Hold onto those balloons

OK, whose metallic balloon is impaled on one of San Joaquin County’s largest and arguably most charismatic wild animals?

Photo by Kate Connolly

Mark Connolly sent me this image — taken on Wednesday by his daughter, Kate, at the family’s ranch off Corral Hollow Road near Tracy.

The family has harbored tule elk there for many years. It’s a remote corner of the county, but not remote enough, it would seem, to avoid contact with someone’s Valentine’s Day crap.

(Full disclaimer: I bought a metallic balloon for my wife last week, but it’s safely stowed inside of our home.)

“It demonstrates why Mylar balloons are not good environmentally, although they do make a colorful antler decoration,” Mark Connolly wrote in an email.

He believes the balloon blew up to his ranch from the Carnegie off-road vehicle area or even from cities further west, like Livermore or San Jose. Indeed, it was pretty windy in the wake of Tuesday’s storm.

Who knows how the balloon became stuck on the antler of this young bull elk.

“He was more irritated than upset,” Connolly said of the elk. “Eventually it will rip and come off.”

Perhaps it will help him with the ladies?

“I don’t think the cow elk will find him more attractive,” Connolly wrote.

We can joke about this, I guess, but these balloons are a real problem. Every year before Valentine’s Day or other holidays the folks at PG&E issue a press release asking the public to keep their metallic balloons under control, lest they come in contact with power lines and spark outages.

It happened in Stockton on Halloween 2011 — one-half hour after the utility issued its public warning.

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  • Blog Author

    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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