EDITOR: On a recent morning run in beautiful Sonoma I came across a family of deer – including a very young and small fawn -- trapped on Gehricke Road at Lovall.
They were trapped by fences surrounding vineyards and mansions; they were trapped by a multitude of cars and trucks and construction work, and a road closure, and signs about road closures, and utility vehicles, and people walking by with their dogs (who were not taking kindly to the deer).
I hung around for half an hour, watching from a distance as the deer skittered up and down Ghericke, clearly stressed, continually going up to the fences, trying to find an opening. Not really knowing if anyone could be of assistance, I called a local county animal welfare service to inquire. I expressed concern that the family of deer were at risk of being hit and killed or injured.
The person with whom I spoke told me there’s no way they’d dispatch for a matter such as the one I was describing. Fair enough. But when I continued to express concern, the response I got was an annoyed tone of, “We have plenty of deer.”
We have plenty of deer. The terrible wildfires of last year both displaced and killed numbers of animals, including deer. Concern for the deer, and other animals, was common chatter among many locals during the fires. Everyone cared about the deer, then. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I still care about deer welfare.
Aside from the fact that I like animals, I also believe deer are an important part of Sonoma’s ecosystem. Their vitality allows other animals to survive here. Wildfires can handily deplete a deer population. So can urban development. Such culminations, coupled by a “we have plenty of deer” attitude, foreshadows an ecosystem that can become imperiled.
I think it’s more productive to consider what we are doing toward sustainable development, which requires thoughtfulness and curiosity and a commitment to the bigger picture of a landscape and its inhabitants. In addition to the threat of global warming disasters, there’s the reality that increased development in Sonoma increasingly encroaches on the land used by wildlife. And that means actively considering how development, in all its phases, has potential to entrap and endanger wildlife. Sonoma is home to bright, creative, thoughtful, people, with the talent and skills to bring progressive sustainability to our land and our community. It’s well worth pursuing smart solutions to ensure that animals of all kinds have safe ways to pass through and across and along the land, including bypasses. Wildlife corridors protect and connect wildlife habits. I know there are people locally working on this, and advocating for it. And I appreciate it a lot.
Because saying, “We have plenty of deer,” sounds like a rationalization for inaction. California’s state flag has a grizzly bear on it. Because we used to have plenty of grizzlies... along with wolves, and sea otters, and... the list goes on...
Memories of Nita
EDITOR: As a friend of Nita Rothschild, I was disturbed by the way she was represented during her murder trial (“Rothschild Gets 6-year Sentence for Killing Wife,” Nov. 2). Sadly, she is not here to defend herself or share her side of the story.