Tag Archives: chester moore

Desperate Measures Needed to Save Tigers

The clocking is ticking toward extinction for tigers.

All subspecies of Panthera tigris are critically low and with the threats like habitat loss and poaching for the traditional medicines on the upswing, radical action must be taken.

And it must be taken now.

All measures taken to help tigers in the wild have failed so it’s time to try some things that will certainly (and have in some cases) ruffle feathers and might seem far-reaching.

The fact is with less than 3,000 tigers throughout all of Asia the far reach is the only one left.

The following are some ideas that need serious examination and thought from those interested in seeing this great cat saved from nonexistence.

#Island Tiger Preserves-There are enough small to medium uninhabited islands scattered throughout distant areas of the Pacific to create tiger preserves that would not be cost effective for poachers to hit. Many of these islands have populations of wild pigs and could be stocked with abundant deer. Problem tigers (human and livestock killers) could be recaptured and place on these islands with the idea of setting it with just enough male/female ratio to create a breeding population. In some cases that might be two tigers but if two can breed and raise young in the wild, then we’re gaining ground.

tiger charge (2)

#Pick a Species-If several large conservation organizations could pick one subspecies of tiger and focus on a moon mission sized goal of purchasing X amount of acres of critical habitat and accompanying that with full time scientific staff and game wardens then we might be able to rally the troops enough to keep a solid gene pool going for a particular variety. Small efforts by large, well-funded organizations could go to one huge project with smaller groups taking up smaller needs and other varieties.

#Rewilding-It has already been tried with limited success but at some point rewilding captive tigers needs addressed. The Island Tiger Preserve project might be a way to accomplish this but if tiger viability will go beyond 2025, rewilding will have to be a part of the process.

#Zoo, Private & Sanctuary Cooperation-The captive gene pool of tigers must be analyzed from the biggest zoos to private owners. Cut all of the political mess out of the way and take personal opinion of sanctuary and personal ownership around the world and get real-the gene pool is getting narrower and captive populations could be part of the solution.

All things must be on the table if we are to save what I consider the most beautiful creature God created. We’ll be talking about the great cats frequently in 2015 and tiger conservation will be an important part of that.  Conservation means the wise use of resources and now the wisest thing we can do about tigers is throw preconceived notions out the window and make some things happen.

Sound desperate?

It is.

We’re a generation away from the old “lions, tigers and bears…” saying missing a key component.

Chester Moore, Jr.

The Wildlife Journalist?

“I’m the wildlife journalist.”

The term just kind of rolled off my tongue as I walked up to the scene of an unusual depredation of captive feral hogs.

A cougar was the suspect but I ruled that out quickly. Maybe we’ll delve into this old story later on.

Everyone from law enforcement to nearby ranchers were there and after introducing myself and getting that “Who is this long-haired guy with the camera?” look, I said, “I’m the wildlife journalist”.

cropped-chester-and-pappy-1.jpg

Everyone kind of nodded and the investigation continued.

Freud was a weirdo so I hesitate to call it a “Freudian Slip” but maybe it was. I have done many things in the field of journalism and in reality “wildlife journalist” is the best description.

I have (and continue) to work in the fishing and hunting industry as an editor. I have published more than 5,000 articles on various wildlife subjects and somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 photos since I began my career in 1992 at the ripe old age of 19.

I have conducted more than 300 lectures on topics ranging from red wolves to sharks in venues as diverse as Nurnberg, Germany to Dallas, TX.

And I have produced two television programs and appeared on Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Destination America, The Outdoors Channel and numerous regional networks.

All of that work has been based on getting a story. All of it has involved investigating, interviews, photography and a passion for wildlife and wildlife conservation that just won’t quit.

“Wildlife Journalist” just sort of fits.

baby-jag-1 baby-jag-chester

What this site will bring to the table is everything ranging from unique wildlife photos to investigations of animal mysteries and interviews with the top experts and legends in the field.

This will be the only place for my wildlife blogging. The articles posted here will be exclusives and it will always be fun.

It’s an honor and privilege to communicate with wildlife lovers around around the world and I look forward to taking that to new levels beginning now.

I’d love to hear from you and will periodically answer questions at this venue. In addition, we love to see your wildlife photos and videos.

In a little way all of us with a cell phone can be wildlife journalists of sorts these days by capturing those incredible moments in the field and on the water.

Stay inspired and God bless!

Adventures lie ahed…

Chester Moore, Jr.

Monster hogs lurking in southern cities? Pt. 1

Are feral hogs the new coyote?

In other words, have they become the latest large wild creature living quite cozily within the city limits of the largest cities in the nation?

The answer is “yes”.

Right now there are sizable feral hog populations Dallas-Forth Worth and Houston in my home state of Texas and also around Baton Rouge, La. and a number of sizable metro areas in Florida.

12240038_1025376730826916_1921856001549398984_n
Photo submitted by Timothy Soli.

I believe what we are about to see is cities harboring some absolutely monster-sized hogs.

In the past I have written and lectured on what I call “Monster Hogs”  which are any weighing more than 500 pounds. Such animals are few and far between but some of our cities offer all of the right ingredients to make it happen.

There is adequate habitat, food and cover  and large boars in particular which tend to be solitary are great at remaining hidden. They may in fact possess more “intelligence” than any wild animal in North America.

Add to this a lack of hunting pressure.

Photo submitted by Tyler Clines.
Photo submitted by Tyler Clines.

Hogs are popular with hunters and in fact, have superseded whitetail deer as the most harvested animal in Texas with a whopping 750,000 new killed annually according to Texas AgriLife.  Louisiana and Florida also support a huge hog hunting culture.

The fact that firing guns in city limits is a no-no will give hogs with monster genes the opportunity to live to maximum potential.

This is where it will get interesting.

Sightings will be elusive but these creatures will be seen perhaps in schoolyards near children or eating Fifi” the poodle as granny takes it for a stroll in the park.

We are fielding increasing reports from shocked citizens seeing normal-sized hogs in greenbelts and suburbs but how will the public react to seeing a boar just shy of average grizzly proportions(600 pounds) strolling down main street?

More to come…

Chester Moore, Jr.

 

Have you ever seen a cottonmouth do this?

The cottonmouth is the most feared snake of the American South.

With a reputation for a short temper, this stout pit viper often flashes the white of its mouth to say “Don’t Tread On Me”.

Wise people don’t.

I have dealt with cottonmouths on hundreds of occasions and actually found some of them to be quite docile but the one in this photo was not.

img_2739

At all!

It rose up about a foot of the ground in an almost cobra-like stance. Actually it was sort of a cross between a western diamondback rattlesnake’s “s” position and a cobra.

The snake in question is the biggest I have ever worked with and is nearly four feet in length.

Another interesting thing about this particular snake is that unlike most cottonmouths I have worked with, it did not want to maintain its position and lash out. It lunged at me while conducting the photo shoot and kept advancing forward.

One of the things that continually amazes me about the amazing creatures the Lord graced us with is individuality. Most people, including those into wildlife, look at snakes as all one in the same. A snake is a snake is a snake…or something like that.

In reality there are vast differences among individuals in a population and also from region to region. The cottonmouths I encounter in the Pinewoods of East Texas do not tend to be as aggressive as the ones along the Texas coast.

In addition it is virtually impossible to get those I find along the Interstate 12 corridor in East Texas/Southwest Louisiana to show their white mouth while the ones just north and south of there do it frequently.

One of the intriguing things as a journalist pursuing wildlife is that we cannot interview them like I might a wildlife biologist so we spend as much time in the field as possible shooting photos and videos to capture a profile of a given species.

Chester Moore, Jr.

The great white buffalo!

 

A beautiful herd of longhorn cattle made their way across a bluebonnet covered meadow.

Walking down a trail from an oak thicket, one particularly massive bull stopped and glared at us so I felt obliged to jump out of the truck and shoot photos.

We were at YO Ranch Headquarters near Mountain Home in Kerr County and had just completed granting a “Wild Wish” for a little boy named Amos who got to encounter a giraffe and many other exotic animals at the legendary ranch.

“Wild Wishes” is a program that grants exotic animal encounters to kids who have a terminal illness or have lost a parent or sibling.

Amos and two other wish kids who accompanied us followed me and another chaperone out to photograph the massive bull when we noticed something in the bushes. Hiding under the shade of a live oak was a massive bison. The longhorns were cool but this was awesome!

This thing was easily in the 2,000 pound range and gave us a real thrill as buffalos were the topic of conversation riding down the road. “Wild Wishes” grants exotic animal encounters for children who have lost a parent or sibling or who have a terminal illness and to think that the Lord granted us this chance to see such an amazing animal together was humbling to say the least.

Then it got better.

From behind another tree stood up something big and white. At first it looked like a bull but when it turned around chills ran up and down my spine. This was no bull. It was a white buffalo.

The Great White Buffalo!

As I snapped photos, the majestic bison looked us square in the eye and then retreated into the oaks as we stood blown away.

buffalo-2

All three of the kids knew about the legend of the white buffalo and its importance to Native American culture and so did I of course. And I could not help but sing a chorus of my friend Ted Nugent’s “The Great White Buffalo”.

We had no idea such a creature existed on the huge ranch and would not have seen it if we had not decided to pull over and photograph the longhorns.

I have no question the Lord had His hand on this encounter and so did the kids who were excited beyond measure. They had seen something that until then only seemed like a legend.

I have had many incredible wildlife encounters and this one ranks right up there with seeing great whites in the Pacific. This was a lifelong dream come true and I got to share it with three very special kids and a friend who is as big a buffalo fan as I am.

Part of my love of bison comes from knowing their tragic history and the great conservation efforts that saved them.

According to the Texas Bison Association, Bison were hunted in various ways. Before the Indians rode horseback, they would encircle the herd with tribe members on foot. By getting the animals to mill within the ring they formed, Indians were able to fire large volleys of arrows into the herd until they downed an adequate number of animals.”

“In the 16th Century, when horses were acquired by the Plains Indians, bison hunting became easier. The Indians used other methods to harvest the mighty buffalo: stampeding herds over a cliff, driving the animals into a large natural trap, or into bogs or blind canyons. The most famous hunting technique was the “horse surround.” Several hundred riders would form semicircles on two sides of the herd, then move in until they created a circle around its entirety. As pressure was applied by the oncoming riders, the bison would begin to get confused, start milling and eventually stampeded into a frenzied milling mass. At this point, riders would move in and begin the slaughter with showers of arrows or plunging lances.”

Then came wholesale slaughter of bison by European settlers that was as much to wipe out the Plains tribes that relied on them as it was to sell bison parts. What was once a herd of millions was reduced to less than 1,000 by the late 1800s.

According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, legendary rancher Charles Goodnight started the remnants of the herd on his JA Ranch in the Texas Panhandle in 1878, in attempts to save the animals that had meant so much to him.

“It was actually his wife that influenced the cattle and business tycoon to preserve them, before they disappeared, so that future generations might be able to see and appreciate these special creatures.”

“Somehow, against the odds, a herd of genetic-related Southern bison have managed to survive the decades since, and now, we all benefit from the Goodnights’ vision. When the bison were initially donated to TPWD and moved to Caprock Canyons State Park in 1997, it was discovered that their DNA was different, and feature genetics that are not shared by any other bison in North America. In fact, the Official Texas State Bison Herd at Caprock represents the last remaining examples of the Southern Plains variety.”

Now YO Ranch Headquarters and other ranches proudly raise bison and they are flourishing right here in the Lone Star State on private land and at Caprock Canyons State Park. Without ranchers and hunters, there would likely be no bison today.

As we walked back to the trucks, the moms, grandmas and dads were excited for the kids (and this big kid) who just encountered something special.. They got to see all of this go down but one thing they did not see were its eyes.

We started into the eyes of the white buffalo.

None of us may ever be the same.

We locked eyes with a legend.

Chester Moore, Jr.

Chased by Chupacabra

The dim moonlight illuminated the trees just enough to make out the edge of the forest. A strange sense of forebode overcame me as I gazed into the blackness.

As I neared a crossroads, something jumped out of the ditch and made its way through the tall grass. Standing about 20 inches at the shoulder, the creature had large, erect ears and pale, gray skin.
Perhaps, I had finally encountered the legendary “chupacabra”.

I have maintained the “chupacabras” seen on many video clips and photos shared on social media are coyotes or foxes with a very bad case of mange.

chupa 2
The mysterious canine enshrouded in the shadows. (Photo by Chester Moore, Jr.)

However, as I pulled over, grabbed my flashlight and ran to the woods edge, my rational explanation wasn’t resonating. I was alone, without a gun, on a dark, country road and looking for a “chupacabra”.

To top things off my flashlight was dying and so was my cell phone.

Sounds like a good start for a horror movie, doesn’t it?

As I pressed toward the woodline, a nasty growl came my direction. Followed by aggressive barks, I could tell there was a canine not happy with my presence. I inched a little closer and could make out a set of blue eyes illuminated by my dim flashlight. A creepy silhouette of a thin animal with tall ears peaking from a behind the tree looking at me, hit my curiosity factor so I moved closer.

At this point, the animal moved and started barking again. Aggressive barks.

It was time for me to go. I may be curious but I am not stupid.

I returned this morning slowly cruising alone the road as a thin layer of mist on the ground began to dissipate.

And about 50 yards from where I left it the night before was the mysterious animal. I quickly shot a few photos with my cell phone as it stood silhouetted in the forest. I could only make out the shape until it moved into an open patch of light.

I could see that it was a dog (mutt) of some sort with short hair that was coming off in large patches. It even had a tiny collar on.

If coyotes and foxes make up the bulk of “chupacabra” sightings, now the domestic dog can join the ranks.

“Chupacabras” are not monsters. They are simply sick animals and in this case I have feeling it was a sick animal dumped off in the woods so the owners would not have to deal with it. Either that or it escaped from somewhere and made a long haul to this stretch of road.

I doubt that though as it hung around the same spot I saw it last night. That’s a sign of an abandoned dog.

I knew what I was looking at was a canine of some sort all along but how many people would be able to tell during a brief sighting under the moonlight?

In this case the “chupacabra” was more like Frankenstein’s monster than some sort of evil being from beyond as some bloggers claim. It’s circumstance was at least partially man-made and it was just doing what it had to do to stay alive.

In this case I was the like the angry mob that drove the monster to the windmill, only with a flashlight instead of a torch. I did however back off and let nature take its course.

After all, Frankenstein’s monster fought back and I had no desire to end up bitten by a chupacabra-one wearing a collar or not.

Chester Moore, Jr.