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November 25, 2009

The St. Vincent Wildlife Preserve

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Produced by: Rob Diaz de Villegas
Original Air Date: November 25, 2009

When I read that I could only get to the St. Vincent Wildlife Refuge by boat, I got really interested in the assignment. Without that bridge, the island is isolated and more likely to be truly wild. That's a rare thing. But even the relative wildness of the island was just part of its story. I had roughly six minutes to tell it all, and to show what we did there, so some things were left out.
One thing I ended up leaving out was that the island had evidence of inhabitation as early as 200 AD, and that archeologists would be back soon to dig (that might also make an interesting segment or program. Hmmm...). We did talk about Dr. Ray Pierce and some of the exotic animals he stocked the island with, and how the island came into the possession of the Fish and Wildlife Service, and we tracked wolves. There are two red wolves roaming the island, and hopefully they will meet one day and produce a litter of wolf-pups. We were always listening for the beeps from their radio collars.
We never saw the wolves. I say that so you don't feel cheated when you watch the video. We did see plenty of other animals. If we had shot this just two days earlier, we were told, we would have seen a bear on the beach across from the Indian Pass boat ramp. And that's the thing about wild. There are no scheduled performances, no guarantees about what you will see. That's part of what differentiates this from a zoo, part of the attraction for someone seeking something wild. And, unless you are there for a scheduled hunt, you are unlikely to see many, if any, people.
The refuge is in the process of writing up its Comprehensive Conservation Plan. This plan will define the direction of the island starting in 2012. If you have an opinion on this, or are just interested in any upcoming events for the Refuge, you can visit their official web

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