Ranger Kathryn's Arches

July 8, 2011

‘Sprinkles’ is free!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:55 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I knew it was going to be a Wildlife Home Run day when it started with a Midget Faded Rattlesnake frightening visitors at the outhouse by Devils Garden. Law enforcement had no option but to catch it in a 5-gallon bucket and relocate it, but not before stirring up a lot of commotion.

Then a park ranger came upon a dad with a butterfly net dropping a just-caught lizard into his daughter’s terrarium which she was excitedly holding for him. The ranger’s “What just happened here?” turned into a sullen grudging release of the lizard by dad and a teachable moment for the little girl when the ranger helped her cipher what would happen if every visitor took a lizard. No law enforcement ranger was available, so no ticket was given. The dad was very lucky.

Long-nosed Leopard Lizard -- freed!

Next, a visitor brought a camera into the Visitor Center, with a photo of a pick-up truck with California plates and a cooler in the back. The truck owner had caught a lizard and put dirt and lizard into the cooler. By now we were pretty upset at the utter disregard for wildlife, and the photo was blown up, printed out, and law enforcement sent out to find (and ticket) the person.

Half hour later, our man found the truck and looked into the cooler in the back. My second-favorite lizard of all time was in there. The owner pleaded ignorance of the law (that one works real well, doesn’t it?) and his wife started saying “Robert, I TOLD you not to catch that reptile! Now look what you’ve done!”etc etc… so our law enforcement guy backed off of the $500 fine for harassing wildlife and instead gave him a $125 fine for some lesser infraction. To him, the wife’s ill will was a steep price to pay. He made the man let the lizard go, at which moment his children all waved and shouted, “Goodbye, Sprinkles!” thus confirming that he was capturing the reptile for a pet. I wanted the $500 fine to stand.

People. Really. Don’t be so outrageous.

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