Monday, April 27, 2009

Pat Craig says Auto Deductions Saved His Sanctuary

Every day, usually as the sun just starts to break over the distant
prairie that surrounds his Wild Animal Sanctuary near Keenesburg, Pat Craig
makes his rounds.

He chuffs and puffs and talks in his high-pitched, almost squeaky voice, a
voice that doesn't fit a body big enough to wrestle a bear (which,
incidentally, Craig will do). The big cats he's saved from neglect and
outright abuse answer back, in the same pitch, and rub against the cage.

Craig talks to the lions and tigers and bears, and, oh my, he might even
get in the cage with them and toss a ball or stroke their fur. He visits
with the chirping, purring mountain lions and the playful foxes and reserves a
special chunk of his day for Eddy, the black leopard he raised since he
was a cub.

And then, these days, Craig drives down the long, dirt road to his office
to work.

Even just a few years ago, Craig might spend a lot more time with the
animals. It was the favorite part of his 12-hour days. It still is. But that
was before his place nearly died. In fact, it did close briefly, and Craig
pondered the horrible possibility that he would have to put the animals to
sleep.

He knew some changes had to be made, and that meant changing his approach.
He started working in an office instead of a trailer next to the animals.
Then he hired a staff, launched a gift shop and opened the sanctuary to the
public. He even boosted his marketing and advertising. He and Toni
Scalera, director of the sanctuary's board of directors and a close partner
in operations, worked 16-hour days, seven days a week, for three years, and most
of it was in that office.

He'd rather be out there, with the animals. He'd rather shovel manure all
day, honestly.

"My time with the animals is one-tenth of the day now," Craig said. "I
had to become this business guy, and that's not why I did it in the first
place. But I know it makes a difference."

Craig, after all, is grateful to have a place at all. When he started the
sanctuary, he always was able to keep up with all the new additions, but
just barely. It was, at times, month to month. That finally caught up to him
three years ago, when people gave money to the tsunami and Katrina and
forgot about his place. He sent out one plea, and enough donations came to save
his place. Then he grew tired of begging people for money and, after a
long, hard decision, he had close the sanctuary.

Donations, however, came again, and rather than put down the animals and
essentially destroy everything he worked for most of his life, he put in
even more hours than he already was, consulted with experts and came up with a
plan.

He started a program that withdraws donations automatically from his top
givers' credit cards, as if they were paying a cell phone bill. Consistency,
he discovered, was the key to staying open, not large one-time donations,
no matter how generous they were. As a result, more than 50 percent of his
donations now are automatic. That means there's more newsletters and other
stuff to handle, and his mailing list has doubled in the past three years —
he had to hire a staff person just to handle most of that, but it's worth
the trouble.

"It's no longer out of sight, out of mind," Craig said. "That's made
a huge difference. Even if everything else fell off, we wouldn't have to close."

But far beyond that, Craig developed a for-profit mentality for his
nonprofit business. He spent a lot more than he wanted on advertising, such as
billboards along U.S. 85. One year he spent $20,000 on ads, and that irked
some of his board members and longtime donors. It irked him, too.

"I go crazy thinking about what I could do with that $20,000," Craig
said, "but that $20,000 probably brought in $100,000."

He doesn't want to become an attraction, but he did open his place to the
public, allowing people to walk over a bridge to gaze at the tigers nearby
and the lions, wolves and other animals in the distance through binoculars.
When they enter his place, they walk through a gift store. He probably
makes enough in the gift store to cover the costs of running it, but he also
believes that his paid staff, who know the mission of his sanctuary, will
draw in a few more monthly donors, and that brings even more money.

Donations are always needed, and Craig has had longtime donors cut back on
what they give because of the tough economy. Gas prices also hurt him
because all the free bear food he gets from restaurants and grocery stores
isn' t really free — he pays for insurance and gas for volunteers or staff
members to haul the food in large trucks. With new additions to the sanctuary
that is once again steadily growing, trucks arrive all day, like he's a
Walmart or something. He even has to think about chemicals for the tiger pool.

"We used to talk in pounds of food," Craig said. "Now we talk in
pallets."

As for the sanctuary's future, there are a couple of possibilities that
excite him.

One is a tentative alliance with a few zoos. In the past, when zoos needed
new animals to replenish their stock, they would breed or get another zoo
to breed. But lately, Craig has supplied a couple of zoos with animals that
he's adopted for the sanctuary.

Rather than breed a wild animal that isn't used to captivity and only add
to the problem of the captive/wild crisis, why not put one of his creat
ures, who are accustomed to captivity, to good use? The zoo, for instance, was
thrilled with his lion because it interacted with the crowd and seemed to
enjoy the "company" of people, even if, of course, people weren't petting
him or throwing him a ball.

If zoos started accepting more of his creatures, he could rescue more
animals that need to be out of bad situations. There's always other creatures
that need help — Craig still gets calls every day asking for help because
somebody was keeping a tiger in his garage or whatever. Also, Craig could keep
pushing zoos to stop breeding, improve their habitats and provide more
space and resources for the larger animals that need it.

The second is a way to keep his sanctuary alive even after the time comes
when he can no longer do the physically demanding work. It's possible that
his son, Casey, wants to take over the place. He can do everything now. He
leads most of the rescues and can sedate the animals and bring them back,
something only Craig could do at first. Casey also knows a lot about
construction. Those are tools that will only help him down the road, and
that's why Craig, who at first discouraged him, now encourages him to learn as much
as he can.

"He knows way more about this than I did when I was 20, that's for sure,"
Craig said.

But there's just one problem. Casey doesn't want to manage the place.

Craig can relate. Sometimes he longs for the days when it was just him,
his family and his trailer and a few dozen big cats on his property. But he's
come around, and when he does make his rounds in the morning, he knows why.

He rescued 16 bears in the past year from two facilities in Ohio, and they
went right into a new, 15-acre bear habitat, with freshly dug dens, a
water tank and all sorts of fun toys to play with. A few of the bears had never
touched grass before and lived in 400-square-foot cage. When they first
arrived, they lifted their feet off the grass gingerly, as if the tickles
were torture, and they circled around and around, as if they were still
enclosed in the bars.

But a month later, they started to wander around, amazed at the space, and
began to enjoy the grass. And what's this tub of water?

"They finally figured out that they could go in the tank, and pretty soon,
we had all eight bears in one tank," Craig said. "It was just hilarious.
They were partying in it 24 hours a day, and we had to keep refilling it
over and over."

Then he paused.

"That's why we do what we do," he said. "That's why I do what I
do."

On those morning rounds, sometimes he watches those bears horsing around
before he trudges back to his office. He may not have started an animal
sanctuary to sit behind a desk. But he doesn't have to see them all day long
to know they're out there, safe, happy and, most of all, wild.


(http://www.greeleytribune.com/article/20090426/NEWS/904249923/-1/rss07)

--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
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Cats...of all kinds, on planes


From the outside, you'd barely notice the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre
- just another shabby-looking building, on the edge of a dual
carriageway, wedged between cargo sheds, car parks and storage areas and
squeezed
between the M25 and Heathrow's Terminal Four.
But the moment you step inside - through the double-locked and mirrored
security doors, past the offices and into the animal holding area - it's
a different world.
The first thing that hits you is the noise. Dogs bark and yap, puppies
whine, cats miaow, parrots screech and wolf-whistle, monkeys from Madagascar
jump about and pull at their wire mesh cages - and every few minutes a
buzzer signals the arrival of 'five cats', or 'eight boxes of fish', or maybe
'a dozen ferrets' and a lot of door-slamming and banging.
Only a 4ft Komodo dragon is quiet, swishing its tail about in its big
wooden crate and presumably rather irritated by all this racket after a 12-hour
flight from South Africa.
'We call it the Arc, but the animals don't exactly come in two by two -
more like 20 by 20, and that's on a good day - sometimes there are a
hundred,' says deputy manager Bob Wingate, who is 65, sports a splendid white
beard and is my guide for the day.

'As well as thousands of dogs and cats, we've had one-toed sloths, giant
octopuses, bears, elephants, tigers, lions, alpacas, venomous snakes, vampire
bats, racehorses from the Gulf, the Olympic equestrian team -
everything you can think of,' he says, scratching his whiskery chin.
'In fact, the only thing we haven't had in the centre's 31-year history is
a giraffe, but that's probably because it'd be a bit of a packaging
nightmare.'
Maybe, but it can't be that easy crating up an elephant, or a pair of
skunks, or a lion?
'Oh no! The big cats are relatively easy and we don't always get them out
of their crates. Dogs and cats can give you more grief - they're much
more likely to bite - and they're what we deal with most of the time.'
The Animal Reception Centre (ARC) - formerly known as the Animal
Quarantine Station and run by the City of London Corporation - is the
destination for hundreds of thousands of animals flown into Heathrow every
year.
Last year, the centre handled more than 11,000 cats and dogs, 331,000
hatchling poultry, 40 million invertebrates and 37 million fish.

Some are here to stay, others are in transit and some - like Paddi, a
very sad-looking black labrador from Oslo with only a stuffed pink reindeer
for company - are off for six months in quarantine.


Flying visit ARC deputy manager Bob Wingate holds up a tortoise recently
arrived at the Heathrow centre

After hours cooped up in the dark, they're all blinking and bewildered as
they have their pet passports and/or travel documents checked, stamped and
logged, are X-rayed and given a brief medical once-over to check they're fit
to travel on.
The pets are then either reunited with their delighted owners in the
'reunion conservatory' ('it can be very emotional - put it this way, we have
to have a mop on hand as the animals get very excited') or, if they have more
than an hour or so before their next flight, popped in a kennel and let
out for a little, er, constitutional.
'Most are too scared to have a wee in the plane, so as soon as they get out
they're desperate,' says Bob. ' Particularly if they've come from
Australia.
'We let them out of their crates and they literally can't stop peeing for
about ten minutes. It's a right mess.'
Clearly, nobody works here for the glamour factor. 'Most days, it's 90 per
cent cleaning up, and working here can be quite pressured with all the
flights coming in,' says Joel Theobald, 26.
'But the highlights more than make up for it - like having a play with
some lion cubs, or hand-rearing hyena cubs that are too young to travel
farther, or just getting to see a Komodo dragon.'


Lunchtime: Jane feeds some ring-tailed lemurs hungry after their
flight
Bob's been at the Arc for 16 years: 'I love it here, just love it. On my
second day, I flew to Glasgow Airport with a customs officer, boarded a ship
and seized 17 large parrots from some Russians, and it's been pretty varied
ever since.'
The level of care is impressive. The dog and cat kennels are heated and
have access to surprisingly big outdoor runs.
Everyone wears wellies and long green coats and washes their hands
obsessively.
The animals are checked and reassured constantly and their travelling
crates given a thorough inspection.
'We prosecute airlines for flying in animals in carriers that are too
small,' says Bob.
Each crate has to be big enough for the animal to stand up, sit down, turn
around and lie down - all in the natural position.'
So a bit more space than humans in economy - though it can't be very
nice being sealed in for up to 30 hours at a time.
'Animals travel surprisingly well - they're sitting in a darkened,
pressurised hold and the steady drone of the aeroplane is strangely soothing,
so
they generally sleep. Cats in particular are zonked out for the whole
journey.'
Maybe, but some of the dogs seem a bit shell-shocked. Not least Penny, a
very shaky-looking beagle who's emigrating from Denver, Colorado, to Swindon
with Alan Wyatt, 39, her analyst owner.
And Vita, a ridiculously fluffy puppy en route from Sweden to Sydney, is
enough to tug anyone's heart strings.
'It's a long flight and she'll be in a box for more than 24 hours, so we
can't give her any food here - but she'll be fine. Animals put things
behind them very quickly.
'Cats tend to sulk a bit, but dogs seem to be a bit more: "Hello! there's a
person!" They're just pleased to see someone, anyone, and forget to be
cross.'
As well as being unbelievably noisy, and not a little smelly, the Arc is
like a Tardis.
There are corridors of kennels, four reptile and amphibian rooms full of
venomous snakes, scorpions and spiders, and a huge room with adjustable cages
for big cats - currently populated by about 60 tortoises nibbling on
bits of apple and basking in the warmth of a fan heater ('Mind where you put
your feet,' says Bob).
Outside, there's a separate fish wing ('They're sealed up in cardboard
boxes, so there's not much to see'), a dedicated bird wing with a
state-of-the-art air filtration system ('Bird flu has changed everything - we
used to
handle 250,000 a year, but now it's more like 2,000') and a horse section
at the back.
As well as racehorses and polo ponies, a large section of the Canadian
mounted police have been through ('such smart red jackets'), plus a horse given
to the Queen by her Canadian subjects.
The larder's quite something, too. Hundreds of tins of dog and cat food, a
huge black bin crawling with crickets for the scorpions, wriggling
mealworms for the meerkats, fresh meat for the big cats and an enormous chest
freezer brimming with dead chicks, baby mice, dead birds and dozens of black
and
white rats.
A scribbled note on the noticeboard reads: 'Night shift - please get out
45 chicks.'
The busiest time is the morning, when most of the long-haul flights arrive
from Australia and America and each animal, still in its crate, emerges out
of the hold, down a bright green conveyor belt, is hoisted into a lorry
and whisked away to the Arc for processing.
It might all sound a bit daunting, but it's a step up from the human
immigration controls, because the staff here clearly adore animals.
Deaf to the terrible racket, their voices are full of cooing and soothing
and they'll fit in a cuddle wherever they can.
'I'm always on the lookout for someone who needs a little word, a bit of
reassurance or a "Hello, are you OK?"' says Julie Hyatt, who's worked here
longer than she'll admit.
'I like reassuring the animals and they do remember you the next time you
come down the corridor to see them - it cheers them up a bit.'
And the noise? 'We've got ear defenders, but it's not usually too bad.
Sometimes, the really big dogs can get a bit deafening.'
Blimey. We're yelling already - I'm not sure how much louder it could
get, or more hectic.
For exotic animals, the 23 members of staff usually get at least a day's
notice ('If it's something exciting like a crocodile or a lion, we'll all
come in on our day off to have a look,' says Joel).
And big shipments are usually booked in - such as when an elderly
British couple relocated their animal rescue centre from Greece to the UK, 53
cats and three dogs - 'It took us hours to process them all,' adds Bob.
Things don't always run so smoothly. BA might turn up with a box of puppies
right at the end of a shift, or a recalcitrant flamingo might not fancy
donning its straitjacket for the journey.
'It's very fiddly, but it's the only way to travel if you're a flamingo -
they have to be held upright because if they collapse in their box
they'll probably not get back up again.'
And there was the time one of the big cats escaped from its box in the
hold...
'A puma, I think it was,' says Julie. 'The armed police were rushed over
and had to dart it with a tranquilliser to get it back here. It would have
woken up with a nasty headache, poor thing.'
Not all animals make it out the other end. Some aren't deemed fit enough to
travel on, such as Joel's hyena cubs. Others don't have the right
paperwork.
A few are stuck here indefinitely, as their owners wrangle over them in
court - one blessing is that since 9/11, the smuggling of exotic animals
has been dramatically reduced.
Popeye the yellowheaded parrot has been here so long that he barks and
miaows more than he screeches.
And a few are here to stay - the poisonous vipers and scorpions in the
padlocked and bolted venomous snake room; the pet tarantula, all thick hairy
legs and bulbous body, in a glass tank on Bob's desk; and the occasional
stowaway - a snake that came in on some tiles, or an exotic spider that
caught a lift on a banana.
'We'd never destroy anything here - we'll always look after it,' says
Bob.
A tiny handful, however, never actually make it off the plane.
'Very occasionally, you go to pick something up from the flight and it
comes down the belt and it's not moving. You look in the box and you know
straight away whether it's alive or dead, and it's a horrible moment.'
And almost invariably it's the result of an overprotective owner who has
sedated a pet in the hope of making the journey less traumatic.
'Never, ever drug your animal,' says Bob. 'It lowers blood pressure and so
does altitude and it can cause heart attacks. Nothing is worse than telling
an owner - it's just heartrendering, and worse because they'll blame
themselves.'
Happily, there's none of that today. Everything is going to plan - the
Komodo dragon is off to London Zoo to find a mate, Paddi the labrador's off
to quarantine, Popeye the parrot is still barking and miaowing.
And in the reunion conservatory, it's Penny the beagle's big moment.
She's ready to start her new life in Swindon and suddenly couldn't look
happier - a spring in her step, tail wagging like a mad thing, just the
teeniest accident on the floor, and not even a backward glance at Julie, Bob,
Joel or all that racket behind the double-locked door.

_http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1173770/The-beagle-landed--mention-
snakes-cats-dogs-fish--Komodo-dragon.html?ITO=1490_
(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1173770/The-beagle-landed--mention-snak\
es-cats-dogs-fish--K

omodo-dragon.html?ITO=1490)

--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Sunday, April 26, 2009

Why Fish and Game Agencies Can't Manage Predators

Why Fish and Game Agencies Can't Manage Predators

The War on Predators

By GEORGE WUERTHNER

http://www.counterpunch.org/wuerthner04172009.html

In the past month or so, helicopters with gunners skimmed over the Alaskan tundra and forests shooting wolves to "protect" caribou herds. In Nevada, the state Fish and Game agency wants to kill more mountain lions to increase mule deer numbers. In Idaho, the Idaho Game and Fish wants to kill more than a hundred wolves in the Lolo Pass area to benefit elk. In Maine, the state agency encourages hunters to shoot coyotes to reduce predation on deer.

Without exception, state game and fish agencies do not treat predators like other wildlife. Even though state agencies are no longer engaged in outright extermination of predators, persecution and limited acceptance of the ecological role of predators is still the dominant attitude. State wildlife agencies only tolerate predators as long as they are not permitted to play a meaningful ecological role.

In general, they seek to hold predator populations at low numbers by providing hunters and trappers with generous "bag" limits and long hunting/trapping seasons. For some predators, like coyotes, there are often no limits on the number of animals that can be killed or trapped. The attitude of many hunters towards predators is not appreciably different than what one heard a hundred years ago, despite a huge leap in our ecological understanding of the role top predators play in the ecosystem.

Beyond the general hostility towards predators that many hunters hold, state wildlife agencies are not the objective, scientific, wildlife managers that they claim to be. Wolves, mountain lions, bears, and other predators are a direct threat to state wildlife budgets because top predators eat the very animals that hunters want to kill. Because state wildlife agencies rely upon license sales to fund their operations, maintaining huntable numbers of elk, deer, moose, and caribou is in the agencies' self interest.

Before anyone accuses me of being anti hunter, I want to make it clear that I hunt, and most of my close friends hunt. We value the wildlife success stories created by past and present wildlife agencies actions. And to give credit where credit is due, hunters and anglers have been responsible for many successful wildlife recovery efforts, and through their lobbying efforts, sweat, and money, they have protected a considerable amount of wildlife habitat across the Nation for many wildlife species, not just the ones hunted. Well known early conservationists and wilderness advocates like Theodore Roosevelt, George Bird Grinnell, Charles Sheldon and Olaus Murie were all hunters. But that doesn't mean hunters are beyond criticism when it comes to wildlife management policies, particularly when it comes to predator policy.

TOP PREDATORS ARE NOT JUST LIKE OTHER WILDLIFE

With the delisting of wolves by the Secretary of the Interior Salazar, several states are poised to begin managing wolves. Proponents of wolf control suggest that Americans should let state wildlife agencies manage predators "just like other wildlife."

The problem is that top predators are not "just like other wildlife." Indeed, they play a crucial ecological role in maintaining ecosystem stability and integrity. In addition, predators, more than most other species, have well developed social structures that demand a much more nuanced approach to human/wildlife relationships than most wildlife agencies are prepared to deal with, much less even acknowledge.

ECOLOGICAL VALUE OF PREDATORS

Much recent research has demonstrated many ecological values to predators. As top-down regulators of ecosystems, predators like wolves, mountain lion, and bears help to reduce herbivore numbers to slow or reduce over-browsing or overgrazing of plant communities.

Perhaps more importantly, predator shift how prey animals use their habitat. For instance, it is well documented that the presence of wolves in Yellowstone has changed how elk use the landscape, with less browsing on riparian vegetation as one consequence.

But wolf-induced habitat shifts by elk has had other benefits as well. Since the road system in Yellowstone tends to follow the river valleys, movement of elk away from streams to adjacent uplands increases the likelihood that a certain percentage of the animals will die further from a road. This has important consequences for grizzly bears that have been shown to avoid feeding on carcasses located close to roads. Finding even one more elk carcass in the spring in a place that is "safe" for feeding is like winning the lottery for, say, a mother grizzly with several cubs to feed.

Some scientists have even postulated that wolves may ameliorate the effects of climate change on scavenger species by providing carrion throughout the year.

Predators can also limit the effects of disease, like chronic wasting disease found in elk, deer, and moose since infected animals are more vulnerable to predators.

The presence of a large predator has a cascading effect on all other predators as well. For instance, the present of wolves results in fewer coyotes. Since coyotes are among the major predators on pronghorn fawns, presence of wolves, has led to higher pronghorn fawn survival.

And because of the single-minded bias of state wildlife agencies for maintaining large numbers of huntable species, they fail to even ask whether predation might have a positive influence on ecosystem sustainability.

For instance, in certain circumstances, top predators like wolves, bears, and mountain lions will hold prey populations low for an extended period of time, especially if habitat quality is marginal for the herbivores. These "predator sinks" provide the long term "rest" from herbivory pressure that plant communities may require on occasion to reestablish or recover from past herbivory pressure. Almost universally when predators begin to "hold down" prey populations, state agencies want to kill them so the targeted populations of moose, caribou, elk, deer, or whatever it might be can "recover." That is the justification, for instance, for the proposed slaughter of approximately 100 wolves near Lolo Pass by the Idaho Fish and Game.

Unfortunately for predators if their numbers are sufficiently high for them to have these ecological effects on other wildlife as well as the plant communities, state wildlife agencies tend to view them as too high for their "management objectives."

SOCIAL INTERACTIONS

I won't dwell on it here, but top predators have sophisticated social interactions that state wildlife agencies completely ignore in their management. For the most part, state agencies' management of predators is based on numbers. If there are enough wolves or mountain lions to maintain a population, and they are not in any danger of extinction, than management is considered to be adequate.

The problem is that top predators have many social interactions that complicate such crude management by the numbers.

Many social animals pass on "cultural" knowledge to their young about where to forage or hunt. Researcher Gordon Haber has found that some wolf packs in Denali National Park have been passing on their prime hunting territory from generation to generation for decades. Loss of this knowledge and/or territory because too many animals are killed can stress the remaining animals, making them more likely to travel further where they are vulnerable to conflicts with humans.

For instance, predator control can shift the age structure of predator populations to younger animals. Since younger animals are less experienced hunters, they are more likely to attack livestock than older, mature predators. (Young animals are more likely in rare instances, to even attack people. Nearly all mountain lion attacks are by immature animals.)

Furthermore, predator populations that are held at less than capacity by management (i.e. killing them) also tend to breed earlier, and produce more young, increasing the demand for biomass (i.e. food). Both of these factors can indirectly increase conflicts between livestock producers and predators.

Wolves, mountain lions, bears, coyotes, and other predators all possess such intricate social relationships. Yet I have never seen a single state wildlife agency even acknowledged these social interactions; much less alter their management in light of this knowledge.

WHY HUNTERS ARE NOT A SUBSITUTE FOR WILD PREDATORS

Despite the self serving propaganda coming hunting groups that hunters are an adequate "tool" to control herbivore populations, research has demonstrated sufficient differences in the animals selected by predators compared to human hunters. In general, hunters take animals in the prime of life, while predators disproportionally take out the older, younger or less fit individuals. As poet Robinson Jeffers has noted, it is the fang that has created the fleet foot of the antelope.

Human hunting has other long term genetic consequences as well. As was recently reported in PNAS, sustained human hunting has led to universally smaller animals, as well as other suspected genetic impacts that may affect their long-term viability.

REASONS FOR STATE WILDLIFE AGENCIES' FAILURE

Despite the long history of hunter conservationists, when it comes to predators there are two major reasons for the failure of state wildlife agencies to adopt objective and biologically sound predator policies. The first is that most hunters are ecologically illiterate. Though there are some sub-groups within the hunting community who put ecological health of the land first and foremost, the average hunter cares more about "putting a trophy on the wall or meat in the freezer" than whether the land's ecological integrity is maintained. The focus is on sustaining hunting success, not ultimately on the quality of the hunting experience, much less sustaining ecosystems as the prime objective. Such hunters are the ones using ORVs for hunting, use radio collared dogs to "track" predators, object to road closures that limit hunter access by other than foot, employ more and more sophisticated technology to replace human skill, and not coincidently they tend to be the hunters most likely to be demanding predator control.

On the whole, I have found most state wildlife biologists to be far more ecologically literate than the hunters and anglers they serve. In other words, if left to the biologists, I suspect we would find that agencies would manage wildlife with a greater attention to ecological integrity.

However, curbing such impulses by wildlife professionals are the politically appointed wildlife commissions. While criteria for appointments vary from state to state, in general, commissioners are selected to represent primarily rural residents, timber companies and agricultural interests—all of whom are generally hostile to predators and/or see it as almost a God-given requirement that humans manage the Earth to "improve" it and fix the lousy job that God did by creating wolves and mountain lions.

The other reason state agencies tend to be less enthusiastic supporters of predators has to do with funding. State wildlife agencies "dance with the one that brung ya." Most non-hunters do not realize that state wildlife agencies are largely funded by hunter license fees as well as taxes on hunting equipment, rather than general taxpayer support. This creates a direct conflict of interest for state wildlife agencies when it comes to managing for species that eat the animals hunters want to kill. Agency personnel know that the more deer, elk, and other huntable species that exist, the more tags and licenses they can sell. So what bureaucracy is going to voluntarily give up its funding opportunities for "ecological integrity?"

Adding to this entire funding nightmare for agencies is the decline in hunter participation. There are fewer and fewer hunters these days. Many reasons have been proposed for this—a decrease in access to private lands for hunting, decrease in outdoor activities among young people, and fewer young hunters being recruited into the hunting population, a shift in population from rural to urban areas, and a general shift in social values where hunters are held in less esteem by the general public. Whatever the factors, state wildlife agencies are facing a financial crisis. Their chief funding source—hunter license tags sales are declining, while their costs of operations are increasing.

This creates a huge incentive for state wildlife agencies to limit predators. Most agencies are beyond wanting to exterminate predators, and some even grudgingly admit there is some ecological and aesthetic value in maintaining some populations of predators, but few are willing to promote predators or consider the important ecological value of predators in the ecosystem.

Yet these inherent conflicts of interest are never openly conceded by the agencies themselves or for that matter few others. It is the elephant in the room.

DO WE NEED TO "MANAGE' PREDATORS?

With the exception of killing predators in the few instances where human safety is jeopardized as with human habituated animals, or to protect a small population of some endangered species, I find little good scientific support for any predator management. Predator populations will not grow indefinitely. They are ultimately limited by their prey. Leaving predators to self-regulate seems to be the best management option available.

In general, predators will have minimum effects on hunting. Even now in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, most elk populations are at or above "management objectives." Climatic conditions and habitat quality typically have a far greater impact on long-term viability of huntable species than predators.

Arguments that people will "starve" if they can't hunt are bogus. Alternative foods are usually far less expensive and more easily acquired than a moose or elk. Furthermore, in our society where food stamps and other social security nets are available, no one will starve for want of an elk dinner or caribou steak.

In my view, we need to restore not only token populations of wolves to a few wilderness and park sanctuaries, we ought to be striving to restore the ecological role of top predators to as much as of the landscape as reasonably possible. While we may never tolerate or want mountain lions in Boise city limits, grizzly bears strolling downtown Bozeman or wolves roaming the streets of Denver, there is no reason we can't have far larger and more widely distributed predator populations across the entire West, as well as the rest of the nation. But this will never happen as long as state wildlife agencies see their primary role to satisfy hunter expectations for maximized hunting opportunities for ungulates like deer and elk rather than managing wildlife for the benefit of all citizens and ecosystem integrity.

George Wuerthner is editor of Wildfire: a Century of Failed Forest Policy. 



--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Saturday, April 25, 2009

Joe Schreibvogel Says He Has to Breed

Exotic animal display: Where the wild things are
Despite vociferous criticism from animal rights groups, traveling showman
says he offers a once-in-a-life experience

By _TRENT JACOBS_
(http://www.dailysentinel.com/news/content/news/stories/2009/04/24/mailto:tjacob\
s@coxnews.com
)
The Daily Sentinel
Friday, April 24, 2009

Lions, tigers and bears took over the University Mall earlier this week,
and tonight residents are promised a free anti-drug and alcohol magic show
at 6 p.m. in the middle of the mall concourse, courtesy of none other than
Joe "Exotic" Schreibvogel.

Schreibvogel is the ring leader of a traveling zoo and magic show that has
performed for audiences young and old across the country for several
years. Schreibvogel was to perform several magic shows earlier this week, but
his tour bus broke down, leaving him stranded at his animal park in
Wynnewood, Okla, After chartering a bus and starting an emergency fund-raising
effort to fix the bus, Schreibvogel was scheduled to arrive in Nacogdoches
sometime Friday afternoon. He said he will take the stage tonight before
heading back out of town Sunday.

Preceding Schreibvogel's arrival was an 18-wheeler trailer carrying baby
lions, bears and tigers that have been on exhibit at the mall all week. For
a $25 donation, mall patrons can take pictures and visit with the animals
for eight minutes. Schreibvogel owns and operates a non-profit animal ranch
in Oklahoma called the G.W. Exotic Animal Park. The park was founded in
1997 and named in honor of his brother, Garold, who was killed by a drunk
driver in Corsicana, Texas. Schreibvogel says his brother was passionate about
wildlife, and he now uses his traveling magic act to build awareness among
young people about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and bullying. He will open
and close tonight's show with songs he wrote about his father's inability
to express love to his dying son and how he was forced to take his brother,
who spent a week in a coma due to his injuries, off life support.

Schreibvogel says he is on a constant hunt for donor money to help keep
his park, which also houses various volunteers, afloat. He says he takes no
salary, and the only people on his payroll are the commercial truck drivers
he uses for the traveling baby animal show and to pick up meat for the
animals. He also mentions that he used his inheritance from his grandfather to
keep the park running and it's 1,400 animals fed, which he says takes about
$60,000 a month.

It's because of that large sum of money that Schreibvogel says he is
"forced" to breed young lions and tigers and take them out on the road. Despite
his claim that he gives the baby lions and tigers to zoos and other
accredited preserves, it is an action that animal rights groups like the
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals oppose vehemently.

According to Lisa Wathne, who is a captive exotic animal specialist with
PETA, said, "Joe Schreibvogel is directly contributing to the exotic-animal
trade that he says he is against. But the truth of the matter is, he is
putting a lot of animals into that trade. It's despicable."

But Schreibvogel claims that patrons to his wildlife park cannot sustain
the costs of operation, and Internet scams have dissuaded people from
donation through his Web site. On the site, he talks about a crusade to save
"dying malls across America" and describes his traveling act as a
once-in-a-lifetime experience for the over 2 million people he meets a year.
"We help the malls, and they help us by letting us use the space for free.

I meet 2-year-old people and 95-year-old people that have a life dream of
being able to go see a tiger in real life. So, here they have the option to
sit in a cage, get educated, fall in love with and get a personal aspect
of a baby tiger that otherwise they would have never seen in their life,"
Schreibvogel says.

But it's that chance encounter that James Bias, spokesperson for the SPCA
of Texas, said is a misrepresentation of true wildlife advocacy.
"You know you're taking wild animals, regardless of how they've been
raised, and they are still wild and not domesticated, and putting them on
wheels and trucking them around. That's just not what these animals were geared
to do, and, of course, you're increasing their stress levels and the
potential for abuse," Bias said. "For somebody to claim that this is an
opportunity for the community to see wild animals up close, this usually
doesn't represent what their normal environment is. You're not going to see someone who's holding a tiger in a shopping mall realize that these animals deserve dignity. I mean this is the least dignified way for animals to be cared for."

In fact, Schreibvogel, his animal park and his traveling animal show have
all been fined and cited for numerous infractions by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, which is responsible for enforcing federal animal welfare
laws. In January 2006, the USDA filed a lawsuit against Schreibvogel, and he
along with his park were put on 18 months of probation for 14 infractions,
including poor living conditions for the animals, unsanitary conditions and
a general lack of proper care for the animals by untrained staff, the suit
said. Schreibvogel was also ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and has since
been taken off probation. Schreibvogel says the USDA "targeted" him after he
was cited for not having "a readily identifiable employee" within proximity
to some rescued baby deer. In a moment of passion, Schreibvogel says he
threw the USDA inspector who issued the citation out of the park a move he
now says he regrets. Schreibvogel says he is now in compliance with the
USDA and provided The Daily Sentinel with copies of 11 inspection reports
dated from November 2006 to January 2009 reflecting his claim, with only one
infraction concerning proper recording keeping.

Schreibvogel also claims that a YouTube video made during his probation
period in 2006 by the PETA group was a "frame job," and the undercover PETA
agent used sympathetic friends to incriminate the park. The video depicts
park volunteers debating whether or not to properly euthanize a lame horse.
They argue that using chemicals on the animal would prevent them from
feeding the meat to some of the other animals, and that a gunshot to the head
was more appropriate. The video also shows an animal handler hitting tigers
with the butt of a rifle and a goat with a horn ripped off exposing its
brain. The video says the goat was left injured for days before being shot and
fed to the big cats at the park. Another portion of the video has an audio
recording of one park volunteer explaining how easy it is doctor the "feed
report," because inspectors cannot prove you did not feed the animals on any
given day. The park volunteer goes on to acknowledge the park was in
violation of the law when the park ran out of meat and did not feed the animals
for three or four days. The volunteer also says they are only allowed to
fast the animals for a single day, according to U.S Department of Agriculture
regulations. "They can't go back, unless they've got video cameras out
here, and prove that we didn't feed them that day. There's no way they can go
back and prove we didn't feed them," the volunteer says to the undercover
PETA agent. Other parts of the video show park staff kicking and swatting
animals and shows the erratic behavior of some of the captive tigers and
bears, describing them as having gone "cage crazy" from lack of psychological
stimulus in their tight confinements.

Schreibvogel says that all but one of the employees in the video had been
fired for other infractions and that the USDA had cleared him of any
wrongdoing after an investigation into the claims made in the video.
Schreibvogel says that the animals he rescues come from private owners, and due to
newly imposed restrictions in cities across the nation on exotic-animal
ownership in the past decade, he has taken in dozens of animals like tigers and
chimpanzees.

Summing up his long-lived feud with PETA, Schreibvogel says, "They believe
the animals are better off being put to sleep rather than being put in a
cage. Unfortunately, I don't think that's fair."

In response, Wathne maintains PETA just wants Schreibvogel to change his
business plan, saying, "We don't want to euthanize his animals. What we
would like to see Joe do is stop breeding animals ... stop bringing them into
an already overcrowded world and into a situation where he has to dump the
animals after he's done using them, and provide the animals he has with
appropriate space, food and shelter. If he were operating as a true sanctuary,
we would have no concerns with him. And, in fact, we would support him just
as we support numerous other sanctuaries across the country." Vote for
this story!

_http://www.dailysentinel.com/news/content/news/stories/2009/04/24/exotic_jo
e.html?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=10_
(http://www.dailysentinel.com/news/content/news/stories/2009/04/24/exotic_joe.ht\
ml?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=10
)

--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Oldest Sumatran Tiger Dies at 21

Thu Apr 23, 9:20 pm ET

ATLANTA รข€" One of the oldest known Sumatran tigers in the U.S. has died at
Zoo Atlanta.
Zoo President and CEO Dennis Kelly said Thursday the 21-year-old cat,
called Sekayu (Seh-KYE-yoo), was euthanized after her health declined. Zoo
spokeswoman Keisha Hines-Davis says veterinarians had been treating her for
age-related health issues.
Sekayu came to Zoo Atlanta in 1993 after spending time at the Phoenix Zoo.
She was born at the San Diego Zoo in 1987.
Zoo Atlanta has two other Sumatran tigers, which are considered to be the
world's most critically endangered tigers. Researchers believe there are
less than 400 left in the wild.
Zoo officials did not know how many of the tigers were in captivity.
_http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090424/ap_on_re_us/us_sumatran_tiger_dies_1_

--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Missouri Is The Most Dangerous In The Exotic Animal Trade

Missouri Is The Most Dangerous In The Exotic Animal Trade


By Chris Hayes
April 23, 2009
FESTUS, MO (KTVI-FOX2now.com) - Selling potentially dangerous exotic
animals as pets is big business in Missouri. Now a string of animal attacks
exposes a potential weakness in State Law. In recent months, we've seen reports
of everything from an alligator discovered by two kids in a Jefferson
County pond to a Tiger that mauled a man who was volunteering for a facility
called Wesa-A-Geh-Ya.

Now -- according to the Kentucky based Primate Rescue Center -- two recent
chimp attacks are linked to a Festus business called Chimparty.

Center founder April Truitt told Fox 2 that Chimp-party sold the chimp in
February's Stamford, CT rampage. Truitt told us Chimparty also sold the Pet
Chimpanzee in last month's Winston, Mo attack -- that ended when a police
officer shot it to protect himself.

Jason Coats said that's what he had to do back in 2001.

He said, "Just hearing them gives me the chills."

Several Chimparty chimps escaped and roamed into his Mom's yard. At first
he thought it was funny, until he said one of the animals pounded on his
friend's car -- while they were all inside.

Coats said, "[The chimp] was rocking the car back and forth, windmilling
on the windows."

Then he said his dog, lucky, tried protecting them. He said, "I'm thinking
he's going to run them off. Well, about this time, he bites the one,
Suzie, in the butt and it actually tore a piece of his flesh off and at that
point he kind of screamed and reached around and grabbed him threw him across
the back yard and I realized they're going to kill my dog."

He shot one of the chimps. Then a jury convicted him of felony animal
abuse and sent him to jail for a month. A neighbor had testified that the
chimps owners were trying to get the animals back into the Chimparty complex
and
they'd already been tranquilized.

Coats added, "Up until when I got attacked, I always thought it was kinda
cool living next door to them. You know, who gets to live next door to
basically an exotic farm?"

That might be why other exotics are showing up where you don't expect it.
People think it's cool, until they realize they can't handle a wild animal.
Like an alligator that showed up on Pacific pet shop owner Mike Pigg's
door step.

Pigg said, "There's a cardboard box. I thought it'd be puppies or kittens.
It was an american alligator."

He says he won't resell it, because it's just mean.

"Eventually that alligator will get big enough you know you're in deep
trouble," he said.

Then two weeks after the gator delivery? "I come to work -- there's a
pillow case on my door handle. I open the pillow case and there was a snake."

It's just too easy to own an exotic animal in Missouri. Pigg added, "I
guarantee you a lot of people would be surprised on what their neighbor has in
their house."

Macon, MO holds regular auctions. You can buy just about anything.

While Fox 2 has reported on many past auctions, owner Jim Lolli would not
allow cameras this year. He told us he wants to protect the identity of
customers who want to keep exotic animals without you knowing about it.

The Humane Society's Debbie Hill said, "It's frighteningly easy to obtain
an exotic animal in Missouri and there is very little knowledge or
enforcement of the current law."

That law? Only that you tell police you have an exotic animal. Hill
believes stricter laws would help discourage people from thinking they can tame
a
wild beast.

"Simply raising an animal from infancy does not mean you have domesticated
that animal. It is still a wild animal. A tiger is still a tiger. A
chimpanzee is still a chimpanzee."

That's how Jason Coats said he looked at it when he saw wild chimps in his
yard. He was only 17 when he was forced into a decision he wishes he never
had to make.

Coats added, "There's a lot of people trying to protect the chimps but
there's not a lot of people trying to protect the next 17 year old that's
going to be attacked or the next poor woman trying to help someone reign in a
chimp."

No one from Chimparty would respond to our phone calls or our personal
visit. The Primate Rescue Center said Missouri is one of the worst three state
at regulating the ownership of exotic animals -- along with Texas and
Florida. Missouri Legislators are currently looking at two new bills that would
add guidelines and restrictions.

_Missouri General Assembly_ (http://www.moga.mo.gov/)

_HB 426 Large Carnivore Act Representative -Mike Sutherland -District 099_
(http://www.house.mo.gov/content.aspx?info=/bills091/bills/hb426.htm)

_SB 227 Modifies provisions relating to dangerous animal registration-
Senator Tom Dempsey, District 23_
(http://www.senate.mo.gov/09info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=597907)

_Primate Rescue Center_ (http://www.primaterescue.org/)

_http://www.fox2now.com/ktvi-fox-files-exotic-animals-042309,0,4141407.story
?track=rss_
(http://www.fox2now.com/ktvi-fox-files-exotic-animals-042309,0,4141407.story?tra\
ck=rss
)


--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boxer Rescue Event

Sandra asked me to please pass this along to everyone at Big Cat Rescue since we were nice enough to support them last year with our attendance:

FLBR Logo

 

The Art of Rescue

Dancing to a New Beat

 

Sponsored by Florida Boxer Rescue and The Art Institute of Tampa

Date: June 13, 2009

Time: Starting at 8:00am to 10:00pm (you do not have to be there the entire time)

Where:  The Art Institute of Tampa is located at 4401 N. Himes Ave. in Tampa Florida.

 

 

Please join Florida Boxer Rescue on June 13th for a day of music, dance, art, food, and many informative seminars.  Learn from the best during 90 minute instructional classes in just about every subject. Sample wonderful hors d'oeuvres created by the students from The International Culinary Schools at The Art institute of Tampa. Enjoy wine and beer while listening to live music by the very talented Nick Planitis-McKee. Art auctions, raffles, and prizes to take place all day with proceeds going directly to the boxers rescued by the Florida Boxer Rescue. Please visit our website at flbr.org for detailed information and to purchase tickets for this event.

 

I would like to open up this event to your rescue group and ask them to be involved in the dance-a-thon as well as the other activities of the day.  I am asking your volunteers to collect sponsor support and funds for their rescue group, and put in just 2 hours of dancing which they will be sponsored for.  We are going to have instructional dancing (line, belly, salsa, swing etc…) or you can just come and do your own thing.  Your members will be allowed to attend one seminar free of charge (Photoshop, digital photography, Scrapbooking, seminar by animal behaviorist, Connie Borwick, culinary and more, and can just basically join in the fun.  What will your group get out of this?  Well, we will allow you to keep 50% of the donated amount of money you collect, because we are advertising this event in many media venues you will also get the extra publicity for your group, and of course you will be allowed to put up a banner and promote your particular rescue group.

 

If this might be something your group would like to participate in please contact me at the phone number or e-mail address below.

 

Phone: 813-920-1965

e-mail: boxerart@yahoo.com

 

Thank you for your prompt response.

 

Lori Johannesen 813 coordinator/volunteer

Mom to Brutus & Twinkie

Grandma to KiKi, Ruff & Sprite

Forever Friend to Freddie & Damon

 



--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




FL Panther Petition

From: andrew mcelwaine [mailto:andrewm@conservancy.org]
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2009 6:09 PM
To: Info@BigCatRescue.org
Subject: Please Help the Florida Panther -- Critical Habitat Designation Needed

 

Can you help alert big cat advocates to the on-line petition, below?  It calls on the new Administration to designated Florida Panther critical habitat, something that has never been done – after 40 years on the endangered species list.  Thank you – Andrew McElwaine

 

 

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/482259706



--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




2002 Articles about Operation Snow Plow

Exotic Animal Trader Sentenced To Prison

 

11/15/2002 11:12:41 PM

 

One of the 15 suspects busted in a Midwest exotic animal ring was sentenced Friday in St. Louis federal court.

A Newschannel 5 investigation exposed the killing and butchering of endangered animals earlier this month. It's a multi-billion dollar black market business with roots in Missouri.


Friday, Stoney Ray Elam, the former operator of a Ft. Gibson Oklahoma exotic animal farm, was sentenced to one year with the bureau of prisons. The last six months of his sentence will include home detention with electronic monitoring.

Elam pleaded guilty to illegally selling two federally protected tigers and three leopards and falsifying federal documents to list the sale as a donation. Elam was busted after selling the five animals to undercover agents at a New Florence Missouri truck stop.

The judge also ordered Elam to pay 5000 dollars to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife "Save the Tiger" Fund.

 

 

 

The Endangered Animal Trade

11/1/2002 5:50:02 PM

By Leisa Zigman



(KSDK) -- Missouri has become a major player in a gruesome industry

that preys on endangered animals. Federal agents say next to the drug

trade, the illegal killing of exotic animals is the second most profitable

business in the world.

Recently NewsChannel 5 learned that Missouri is now a black-market

hub where some breeders and brokers are making a killing; literally. 

Members of a secret Midwest exotic animal ring with roots in Cape

Girardeau had chilling plans for some federally protected endangered

tigers. According to Federal officials they were going to shoot, butcher,

and sell their hides, their body parts, and their meat. Why?  Because

these majestic animals, are worth a lot more dead, than alive.

Bill Hartwig is the Regional Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife. He says
many endangered tigers are purchased to be killed and made into rugs. 

It's a billion dollar black market business, and it's led federal agents to
Missouri as part of a multi-state sting.

"Animals from Florida, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, were sent to Missouri,

to Cape Girardeau, and were killed, butchered, and shipped to Chicago,"
said Hartwig.

In February, Todd and Vicky Lantz of Cape Girardeau pleaded guilty to

their roles in the exotic animal trade.

Tim Santel, an investigator with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, said, "We find the
illegal animal trade is nationwide, worldwide. The fact that it happened in

Cape Girardeau doesn't surprise me at all."

Tiger hides sell for up to $25,000 dollars a piece. If the big cats weren't
butchered for their pelts, meat, bones, and organs, collectors would pay
thousands to stuff and display them as trophies.

A government informant, who will remain anonymous said, "The person

who supplied the biggest check, got to keep the animal and of course,

they would shoot the animal usually in a caged situation."

Federal prosecutors said the tigers often came through Missouri, en

route to Chicago where collectors paid thousands of dollars to shoot

caged endangered animals.  Federal prosecutors say Doctor Robert

Martinez, of Chicago, paid $7000 to shoot an endangered black

spotted leopard while it was still caged.

Hartwig said, "It was a painful situation for them and anyone who has a
conscience to be able to watch."

In August, Steven Galecki of Chicago pleaded guilty to selling and
slaughtering numerous tigers and leopards. When federal authorities

busted Galecki, they confiscated all of his paper work. One of the names

led agents to Warrenton, Missouri, and the Wesa A Geh Ya Sanctuary,
run by Ken and Sandy Smith.

The Smiths admit to selling Galecki two lions, a cougar and a dead tiger

in the mid 90's. Those actions are legal, but they were in direct contrast to
the mission of her animal sanctuary.

"I truly thought, I believed it in my heart at the time, he had right intentions,"

said Sandy Smith.

The Smiths say they used to breed and sell animals but stopped in 1998,
when Wesa A Geh Ya became a not-for-profit sanctuary .

"When I started a year ago this last August, there were 52 animals, and

when I left there were well over 70, and a lot of them were cubs," said Pat
Bohler, a former Wesa A Geh Ya board member.

Bohler and the other former Wesa a Geh Ya board members, volunteers,

and employees, all say the Smiths are not only breeding exotic animals

but soliciting charitable donations.

"Each animal has a story, and each story is a tear jerker, and the more
people cried the more money you're going to get," said Beth Norman,

former grant director for the sanctuary.

Former board members say they repeatedly urged the Smiths to quit

breeding, but the Smiths say they¹re against spaying and neutering. 

Former volunteers say there have been several recent deaths at the

sanctuary including Zander, a four-month lion cub. His cause of death has

not been established.

Former board members and employees believe the Smiths need to be
investigated and the sanctuary closed. However, the USDA just renewed

the smith's license and the couple insists they have no part in a Midwestern
black market ring.

Nationwide 12,000 tigers are in private hands and more are born every

day. Federal agents asked us not to reveal where the rescued tigers and

leopards are located.  We can tell you, it is within the NewsChannel 5

viewing area.

Today, Dr. Martinez pleaded guilty to killing an endangered animal. He

faces five years in prison and $250,000 dollars in fines.

If you have information about the exotic animal trade that you would like

to report, contact us fish and wildlife call 612-713-5320 or online at
Midwest.fws.gov

 



--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

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