We're hoping to be able in some way to contribute to Jim's defense, but we want to wait a few days to see if a clearer picture of this incident develops.
For balance, here is Jim Stevenson's response:
Subject: what actually happenedFrom: Jim Stevenson
This will be cryptic in some areas because there is an open case that my
attorneys would appreciate me keeping my big mouth shut about. But maybe I can
get the point across if I am careful.
I can share a quick bird-related story.
Tuesday night about 9pm, as all states other than Virginia and Montana had been
decided, I hopped in my van, with no camera, binoculars or "anything," to drive
the San Luis Pass beach (as some of you know I like to do). I saw an
There was a feral cat (miles from any house), out in the upland dunes, creeping
up on three Snowy and two Piping Plovers, and several Sanderlings. The animal
was obviously crippled (as also reported by the toll booth worker), but still
came fairly close to one of the Piping Plovers. I couldn't believe how tame and
approachable it was to the cat.
I finally got out and attempted to apprehend the cat with a towel from the back
on the van. It's never easy, and the closer I got (kinda chasing it), the more
wary it got. I finally gave up.
I saw this cat the next morning, as I did my weekly count of SLP birds. I will
say that the only two people within a mile or so of me were up on top of a
concrete bridge, out of sight (and vice versa), and inside the booth with
extremely thick (shall we say "bullet proof"?) glass.
There were other cats just laying around that I probably could have hit with a
ping pong ball, but this particular one began limping off, with levied ground
directly behind it. Photographing it perfectly would have been tough, with its
It is well documented that predators that are cripple often rely on the easiest
prey possible, such as wounded lions and tigers that have taken unfortunate
people. I believe this was the case here, and I was very concerned about how
many Endangered, Threatened and SSC individuals would succumb to it.
That was Wednesday morning, and life hasn't been terrific since.
I had about 35 posts from well-wishers, 47 phone calls, and two notes on my
door, when I got back after two difficult days. I really appreciate that (OK,
two were quite negative), as I did the many offers of help, but I agree that
this matter should cease on Texbirds. The offers of help are appreciated and
I find the issue of respect for life as challenging as any. I say this as
someone who catches Cottonmouths on my property by hand and releases them
unharmed in wilderness areas, someone who replaced a shotgun with a camera
years ago, thus bringing on his dad's ire, and someone who just shed tears over
the passing of Ed Bradley. Maybe I'm just real tired.
The ethical dilemma is pitting the life on one cat against the dozens or
hundreds of small, wild animals it will kill in its (short) lifetime. And
piggybacked on that is the "real" cruelty of the death they normally receive,
from starvation to disease. Study after study reveals this. For me, it is
clear, though I am by no means immune to the emotional, while trying to hide in
pure logic, science and pragmatism.
BTW, apparently there are others with similar views (and actions) who've been
down at San Luis Pass.
I hope that clears up things as much as I dare.
Jim in Muggy Galveston