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Newspaper Archive of
The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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February 8, 2013     The Catalina Islander
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February 8, 2013
 

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Nature Notebook: Catalina Bison have become synonymous with Catalina Island, but they are not native to the Island and local plants long ago lost their natural defenses against big grazing animals, Public domain art DESCANSO Enjoy Sunday Brunch at Deseanso Beach Club in one-of our cabanas. Enjoy complimentary boR'omless dmnpag Rmavatiom per person Are you a writer, or would like to be one for the Catalina Islander? The paper is seeking to expand its editorial horizons. New reporters and guest columnists are welcome. For more information, contact the Islander editor at editor@thecatalinaislander.com or call (310) 510-0500. bison and a remarkable journey through time BY FRANK HEIN The Catalina Island Conser- vancy's and other records suggest Catalina is an "'oceanic" Is- that the bison population had in- land meaning that it has never creased to 400 animals by 1969, been connected to the mainland, and then further grew to a likely Anything that lives here had to all-time high of about 524 animals arrive by wind, wing or wave, or, in 1987. was brought by people. With many individuals weigh- Fourteen American bison were ing in at over a thousand pounds, reportedly brought to Catalina in the bison took a toll on the native 1924 for the making of the Zane plants by trampling and compact- Grey film "The Vanishing Ameri- ing soil. can" Keep in mind that the largest After all that effort, the footage native grazer on Catalina is the of the bison didn't make the final Catalina California ground squir- cut, and they do not appear in the rel, with a head about the size of movie, a walnut. When filming was completed, The plants on Catalina lost the production company left the most of their defenses to big graz- animals behind, ers a long, long time ago. Though pickings were slim dur- Big animals tend to have other ing the hot, dry summers, the ani- " big impacts too. mals survived on limited grasses, Wallows--muddy, dusty places crunchy coastal scrub and a mix of where bison like to roll to cool off plants not typically considered as and rid themselves of parasitic in- prime bison forage, sects--became plentiful, creating The herd managed to adapt and bare spots across the landscape increase in number, that can accelerate erosion. In 1934 an additional nine bi- Having 500 non-native bison son were brought to the Island to wandering through Catalina's augment the herd. wildlands just wasn't healthy for In all, a total of 45 animals the ecosystem or the bison. were introduced from different In 1972, the Catalina Island mainland areas. Conservancy took over manage- ment of the bison and began as- sessing the impacts of these (and other) non-native .animals on the landscape. By 2003, more than 1,900 head had been shipped off the Island to auction. But that didn't seem like a fit- ring end for these majestic animals that had by now become an icon of Catalina Island. And so the Conservancy began looking for a better approach. The bison contraception pro- gram on Catalina represents the first time that a new contraceptive drug (PZP) was used on a free- ranging bison herd. While still in its early stages, the apiJroach appears to be work- ing. In the spring of 20111 after the contraception program ramped up, bison births were dramatically re- duced. It is believed that the few births that wilt occur each year should add just enough calves to keep the herd size stable at or near 150 ani- mals. Frank Hein is the Catalina Island Conservancy director of education. Lancers lose C.I.E Committee will decide if Avalon Boys go to playoffs BY STEVE HALL The Avalon Boy Basketball team has gone through a long stretch of tough games in which they have come out on the short end but their season is still not over and they can still enter the playoffs as a wildcard team. On Friday, Jan. 25, the Lancers faced the Fairmont Huskies before a packed house at the Hickey Roh- lik Fieldhouse, Our local Rotary Club and Li- ons Club members were in atten- dance to show their support for our team and to participate in a half- time free-throw shooting contest. Thanks for your support. Avalon Lancers 2012 Boys Basketball team and coach Steve Hall. Courtesy photo Both teams played fabulous This loss cost the Lancers an basketball throughout the game. automatic playoff bid and took Fairmont controlled the first them out of third place. Poor re- half but Avalon came alive in the bounding cost the Lancers again. second half and had the crowd re- This has been an issue throughout ally going until the end. Unfortu- the season. Alvarez and Hernan- nately, Avalon came up short and dez were the scoring leaders, but it lost 72-68 in a hard fought battle wasn't enough. for the ages. On Saturday, Feb. 2, the Lanc- Avalon was led by Edgar A1- ers faced Eastside Christian in varez with 21 points, Gabe Her- their last regular season home nandez with 19 points and Danny game. Jimenez with 17 points. Fairmont Our five graduating seniors Prep, just like Saddleback Valley were honored before the game for Christian, has become part of the their dedication and commitment newest trend in small schools bas- to Avalon Basketball. ketball, which involves the'recruit- Their behavior and perfor- ment of taller, more talented play- mance--on the court, in the class- ers to their school, room and around town--has been It puts Avalon at a disadvantage exceptional. since we're not able to recruit, but They are a fine class of indi- we'll just have to step up to the viduals who have represented their plate and play better basketball in school and their community in a order to compete, commendable manner. On Saturday, Jan. 26, the Lanc- Many thanks go out to Edgar ers faced Fairmont again and the Alvarez, Gabe Hernandez, Isaac result was the same. Rios, Daniel Paradisi and Jose It was another great game but Cervantes, as well as their families Avalon was out-rebounded at both for the support and good times we ends of the court and once again have shared. came out on the short end of a 65- It has been a wonderful experi- 63 score, ence working with your kids. Edgar Alvarez had 19 points Our future is now in the hands and Daniel Paradisi had 13 points of the C.I.F. Selection Committee and 7 rebounds. David Castro was and we will find out our playoff fate a force on the defensive end of the on Sunday, Feb. 10. In the mean- court as well. time we travel to the mainland on On Tuesday, Jan. 29, Avalon Friday, Feb. 8, to face Verbum Dei faced Capistrano Valley Christian High School. Stay tuned, in an important league contest and unfortunately Avalon lost another Steve Hall is coach of the Ava- close game 49-42. lon Lancers. 8 ~ Friday, February 8, 2013 THE CATALINA ISLANDER