Make your own free website on
September 2001
- Zoo's plan to track West Nile Virus
- Egypt Kills Nigerian Gorilla and Chimpanzee (below)
- Bighorn Sheep Return to Mexico
- Grey Wolf facing loss of endangered status (below)
- Primates lacking permits , drowned at Cario airport
- Whale Fossil shows link to cows
- 2 Hunting preserves may face hunt limits (below)
- Buffalo returned to Fort Peck Reservation
- Monkey Loose in New Hampshire
- Urban Fox Hunt
Egypt Kills Nigerian Gorilla and Chimpanzee
by Jasper Mortimer, Associated Press Writer
Veterinarians drowned a 4-month-old gorilla and a chimpanzee Monday that were flown to Cairo airport from Nigeria without permits for endangered species.
Airport veterinarians said they feared the primates might have carried diseases that could spread. A local wildlife expert condemned the killings as "absolutely appalling."
The veterinarians said they drowned the animals in a container filled with chemicals because of the risk contaminated blood could be spilled if they chose another method.
The gorilla and chimpanzee were brought from Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday by their owner, who said they were her pets, airport officials said. She didn't have a license to take endangered species across international borders, the officials said.
Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, permits are required for the import, export and trade in gorillas, chimpanzees and other endangered species.
Airport officials argued Sunday over what to do with the two primates. Veterinarians wanted to kill the gorilla while wildlife officers wanted to give it to the Giza zoo. The zoo, however, does not have an enclosure for gorillas.
"I'm quite shaken," said Richard Hoath, a wildlife journalist and a fellow of the Zoological Society of London. "They could have kept the gorilla and chimpanzee in quarantine until they found another zoo or country prepared to accept them."
He denounced the way they were killed.
"They could have been put down humanely by injection as happens with a sick dog or cat," Hoath said. "It's not too far from drowning a child; gorillas and chimpanzees are that close to us."
Copyright 2001 Associated Press.
Gray Wolf Facing Loss of 'Endangered' Status
by Jim Kleeman and David Milner
The discovery of a previously unknown pack of endangered gray wolves living near McCall, ID was recently confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Nez Perce Tribe. The discovery is significant because the pack has the 30th known breeding pair of gray wolves, and the process of removing gray wolves from the endangered species list is triggered when 30 breeding pairs are found evenly distributed throughout western Montana, central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming for three successive years.
If 30 or more breeding pairs are found in both of the next two years, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service is assured that state wolf management practices will adequately protect the gray wolf population, Congress could begin to hold hearings on the delisting in 2003. The hearings would involve the taking of testimony from members of the public.
Immediately after the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973, the gray wolf was listed as an endangered species because its population had dwindled to less than 400.
Two years later, the Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Team was formed. It in 1981 completed a recovery plan, which called for reintroductions on public lands in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. The reintroductions did not immediately take place, however, because of local resistance stemming from concerns about the continued use of the lands for farming and logging.
In 1982, an amendment to the ESA created a "nonessential experimental populations" designation. Populations so designated would be provided less stringent protection by local rather than federal authorities. This provided loggers and farmers with a legal means of shooting "problem wolves."
However, due largely to a lack of support from members of Congress, as well as continued local resistance, the reintroductions didnt take place until 1995. That is when gray wolves were captured in Canada, given extensive veterinary examinations, and then released in both Yellowstone National Park and Idaho.
2 hunting preserves may face hunt limits
Some decry use of wild, exotic animals
By Dana Damico
RALEIGH -- Long overlooked by wildlife officials, two North Carolina hunting preserves that improperly offer hunters the chance to shoot exotic and wild animals could soon have to stop.
Efforts to exempt - at least temporarily - the clubs from a law that prohibits the release of exotic animals and those not indigenous to North Carolina for hunting have stalled in the General Assembly this session, a key legislator said.
Now, animal advocates say that wildlife officials should prohibit the Chestnut Hunting Lodge in Alexander County and the Goldmine Hunting Preserve in Stanly County from offering such hunts.
"It's illegal and I think it's time for the law to start being enforced," said Jack L. Cozort, a lobbyist for the N.C. Network for Animals. "I'm a hunter. This is just not the kind of hunting I would do. I hunt in a way and in areas where the hunted animal has more than an even chance to get away from me."
The Chestnut Hunting Lodge says on its Web site that its hunting area is "two miles of heavy timber and rugged mountain land."
"We give you a good honest hunt," the Web site says. "Not one of those walk out and pop it kind. Here, you can hunt from good tree stands on trails or you can stalk."
The lodge advertises a "hunting price list" that ranges from Spanish goats and trophy boars at $450 each to a four-horn ram at $650. Prices for trophy elk and red stags are "provided on request," according to the site.
The Goldmine Hunting Preserve, established in 1979, offers hunts for Texas Dall, ibex and fallow deer among others.
Rep. Toby Fitch, D-Wilson, a one-time hunter at Goldmine Hunting Preserve, says that exemptions should be made for the two preserves because they operated before 1983 when the state enacted a ban on such hunts. The restrictions followed a national news report that criticized the use of exotic animals in so-called "canned hunts."
"They had a legitimate business," Fitch said. "Now you're saying that business is no longer legitimate? They can't take somebody who made that investment and shut them down. Last time I checked we were in America.
"Nobody's given them any opportunity to buy them out," he said. "So far as I'm concerned it's a taking of a property right without just compensation."
A photograph of Fitch alongside a massive boar - 300 to 400 pounds, he says - hangs on the wall of his legislative office. Fitch shot the animal about eight years ago after what he remembers as a long day.
"I felt like I walked all day," he said. Fitch shot the boar, carried it to the slaughterhouse where the meat was dressed, and asked a taxidermist to mount the head.
Fitch does not consider the hunt unfair. "Everybody goes out there doesn't kill an animal," he said. "I took the animal. I consumed the animal for food. That's no different than somebody selling a pig to a slaughterhouse.
"That hog had a better chance of survival than any pig I have ever consumed at a barbecue house," he said. "I hunted it. I'm not ashamed that I hunted it."
At the request of the two businesses, Fitch has twice promoted legislation that would exempt them from the law.
The businesses sought the legislation, wildlife officials say, about four years ago when the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission - motivated by the growing number of similar hunting preserves - said it planned to start enforcing the ban.
Richard Hamilton of the wildlife commission said that the commission did not enforce the ban earlier for several reasons: The commission was focused on such high priority projects as the reintroduction of the black bear, the hunting does not harm native wildlife, and it is difficult to identify exotic or nonindigenous animals.
Fitch's bill languished in the Senate in 1999 after passing the House. It passed the House again this year and has been debated several times in the Senate committee on agriculture, the environment and natural resources. Under the bill, the two preserves could continue hunts of exotic and wild animals until Oct. 1. Afterward, they could offer only hunts of pigs, sheep and goats.
Cozort's group agreed to the compromise. "Because it was our view," he said, "there would be so few people who wanted to hunt those type of animals, those businesses would fade away."
On Thursday, however, Sen. Charlie Albertson, D-Duplin, the chairman of the committee, said he does not plan to revisit the issue this session. The bill could resurface, however, as legislators wrap up what has been the state's longest legislative session. It could crop up next year.
"I don't like that kind of hunting," Albertson said. "I don't see much sportsmanship about it. This thing has been lingering on for some time. It's not a good situation, and we need to bring closure to it."
Jerry Rushing, the founder of Chestnut Hunting Lodge and a former actor whose credits include the Dukes of Hazzard, said that the state would be "sued for a lot of money" when asked about the issue. "If you confine it, it's not released," he said of the animals. He declined to comment further.
Officials at the Goldmine Hunting Preserve did not return calls for comment.
Hamilton, who said earlier in the week that he wanted to stop the hunting of exotic and non-indigenous animals at the preserves, said yesterday that he would have to consult with the commission's attorneys.
"I'm inclined to think that we won't take any enforcement action until this bill is resolved," he said. "Even if it's next session."
Fitch supports allowing the owners of the two preserves, whom he says "are up in ages," to continue operating their businesses. "Fix it so that when they go, it's over," he said.
Sen. John Garwood, R-Wilkes, whose district includes the Alexander County lodge, said that it is a tricky issue. "It's the man's property. The animals belong to him. He's paying his taxes," Garwood said. "On the other hand, morally in my mind, it's in question because the animals are hemmed in. It's not sport."