By Charles Towne

Ahh, another beautiful day in Central Florida!

This morning as I took my walk I saw a possum.  I don’t know what his name was; just that he was a possum. 

My little possum friend was out for a morning stroll as I was, meandering along licking the dew from the grass, and though I was sure that possums do this I was pleased to see it.

The thought came to me that all too often, fascinating creature that he is, possums are considered nothing more than vermin, or walking road kill, and of little value to be destroyed with little consequence and little if any thought or consideration. 

Sad, yes, so sad.
 There is not a creature on the face of the earth that is not in danger of being negatively impacted by that greatest of all predators, man. 

It is obvious to me that the law of immanent domain is still alive and well.  

”If it does not serve a direct beneficial purpose to man than it must not be good for anything, so kill it!”  

That little possum deserves to be protected as do the rest of Papa God’s wild creatures.

Man has been given a wonderful responsibility and opportunity, that of caretaker and protector of nature and yet how much of our impact has been, if not indifferent, then downright destructive.

Here in central Florida the most desirable land is adjacent to water and the cost of waterfront property soars.  The next most sought after property is woodland.
 This in its own right seems benign, harmless. Who wouldn’t enjoy a home set in such beautiful surroundings?
 But, and herein lies the rub;  The threat to wildlife is rarely given little more than lip service if it is considered at all.

  The land is considered valuable but the creatures that have called it home are nothing more than a nuisance, a threat.
  Take the alligator for example. He is seen swimming or sunning himself on the shore and the homeowner calls the authorities and the alligator is removed to be turned into belts, wallets and shoes.
  You might say, “so what, it’s just an alligator!” 
But isn’t nature to be protected?

What about the Florida black bear? 

A bear is sighted in someone’s back yard and again the “powers” that be are called. 

Contrary to what you are told the bear is not transported to another, safer area… no, he is killed out of hand as a nuisance animal.

There is no place in Florida, and that includes the Ocala National Forest where a bear can be transported where he will not be able to migrate back to his home range in a short period of time therefore the state has adapted the rule, “if it is a nuisance bear it is a dead bear.  “
Where does that end? With extinction? Believe me when I say, all bears have the potential of being “nuisance” bears? I ask again, where does it end? When there are no more bears?

Isn’t it time for people to be informed, to be told that their call to the authorities is essentially a death sentence for the animal in question.

There are many people who see little or no value in any of the wild animal. 

I listened recently as a boat owner complained about the no wake laws protecting the manatees on the St. John’s River. To him the manatee is no more than a hindrance to him and all boaters. 
Is that the way all of nature is to be treated, as of little worth, no more than a nuisance, to be destroyed? 

Bury the gopher tortoises in their burrows so we can have more paved parking lots.  Kill off all the snakes because we all know that everybody hates snakes!

Soon, altogether too soon, we will one day step outside and be greeted by silence.  There will be no bird songs, there will be no threat of any creature other than our own kind, and it seems we are darned well doing our best to eliminate that threat.

The right to live must start with the premise and the belief that there is also a right and an obligation to let live.

An outdoorsman’s prayer

Dear God, please help us.  We don’t seem to care for anything beyond the moment.  Help us to realize the value of all life in a time when it seems that life has little or no value at all. 

When are we going to open our hearts as well as our eyes to the world around us?  Poor little people, poor sad little minded people, poor sad, ignorant little people.  Help us God, to be aware of the fragility of all life, and open our minds and hearts to the needs of all the others.  We have the way, but it seems we are lacking the will. Yes, help us, inspire us. Thank you. In Jesus’ wonderful and Holy name. Amen.

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. A thought provoking article, I am reminded of something I once heard long ago, that the true measure of a person is how they treat someone they know will never return a kindness, never say thanks, never pay them back, or maybe it is better said in the Good Book, “as you have done for the least of these….” Please protect me Father from thinking I am the only important creation of yours!

  2. Richard my friend, I read once that a man’s salvation could very well be determined according to how he treats others. And that includes the creatures he is entrusted with. I am prone to agree. Bless you my friend, Chaz

  3. I am with you 100% on this! I wish everyone felt this way. The future of our furry critters we share this beautiful state with scares me. This article needs greater recognition to raise awareness. Any ideas?

  4. Dear NH, placing the issue in front of as many readers as we can is one thing but that is just a tiny single facet of the greater problem. Let it began with me, not just with nature but with all of creation. Let us remember that all creatures deserve to be treated with dignity and love. Henry David Thoreau said it very well: “Every creature is better alive than dead, men moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve it’s life than destroy it.” Bless you dear friend, Chaz

  5. Chuck Who do I Call to REMOVE nusance HUMANS ? lol. Having grown up in the Woods I can tell you I am more at. Peace in the Widernes than I am in many places in Orlando , Thanks for Remining us Humans of our often ignored AROGANCE !

  6. Thanks for drawing our attention to the realities of “nuisance” bears. Our poor animal friends, both wild and domesticated ones. Even our pampered pets suffer greatly as a consequence of humanity’s folly. I agree that all creatures are valuable and we should not treat them as an after thought. Thanks for the article.


  8. Kristin, my friend, INTENT IS SO OFTEN WHAT COUNTS. May you be greatly blessed always, yours in friendship always, chaz

  9. This article touches on a seriously important subject, that unfortunately isn’t brought out into the open often enough. I love animals, but had no idea that a “nuisance” is not relocated as we have been told on the news. That makes my heart sick to know that just because they wandered into “human territory” probably looking for food, they will be killed. With so much building going on, they are constantly having their living spaces destroyed and taken from them.
    Thank you, Chuck, for opening our eyes wide to this sad problem.
    We need to remember it is our responsibility to respect and protect all of God’s creatures.
    God bless you.

  10. Dear CSG, SAD AS IT MAY APPEAR THERE IS NO EASY SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM. It is no small thing to destroy, or take life from those that have been entrusted to our care. Yes, you are correct, it is a serious subject, and there is not an easy solution. Only as men are moved by compassion, and not greed and lust fo power will a solution be found. Bless you my friend, Chaz

  11. You are so right. He who does not appreciate nature and all that G-D has bestowed upon mankind has lost the greatness of being alive. Progress has always been a killer of animals and habitat.

  12. As Mr. Towne correctly states, There are only two things that will keep bears from attempting to return to their home range, one is a large body of water, the other is a mountain range, and we have neither in Florida. A friend

  13. Herbert, right you are my friend! I thank God for giving me parents that taught me to love and really appreciate all of creation. May God hold you close, Chaz

  14. Great and fantastic Article my Dear Bro Charles !!! Like EJ commented … Talking about nuisance and molesting animals, do we have “to disappear” the nuisance human beings too ? It’s a question on the table … For animals who lives wild, man lives with some privileges … So like we’ve been talked of the end of the world, man is killing animals and also their own species … FOR NOTHING !!! Revenge, Hate, Religious, mental diseases, etc.
    We need to keep going to preserve our characters in the meaning of protect all creaturea in this beautiful and Blessed place. GOD Bless Us !!!

  15. Leo, my friend and my brother, thank you for the thoughtful comment. May Papa God bless you and keep you and yours close to His heart, Chaz

  16. What a Coincidence Charles !!! I’ve been watching a serie for the planet and thinking how long we gonna have “This House” with all miracles that GOD sent us. But I think soon we’re loosing nature, and all ‘treasures’, so later on we’ll fight each other to survive … We just need to keep and safe everything in this planet and enjoy the rest from those years that Earth would survive.
    GOD protectes us.


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