanibel Island