Archives for June 2008

Urban Wildlife: Who are you gonna call?

Above: American Black Bear in Fawnskin, California

There seems to be some confusion as to who has jurisdiction over animals in an urban setting near wildlife habitat. The recent wildfires have shrunk local habitat and so animals are turning up in record numbers in the local area–and someone left a message about the bear over in the TwentyNine Palms area.

As this article states, the heat is unbearable and up here we are seeing animals seeking water in areas they would most likely avoid and during abnormal times.

In most cases you need to start with a phone call to Animal Control. Sometimes they get the moniker of Animal Services. They have the local numbers they need to call for assistance if they cannot handle the situation.

In our area we have the Fish & Game Warden for crimes against wildlife or violations of law concerning wildlife.

In addition, we have Forestry biologists who monitor the animals and a Fish & Game Biologist that handles nuisance animals.

It can get a little confusing especially since we also have the Bureau of Land Management–who handles animals in the areas under their jurisdiction.

If the animal is an escaped critter from a captive facility–well then add the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to the mix.

Are you shaking your head yet? Try figuring it out if you live in an area with ALL of these agencies–like I do.

Wild animals in general should be left alone. If the critters are becoming urban dwellers–or urban exploiters–it is time to get some professional help.

Start with Animal Control and they will handle the rest and call in the agency needed.

Please remember that rescue groups, humane societies, and small wildlife rehabilitation centers do not have jurisdiction (in most cases) and most will not have the skill set or equipment for dealing with large predators.

If you call the police or sheriff, in most case they will shoot the animal in question if they feel it is a public safety threat.

For the bear’s sake, keep your distance and avoid any interactions. While you are at it, pull up any outdoor food and water sources for birds, other wildlife, and those for your pets.

Do you have a comment about this topic? Leave it below.

Filming in Los Angeles

Above: Michael Hoff Productions Project Team (Left to Right) Back Row: Brett Rodney (Camera) & Aaron Sonego (Sound/Audio). Front Row: Blue Bonilla (Associate Field Producer), Diana L Guerrero (Talent), Kristen Marcinkowski (Production Assistant). Not pictured Gary Simpson (Series Producer).

So yesterday was a perpetual day as I headed down to Los Angeles to film a few segments for a couple of shows in production with Michael Hoff Productions.

As I drove away from the clear, clean skies and glimmering lake here in the mountains of Southern California and down into the smog and heat of the Inland Empire, I was amazed to find little traffic until I hit the Los Angeles area.

I’ve been filmed for a lot of different segments for both news and entertainment shows throughout the years. This team contacted me back in April (actually on my birthday) about an animal show. When they contacted me again–last week I was pleasantly surprised.

Last week proved to be an interesting one–and the day I received the call another production team called right after I hung up the phone–followed by a national magazine.

Nice to be in demand!

The production crew was delightful–and the conditions were comfortable. They were also an amazing pool of talented professionals. The show(s) will air in August of this year.

If I make the final cuts I’ll let you know the air dates–and once I have permission to release any show details–you can be certain I will let you know that too!

Now, early in my career I worked as a wrangler in the movie and television industry. At the time, conditions were not as good as they are now and I left the field…stepping in behind the scenes periodically when my colleagues requested it, or providing expert comments on breaking news–which I still do.

There were a few times when people sought me for my own show (still get about three calls a year) but if they don’t fit in with the integrity of who I am and what my vision is–I say no.

Over the past few years I’ve also been filmed for a few specials–one of the most miserable was in Los Angeles in severe heat and direct sun. It was a nightmare without any consideration–and so I was happy to to find that this production was a wonderful experience and a direct contrast to my last work in the smog filled city.

Thanks to the crew for their humor and professionalism–they all came with some amazing background credentials…and I certainly hope to see them AND work with them again.

Aaron gets a BIG thank you for the inside scoop on navigating away from the main traffic to get onto the freeways home…during rush hour!