Wildlife & people

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1994:

Rabid vampire bats reportedly
flew out of a graveyard in Satipo, Peru, to
bite more than 200 people during the week
of September 11-16. “Vampire bats repro-
duce at an extremely fast rate, and there are
already a dangerous number of them in the
region,” the Xinua news agency warned
––but in fact vampire bats rarely attack peo-
ple, and almost never kill their hosts when
not rabid. Under normal circumstances a
vampire bat bite is considered to be little
more harmful to the victim than a mass of
mosquito bites.
At least 357 of Florida’s threat-
ened black bears have been killed by cars
since 1976; bear numbers hover circa 1,500.
Fourteen bears have been killed on a single
three-mile stretch of State Road 46 just
north of Orlando. Hoping to save the bears,
the state has built an overpass above their
favored migration route. A proposed expan-
sion of State Road 40 through the Ocala
National Forest into a four-lane highway
threatens to split the bears’ habitat, howev-
er, which may end the genetic viability of
the bear populations caught on either side.

Retired educational psychology
professor Art Storey, of Calgary, Alberta,
as of July 12 had bagged 27,502 crows and
magpies since he began counting in 1976,
and estimates he’s killed 50,000 overall.
Storey says he’s “made a big difference in
the magpie population. In places where
there used to be a lot of magpies and no
songbirds or game birds,” he claims, “there
are now many fewer magpies and plenty of
the other birds.” Storey also insists he’s seen
magpies “attacking live cattle and sheep.”
Alberta Fish and Wildlife information offi-
cer Ed Pirgowicz holds, however, that
Storey “hasn’t even dented the population”
of crows and magpies.”
ANI MAL PEOPLE, October 1994 13
After killing 253 deer in 1992
and 642 last year, amid militant protest by
the Chicago Animal Rights Coalition, the
DuPage County Forest Preserve District is
changing tactics. Under a $15,000 program
proposed to the Food and Drug
Administration and the Illinois Department
of Conservation, who both must approve it,
sharpshooters are to catch deer in rocket-
propelled nets as last year, when they were
dispatched with captive-bolt guns––but this
year 20 pregnant does are to be injected with
an abortifacient and released. The program
is opposed by the pro-hunting preserve
wildlife staff, who claim it would be inhu-
mane and stressful to the deer. Returned
Forest Preserve committee member Gwen
Henry, “We’re not learning anything new by
killing them.”
Despite reports of breeding pairs
of hedgehogs selling for $4,500, verified
sales are slow at a fraction of that price.
Hedgehogs are nonetheless touted in some
quarters as the next pet fad, following pot-
bellied pigs, fainting goats, ferrets, and the
most humane such fad, pet rocks.
The Trailside Museum and
wildlife rehabilitation center in River
Forest, Illinois, expects to handle a record
2,500 animals this year. Built as a home in
1874, the site was converted into a muse-
um by the Cook County Forest Preserve
District in 1931, and became a wildlife
hospital as well under the late Virginia
Moe, who was hired as director in 1935.
Moe died in 1991, after a three-year battle
to stay open despite frequent citations for
building code infractions and violations of
federal wildlife laws. Following Moe’s
death, the museum underwent a year-long
$1 million expansion and renovation.
Cruelty-free product distribu-
tor Lona Lubin asks that letters protesting
the inclusion of mole guillotines in catalogs
be sent to Alsto’s Handy Helpers, POB
1267, Galesburg, IL 61401. The spring-
triggered guillotines are inserted into lawns
to kill moles in their tunnels. Point out to
Alsto’s that moles play a vital part in aerat-
ing the soil of a healthy lawn, and vora-
ciously consume insects who otherwise
would attack the grassroots.
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