Wildlife in no-man’s-land: Are war zones safer than refuges?

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1993:

When the Persian Gulf War erupted in February
1991, ecologists shuddered at the probable fate of the wet-
lands at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
The region, where Kuwait meets Iraq, is among the world’s
busiest corridors for migratory birds––both songbirds and
waterfowl, coming and going from Europe, Africa, Asia,
and the Indian subcontinent. The bird populations were
already in trouble. Intensive sheep-grazing had desertified
thousands of acres of vegetation. Oil-rich Kuwaiti
thrillseekers compounded the damage with reckless use of
offroad vehicles and contests to see who could shotgun the
most birds, without regard for either endangered species or
bag limits.

Even before the war broke out, “It was like the
battle of el-Alamein, a constant barrage of gunfire,” recalls
Kuwait University pharmacology professor Charles Pilcher.
After 14 years of struggle, Pilcher and other Kuwaiti envi-
ronmentalists persuaded the government to establish three
wildlife reserves in 1990, but designating them and actually
protecting them were two different matters.
Then came Iraqi tanks, landmines, Allied bombs,
and burning oilfields. Observers feared a repetition of the
Lebanese civil war. Lebanon too was a major corridor for
migrating birds, especially storks, until the early 1980s.
Then, however, locked in monotonous standoff, troops of
all the warring factions relieved stress by machine-gunning
15 to 20 million birds per year. By 1986 the Lebanese fly-
way was largely history. The stork population of Europe
and the Middle East has yet to recover.
This time, though, there was no standoff. The
heavy fighting was over in a matter of days. And recre-
ational shooting hasn’t resumed in a big way, either.
“The millions of unexploded mines and bombs still
strewn across Kuwait are powerful ecological guardians,”
Reuter reporter Dominic Evans observed in February 1993.
“Together with increased Kuwaiti military patrols,” who
guard against any repetition of the August 1990 Iraqi inva-
sion, “the live ordinance is a daunting deterrent to hunters,
desert joyriders, and flocks of grazing sheep.”
Adds Pilcher, “Duck and coot species I’ve plotted
since 1976 have risen in some instances a hundredfold. In
the old days we might have had 20 or 30 of one species of
duck, and they’ve gone up to 20,000.”
Acknowledges Donald Heintzelman of the
Wildlife Information Center, Inc., in his Wildlife Protectors
Handbook (reviewed on page 19), “Ironically, longterm
effects of war sometimes benefit wildlife. In Truk Lagoon
in Micronesia, for example, sunken Japanese warships now
support an artificial reef rich in corals, sponges, and fishes.
The demilitarized zone between North and South Korea is a
wildlife sanctuary where endangered white-naped cranes
winter,” protected, like the Kuwait birds, by unexploded
and largely unmapped landmines. “Populations of tigers
increased in Southeast Asia’s tropical forests during the
Vietnam War,” as combat drove out farmers who had killed
tigers to protect their families and livestock. The human
exodus apparently also helped the highly endangered koupri,
a wild cow then thought to be extinct, but rediscovered in
the Vietnamese highlands in 1988.
Nonetheless, Heintzelman’s answer to war is,
“Ban it!” No one rational could argue that war is good for
animals, wild or captive. As a popular bumper sticker puts
it, “War is not good for children or other living species.”
Any misanthrope under the misconception that the abrupt
bloody massacre of human beings might help animals need
only look at any war zone:
RWANDA, February 8 –– Rebel troops overran,
ransacked, and partially razed the late Dian Fossey’s
Karisoke Research Center, made legendary by the book and
film Gorillas In The Mist. Jittery and often hungry soldiers
had already scattered the local gorillas, half the world
mountain gorilla population, with constant gunfire. A 23-
year-old silverback named Mrithi, featured in the film, was
an accidental fatality during May 1992. Others may have
been poached.
Biologist Betsy Brotman buried her husband, Brian
Garnham, near his home in England. Garnham, manager
of the Liberian Institute of Biomedical Research, was killed
by looting Liberian soldiers on January 31 as he tried to
defend a colony of 120 captive chimpanzees who had been
used in hepatitis research and therefore couldn’t be released
without risk to the wild population. Twelve of the chimps
subsequently vanished, apparently killed and eaten by sol-
diers, who may thereby contract and spread hepatitis them-
selves. Another chimp was shot and abandoned; yet another
died of thirst. Veterinarian Patricia Gullett of the Lindsley
F. Kimball Research Institute of the New York Blood Center
made three trips to the chimp colony with food and water
during the two weeks after Garnham’s death, but was unable
to get the factions fighting in the area to agree to a ceasefire
long enough to permit the evacuation of the estimated 106
chimps believed to be still alive.
March 8 –– A World Society for the Protection of Animals
convoy set out on a thousand-mile journey through a gaunt-
let of Serbian, Croatian, and Muslim checkpoints to take
concentrated livestock food to the two dairy farms left in
Bosnia. The cattle at 11 other farms were killed by snipers
and shelling.
“Children are literally starving to death in this con-
flict,” said WSPA international projects director John
Walsh, “because livestock have been used as a weapon of
war,” causing a critical shortage of food for infants in a
region where thousands of infants have been separated from
mothers, who often are too malnourished to nurse the
infants adequately anyway.
Walsh reported after an October 1992 frontline
inspection that combatants had deliberately torched about 40
square miles of prime wildlife habitat, then shot at a mother
bear and her cubs as they fled the flames. At least one bear
was killed by a landmine, while soldiers shot two displaced
wolves when they attacked sheep.
“While rabies is endemic in foxes (in the area),” a
WSPA report said, “an effective government vaccination
program had in the past markedly reduced the threat. This
program has collapsed. With the large number of roaming
stray dogs increasingly interacting with the large numbers of
foxes, wolves, and other animals, health officials and vet-
erinarians fear an outbreak of rabies is imminent.”
Earlier in the Balkan fighting, at least 20,000 cat-
tle, 150,000 pigs, and a million chickens, ducks, and
geese were killed when Serbian gunners shelled Croatian
farms in a successful effort to disrupt the Croat food supply.
The world paid little attention to that, but winced as shrapnel
cut down at least 120 of the renowned Lipizzaner horses,
and the entire menagerie at the once-acclaimed Sarajevo
Zoo starved to death––a replay of the slow starvation of the
Kuwait Zoo collection the year before.
Most media attention to the victims of warfare
goes to humans; then captive animals, whose plight can be
documented. But sketchier reports reached ANIMAL PEO-
PLE in recent months from the Caucacus and Georgia in the
former Soviet Union, describing hungry wolves on the
prowl after being driven from their native habitat by ethnic
fighting. Some of the last wolves left in Europe, they were
gunned down on sight by frightened villagers.
Specific incidents involving animals are only the
beginning. Modern warfare almost inevitably devastates
habitat. World War I shelling defoliated most of Europe;
World War II hit just as forests were starting to grow again.
The U.S. introduced chemical defoliation during the
Vietnam War. Twenty years after that war ended, the jun-
gle has largely recovered, along with wildlife populations,
but meanwhile other wars have defoliated portions of
Central America, Asia, and Africa. Along with defoliation
comes flooding, topsoil loss, and loss of species. Though
habitats do recover, the new growth seldom perfectly dupli-
cates what was lost.
War zones vs. refuges
Around the world, however, including in the U.S.,
dangerous no-man’s-land frequently becomes the last refuge
of wild animals when the shooting stops––and sometimes
while it’s still going on. A surprising variety of species actu-
ally seem to prefer the risks of such sites to sharing habitat
with hunters in traditional sanctuaries.
As far-fetched as comparisons of the seemingly
tranquil U.S. National Wildlife Refuge sytem to the battle-
fields of eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa would superficial-
ly seem, hunting is permitted on 259 of the 472 U.S.
refuges, which conduct more than 550 hunting seasons,
putting 133 “game” species at direct risk and disturbing vir-
tually all the other native birds and mammals. Of the 259
refuges that allow hunting, 91 also permit trapping.
The military, too, is a more disruptive presence
on many wildlife refuges than on some of the biggest bases.
Roughly 100 U.S. refuges are used in military training,
ranging from artillery practice to tank maneuvers to low-
level strafing runs by jet fighters. The military also makes
heavy use of other protected lands, including 17 million
acres borrowed from the Bureau of Land Management and
three million acres distributed among 57 National Forests.
Wars ravage a landscape for a few weeks or
months or in extreme cases, years; but most wars do end,
eventually. Hunting on federal refuges is usually for just a
few weekends each fall, but it does take place each and
every fall, simulating recurring outbreaks of war, and the
aggregate still comes to roughly one million hunter visits per
year (out of 31 million total human visits, the rest of which
mainly involve summer recreation areas). Wildlife refuge
hunters outnumber the combatants in most recent wars, and
may expend more ammunition per year than is used in the
whole of some significant regional conflicts. The known
death toll is on the order of 400,000 animals per year, not
counting as many as three million ducks who die from
ingesting now-banned lead shot left in the marshes where
they feed by generations of hunters who often claim their
permits bought the refuge system. In fact, hunting revenues
bought only about 4% of it; the remaining 96% was
acquired with general tax revenues.
The annual hunting-related animal casualties
in U.S. National Wildlife Refuges closely parallel the
known losses to date in the two years of the Serbo-
Croatian-Bosnian war. The fighting in the Balkans has
raged across about 25.6 million acres of the 63.2 million
acres of the former nation of Yugoslavia. Intense fight
ing involves about 12 million acres. The National
Wildlife Refuge system includes 14 million acres outside
Alaska––plus 77 million acres in Alaska, a fourth of
which is the 19.5-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge. Of course the regulated slaughter on wildlife
refuges does not directly harm human beings, and the
habitat damage resulting from hunting isn’t as obvious
as a mortar shell hitting a barn.
Home , home on the bombing range
Military use of National Wildlife Refuges and
other protected lands has gone on continuously in some
cases for more than a century (often beginning before the
lands were “protected”.) Damage to wildlife and habitat is
well-documented. In November 1988, for example, a
Navy weapons test killed 3,000 fish in an arm of
Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, dividing the Patuxent Naval
Air Test Center from the Blackwater National Wildlife
Refuge. The incident was remarkable less for the relatively
low number of animals affected than for having happened in
broad daylight in a heavily traveled boating corridor. Until
early last year, seals, sea lions, and birds were routinely
disturbed by naval bombardment at Sea Lion Rock, a tiny
island on the Copalis Wildlife Refuge in Washington state.
The attacks ended only after the Navy closed the Whidbey
Island Naval Air Station as a cost-cutting move. The U.S.
Army acknowledged in 1991 that birds were ingesting bits
of white phosphorous left after shelling exercises at the Fort
Richardson Range, near Anchorage, Alaska. Also in 1991,
the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and the Wilderness
Society sued the Army because a variety of activities at Fort
Benning, Georgia, are allegedly destroying habitat for the
endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
Investigators are still trying to assess the impact of
military nuclear waste disposal on the Gulf of the Farallones
National Marine Sanctuary, 30 miles west of San Francisco.
Between 1946 and 1970, the Navy dumped more than
47,500 barrels of radioactive materials in the vicinity, along
with a floating drydock and the aircraft carrier
Independence. The Independence was nuked in a test blast
at Bikini Atoll in 1946. Surviving the bombing, it was
towed to the Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard in San
Francisco Bay to see if it could be decontaminated and
repaired, but the Navy finally gave up and scuttled it on
January 26, 1951. The Gulf of Farallones sanctuary, creat-
ed 30 years later, is home to 7,000 seals and sea lions, 17
species of whales and porpoises, and more than 300,000 sea
birds. So far, none seem to have been harmed by nuclear
waste, but many of the steel barrels are now leaking.
Low-level jet flights reportedly inhibit waterfowl
nesting at the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge in
Nevada, but that’s the least of the problems in that vicinity.
In 1983-1984, flooding spread from Stillwater into the
Navy’s 41,000-acre Bravo 20 bombing range. Toxic materi-
als from Bravo 20 allegedly poisoned seven million fish
along with tens of thousands of birds. In 1989, cleanup
crews trying to cleanse Bravo 20 removed 1,389 live bombs,
28,136 rounds of ammunition, and 60 tons of shrapnel.
The General Accounting Office in 1991 reported
that hunting, military use, and other inappropriate activities
were adversely affecting 63% of the National Wildlife
Refuge system.
Wildlife habitat outside the refuge system is also
often at risk. Bravo 20, for instance, is only one of a clus-
ter of huge bases in southwestern Nevada near the
California border, with clusters of well-publicized wildlife
problems. The biggest base of the cluster is the 400,000-acre
Nellis Air Force Range, reputedly home of the largest wild
horse population left in the world. According to the Bureau
of Land Management, the Nellis Range harbored 6,200
wild horses in July 1990, but only 4,300 a year later, after
hundreds and perhaps thousands died of thirst and starvation
during a prolonged drought that cut the carrying capacity of
the range to an estimated 1,500 horses. The Air Force and
the Nevada Commission for the Preservation of Wild
Horses saved the remaining horses by trucking in food,
antibiotics, and 10,000 gallons of water a day. In July and
August 1991, the BLM removed 2,000 horses from Nellis,
at cost of $500,000. The Air Force, the horse rescuers, the
Sacramento-based Animal Protection Institute, and the
Public Lands Resource Council all disputed the BLM horse
population figures, however, and the true extent of the
1990-1991 crisis remains in doubt. Bombing and strafing
practice on the adjacent Desert National Wildlife Range
meanwhile may menace the threatened desert tortoise.
Across the state, nuclear fallout from weapons
testing done from 1951 until 1962 at the Nevada Test Site is
believed to be one reason why the desert tortoise population
at the Woodbury Desert Study Area near St. George, Utah,
fell by 50% between 1982 and 1987. Plutonium absorbed in
the tortoises’ shells didn’t kill them, but apparently inhibited
reproduction. Since desert tortoises may live for 80 years,
and don’t reach sexual maturity until age 15, the effect of
the fallout took 25 years to become evident––long enough
for tortoises who reproduced before the nuclear testing to
die out, and for the paucity of young tortoises to translate
into a general population decline.
To the north, Hill Air Force Base, the Wendover
Range, the Deseret Test Center, and Dugway Proving
Grounds occupy much of the Great Salt Lake Desert.
Involved to some extent in nuclear work, this cluster of
bases is even more notorious as the primary U.S. chemical
weapons arsenal. Chemical weapons tests may have rou-
tinely killed wildlife as well as animals used in research,
but details remain classified. The work done at Dugway
didn’t become generally known until March 14, 1968,
when a test of a nerve gas called VX went awry, killing
6,000 sheep who were grazing near the Skull Valley Indian
Reservation, 30 miles downwind. The resulting outcry
moved then-U.S. president Richard Nixon to renounce first
use of chemical weapons in war, while Congress imposed
restrictions on chemical weapons testing and research.
Though most military activities are now covered
by stringent environmental regulations, a National Guard
training exercise in Utah broke 35 of 81 safeguards as
recently as 1988, according to then-House Interior
Subcommittee chair Bruce Vento.
“There ain’t no home
like a hole in the ground.”
––Bugs Bunny
Yet the military legacy on public lands may be
more positive than not, if only because, as in Kuwait,
unexploded ordinance and toxic wastes have kept other
human abuse of habitat to a minimum.
The potential value of a military presence on pro-
tected lands surfaced during a decade of debate over the use
of Monomoy Point, Massachusetts, as a naval gunnery
range. The rocky point is located at the southern tip of the
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, off Cape Cod, almost
within sight and sound of the head offices of the
International Fund for Animal Welfare and the International
Wildlife Coalition. For more than 40 years, Navy pilots
bombed and strafed Monomoy Point from low-flying air-
craft, startling seabirds for whom the refuge is a critical
nesting area––one of the few protected barrier islands of sig-
nificant size along the New England coast. By the mid-
1980s, Monomoy Point was a cause celebre. Executives of
the Massachusetts Audubon Society nearly got lynched by
other wildlife protection groups when they published a
report suggesting the bombing and strafing might have
helped the seabirds more than it hurt, inasmuch as it kept
the rookeries off limits to hikers, picnickers, surfers, and
boaters. Overall, despite the military activity, the seabird
population of Monomoy Point was in good health compared
to the populations of similar sites where the public either
was given or simply took access. Indeed, within another few
years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was obliged to
close several relatively peaceful beaches along the New
England coast to protect the nests of the endangered piping
plover, a ground-nesting bird at much greater risk from
careless footsteps than from flying shrapnel.
Similar ironies have emerged at countless other
sites. Forty-five endangered species thrive at the 100,000-
acre Vandenberg Air Force Base in southern California, and
endangered clapper rails make a last stand at the nearby Seal
Beach Naval Weapons Station (where in keeping with a tra-
dition of trying to kill problems, the Navy and U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service tried to prevent predation in 1989 by trap-
ping hundreds of non-native red foxes). The Marine Corps
takes gung-ho pride in protecting six endangered bird
species at 125,000-acre Camp Pendleton––peregrine falcons,
light-footed clapper rails, California least terns, California
gnatcatchers, least Bell’s vireos, and brown pelicans.
Troops are taught to recognize and avoid them, along with
the also endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat.
Despite constant war games waged for decades by
the Ninth Infantry Division, much of the 193,000-acre
Yakima Firing Range may be in better shape, ecologically,
than adjacent property used for cattle grazing.
On the other hand, the Yakima Firing Range is
visibly far more damaged than the almost adjacent 570-
square-mile Department of Energy Hanford Site. The
Hanford Site was established in 1942 for the purpose of
extracting and processing the plutonium used in the first
atomic bombs. Nuclear bombs were manufactured there for
approximately 40 years; the site is now primarily a reposi-
tory for radioactive waste. As early as 1958, government
biologists found radioactive rabbit and coyote dung scattered
over a 2,000-acre area; apparently the rabbits tunneled into
contaminated earth, and were then eaten by the coyotes.
Still, as N e w s w e e k reporters Sharon Begley and Patricia
King put it in a February 8 feature article, Hanford is “a
study in dueling images. Ground water is contaminated with
radioactivity,” they explained, “and 177 unlabled tanks leak
radioactive glop. But flocks of bats use the nine decaying
reactors as caves and 17 rare species––among them pere-
grine falcons, bald eagles, pygmy rabbits, and sage
grouse––make their homes on the reservation.” A 1980
study by the Department of Energy discovered noteworthy
numbers of redtailed hawks and ravens at Hanford, who
found forests of electrical transmission towers a congenial
habitat. The National Park Service recommended in 1991
that 89,000 uncontaminated acres of the Hanford site, strad-
dling the Columbia River, should become an official
wildlife refuge. Agricultural interests want to claim 57,000
acres, and the water rights that would go with them, for
grazing and truck farming.
Because nuclear facilities have always been pro-
tected against hunters, trappers, and other despoilers by
barbed wire and armed guards, they tend to be the most hos-
pitable of all no-man’s-land to wildlife, so long as the
nuclear weapons aren’t detonated. In 1952 the Department
of Defense evacuated the town of Ellenton, South Carolina,
to create the 300-square-mile Savannah River Plant, a top-
secret nuclear fuel processing center. Only 15 acres have
ever been actively used. The rest are an undisturbed buffer
zone––and are now home to another government institution,
the Savannah River Ecology Laboratories, whose primary
purpose is studying how nature reclaims the one-time planta-
tion lands. Radioactive deer and ducks, and turtles with
strontium levels 1,000 times above normal, have been dis-
covered up to half a mile beyond the outermost fences. But
the Savannah River Plant is probably the largest place in
either South Carolina or nearby Georgia where deer and
ducks are not under intense hunting pressure.
After 15 years of captive breeding, highly endan-
gered Mexican grey wolves are tentatively scheduled to be
returned to the wild next year on the 3,152-square-mile
White Sands Missile Range near Alamogordo, New Mexico
(although a site in Arizona is still under consideration). The
site of the first atomic explosion, White Sands includes
about 1,000 acres of prime wolf habitat, and because of mil-
itary protection, is believed to be the place where the
wolves will have the best chance of avoiding massacre by
irate ranchers, whose opposition to wolf restoration delayed
publication of a release plan from 1982 until 1991. White
Sands has already been the scene of another controversial
predator release. For the past eight years, Wildlife
Research Institute Inc. of Idaho has tracked and studied 100
pumas who were captured, radio-collared, and turned loose
again on various parts of the base, under contract with the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The study has multiplied
knowledge of puma behavior. In December 1990 the
researchers began experimentally relocating pumas to other
parts of New Mexico. By abruptly depleting puma numbers
in particular areas of White Sands, the translocations simu-
late the effects of puma hunting, yielding vital information
on both puma reproduction and prey population growth.
The translocations are also producing the first clear evi-
dence of how well pumas adapt to new territory. Collecting
such data is essential to insuring the survival of the species,
but could be done almost nowhere else because of the mili-
tant hostility of ranchers to the presence of any pumas any-
where near their cattle and sheep.
The most promising development yet for wildlife
in no-man’s-land came in late 1992, when the Senate rati-
fied the transfer of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal from the
Department of Defense to the Department of the Interior.
Located just 10 miles from Denver, Colorado, the 17,280-
acre former arsenal will become the largest urban wildlife
refuge in the U.S.––after completion of a $2 billion
Superfund cleanup. An estimated 6,500 acres of the site are
contaminated with residues from 40 years of manufacturing
chemical weapons and pesticides (1942-1982). When the
Rocky Mountain Arsenal was closed, no one knew quite
what to do with it, but an influx of wildlife displaced by
urban sprawl during the mid-1980s answered the question.
First came prairie dogs, unwelcome almost everywhere else
because of their burrowing habits. The prairie dogs attract-
ed 22 nesting pairs of burrowing owls, a transient popula-
tion of about 100 bald eagles, and a permanent population
of approximately 200 ferruginous hawks, the biggest con-
centration of the hawks in North America according to the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. White-tailed deer, coyotes,
rabbits, and great horned owls have also become abundant
amid abandoned refinery equipment and crumbling build-
ings. So far, the toxic wastes seem to have little effect on
the wildlife, although the eagles reportedly will not eat
roadkilled deer in the vicinity, who may have fed on tainted
brush. Renewed human incursions may be another matter.
Already, bus tours of the arsenal conducted by USFWS,
the Army, the Audubon Society, and the National Wildlife
Federation attract 50,000 visitors a year.
Negotiating a ceasefire
The long National Wildlife Refuge War has not
been waged without opposition. For approximately a
decade, an umbrella organization for major animal and
habitat protection groups called the Wildlife Refuge Reform
Coalition has tried to secure passage of various versions of a
Wildlife Refuge Reform Act, intensely opposed by both the
gun lobby and the military, as well as western ranchers who
might lose grazing privileges on refuge land. Over the same
period, hunting lobbyists have succeeded in opening scores
of refuges up to hunters, often on the pretext of controlling
deer populations, while the military has sought, with mixed
success, to obtain use of another 4.5 million acres on top of
the 25 million acres it already controls. (By comparison,
the National Park system controls 26 million acres.)
On February 4, 1993, Representative
Gibbons (D-Fla.) introduced H.R. 833, the latest edition of
the Wildlife Refuge Reform Act. Senator Bob Graham (D-
Fla.), who introduced a similar measure in the last
Congress, is soon to introduce a Senate companion version.
Chances for passage have never been better.
While twelve years of Republican administrations, 1981-
1992, were openly hostile to wildlife refuge reform, the
Bill Clinton administration appears friendly––and not only
because vice president Albert Gore supported all previous
attempts to pass a Wildlife Refuge Reform Act during his
years in the Senate. On February 23, Clinton ordered
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to cut grazing, timber,
mining, and water subsidies, by raising use fees for federal
lands to market rates––a 400% increase for many ranchers,
and an even steeper hike than that for miners, who acquire
mineral rights for as little as $2.50 an acre under a fee struc-
ture set in 1872.
The same day, Clinton nominated Wildlife Refuge
Reform Act co-architect George Frampton Jr. to become
Assistant Secretary for National Parks and Wildlife.
Frampton is currently president of the Wilderness Society.
Clinton also nominated former Wilderness Society board
member Jim Baca to head the Bureau of Land Management.
Now land commissioner for the state of New Mexico, Baca
bucked the ranching and hunting lobbies bigtime on
November 16, 1992, when he threw the federal Animal
Damage Control program off New Mexico state lands for
refusing to check traps more often than once every 72 hours.
The ADC, essentially a tax-supported exterminating firm
for ranchers, killed 2.5 million animals in 1991, at cost of
$25.8 million, and is widely regarded in environmental and
animal protection circles as a boondoggle.
Both the Frampton and Baca appointments must be
confirmed by the Senate, which is, however, controlled by
Democrats inclined to align with Clinton.
In addition to securing wildlife refuge reform, the
Clinton administration and the current Congress will preside
over downsizing the U.S. military to reflect the end of the
Cold War. At least 165 military facilities are scheduled for
closing and conversion to other purposes during the next
seven years, including sale for development. With the
human population and resultant economic pressures grow-
ing in even the least populated parts of the U.S., this may
be our last opportunity to return land other than rocks and
ice to wilderness, and to keep it wild.
––Merritt Clifton
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