From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1994:

A study of more than 1,200
cormorant regurgitations conducted
by the National Biological Survey and
the New York Department of
Environmental Conservation has con-
cluded that lake trout and salmon make
up only 0.5% of the birds’ diet.
Further, cormorants eat only 5% of the
volume of smaller fish that the trout
and salmon eat. Thus the estimated
12,000 cormorants now living along
the eastern shore of Lake Ontario are
no threat to the sport fishing industry,
contrary to the claims of hunting and
fishing groups, which have been call-
ing for cormorant control––often in the
form of an open season on cormorants,
generally considered inedible.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service on September 2 rejected a
California Forestry Association peti-
tion to drop the California population
of the northern spotted owl from the
regional protected species list. The
USFWS said that the number of spot-
ted owls had increased from 525 in
1990 to 1,039 today––but added that
the increase was due to better count-
ing, not owl recovery.
The last known crested ibis
in Japan are a 20-year-old male and a
27-year-old female––but on September
27 the Sado Island preserve expects to
receive a three-year-old female and a
two-year-old male on a three-year loan
from a Chinese crested ibis breeding
center, located in Shanxi province.
An oil slick that hit the
Cape of South Africa on June 24,
four days after the tanker Apollo Sea
sank with all 36 hands, killed 20,000
of the 30,000 jackass penguins who
formerly lived on Dassen Island––
among them 10,000 of this year’s
chicks. Rescuers braved one of the
worst storms in 50 years to move 8,000
surviving penguins to a mainland sanc-
tuary, leaving just 2,000 behind, of
whom about 180 were seriously oiled.
Penguin rookery numbers
in Cape Royds, Australia, has
declined for about 20 years, according
to Greenpeace Antarctic programs
director Janet Dalziell, who blames the
stress of frequent visits by eco-tourists.
Ultralight pilot Bill
Lishman of Oshawa, Ontario, is to
lead a flight of 36 Canada geese south
to their wintering area in Virginia in
mid-October––as he did last year, but
this year, after nearly a decade of
struggling with wildlife authorities in
both the U.S. and Canada, he’ll have
official blessings from all concerned.
Lishman holds that teaching endan-
gered whooping cranes to follow his
aircraft is the best way to return them
to their traditional migratory flyways.
Last year he proved the point with a
flight of 18 Canada geese, 16 of whom
returned to their summer habitat in
April of their own volition.
While American specula-
tors bet their life savings on ranch-
raising emus, in Australia as many as
20,000 emus were killed in summer
pileups along a 900-mile fence built
early in the century to protect farmland
from wildlife, according to the
Western Australian Emu Farmers’
Association. The WAEFA petitioned
the government to kill the wild emus en
masse and leave their carcasses to rot,
while a sheep-and-cattle ranchers’
group, the Pastoral Lessees Associ-
ation, sought to skin and butcher them.
Dr. Robert Kennedy,
deputy director of research at the
Cincinnati Museum of Natural History,
announced on September 10 the dis-
covery of a previously unknown bird
species native to the forests of eastern
Mindanao. The bird resembles the Apo
sunbird, found in the same habitat, but
has a longer beak.
Following an early-summer
Chicago Tribune report that some
suburban homeowners were paying up
to $1,000 a pair for mute swans in
hopes they would drive away Canada
geese, at least 10 adult mute swans
were stolen from public places, along
with dozens of eggs and hatchings. By
the end of summer, however, with the
nesting season long over, the legend of
the mute swan as goose-chaser was
much diminished: while mute swans
defend their nests, when they have no
young they coexist with Canada geese
and other species quite nicely.
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