Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Zebras killed: One sad tale’s gray areas
File this one under “D” for “Damn Shame All Around.” I refer to the recent shooting of three Hearst Ranch zebras on the Fiscalini Green Valley Ranch south of Cambria. The incident has now gone viral, having been picked up by national and international news agencies, so perhaps the barest of bones reconstruction of the incident is necessary...Although a member of the horse family, zebras can be savage fighters; that makes sense if you remember that the species is from Africa and has had to evolve in a world fraught with lions and crocodiles. Their genetic code has developed to the point that they will bolt at the sight of movement or shadows — and those runs can be up to 40 mph. As for temperament, zoos consider them vicious animals that will kick or bite a zookeeper on a whim. There’s a point to be made that the herd of zebras varies in number through the years because members of the herd periodically seem to vanish. As a free-ranging species, they don’t always honor fences, a fact even Hearst acknowledges. And if you’ve followed the 300-plus comments posted on the original story, you’ll find that there are North Coast ranchers who have been dealing with zebras on their property for years, alleging that when they call the Hearst Ranch to come and get the animals and fix the fences, their complaints are met with deaf ears. Other questions: Was Fiscalini breaking the law when he killed the animals? Not according to Lt. Todd Toggnazini of the state Department of Fish and Game. Zebras are considered domestic animals and don’t fall under Fish and Game ordinances. Are the Hearsts responsible for maintaining the integrity of the fencing of their 83,000-acre San Simeon ranch? Without question. Not only maintaining it, but building it higher and stronger if need be to keep their animals on their property...more