This is going to be weird. On the eve of what’s certainly the most crucial election this country’s faced in my lifetime, I’m leaving. Well, not outta the country so much, just off the mainland to Santa Cruz Island.
I’m part of a short-notice trip arranged for a small group of Los Angeles Zoo volunteers who were essentially able to drop everything and spend the next four days roughing it and building pens that will help establish a breeding colony of the Channel Island’s endangered island fox. Believe it or not that house-cat sized bundle of adorability on the right is the top terrestrial predator over on Santa Cruz Isle, but is flirting with extinction thanks primarily to non-endemic golden eagles. Beyond helping save a species, the neato part is that we get to explore closed-to-the-public lands and shack up in a 120-year-old ranch house in the island’s central valley thanks to The Nature Conservancy.
The somewhat last-minute nature of the trip left me scrambling for (and getting and completing and mailing last week) an absentee ballot, and as I sit here at this later hour going over my packing list I’m left with the strange feeling as if I’m running away from the battle. Sure, the day before, the day of, the day after, and another after Election 2004, my ass is going to be about as isolated as one can be while only being 20 miles away from civilization. But given how gaggy the fever-pitch rhetoric is making me, getting away from all of it sounds mighty fine.
Rumor is there’s mobile phone signal to be found in the higher elevations of the isle. If so, I’ll try to send some phonecam pix of the project to the Zoo’s Buzznet page.