Wildlife & people

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1994:

An Indian logging elephant named Bir Bahadur
staged a sit-down strike in February after his handler was
replaced, blocking a local official’s motorcade for hours.
Outraged, the official ordered him shot, as “mad.” However,
Bir Bahadur then broke his fetters and fled into the forest, tak-
ing two female elephants with him. He’s been at large ever
since. Maneka Gandhi, daughter-in-law of the late prime min-
ister Indira Gandhi, is now seeking a pardon for him.
Indonesian forestry minister Djamaluddin
Suryohadikusumo says elephants whose habitat has been
taken for farming should be trained to work, not be killed.
“People must be ready to accept them as part of our economic
life,” he said October 12. However, he has dispatched a hit
team to kill Crest, a bull elephant who has killed 13 people
since 1986 and has escaped three times after being shot with
tranquilizer darts.

The Downfall Creek Bushland Centre of
Brisbane, Australia, has promoted killing feral cane toads
as family fun since 1989, but urges that the toads be frozen to
death in refrierators instead of being shot or clubbed. Imported
in the 1930s to eat cane beetles, the toads ignored the beetles,
but have taken over much habitat from native toads and are
commonly considered a nuisance.
A puma shot October 4 at Cuyamaca Rancho
State Park, near San Diego, was the fourth killed in or near
the park this year for allegedly threatening humans.
Prince Charles, of Britain, recently had 15 bad-
gers shot at his Gloucestershire estate because he thought they
might have caused an outbreak of bovine TB among his cattle.
However, none of the badgers proved to be carriers.
Beginning October 18, kangaroos who enter the
city of Canberra, Australia, will be shot as road hazards.
Hopping into the city in search of water amid a prolonged
drought, kangaroos are blamed for causing a third of all
Canberran traffic accidents.
The Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation n e a r
Dundee, Illinois, is soon to complete a two-year, $90,000
radio collar study of the movements of relocated raccoons. In
1993, 19 of 20 raccoons released in the Lone Grove Forest
Preserve migrated elsewhere; six died of exposure in unfamil-
iar habitat. A similar study in Ontario several years ago found
that only one raccoon in four survives in a new habitat.
The British Forestry Authority has hired
Sheffield University to develop a contraceptive for grey
squirrels. Brought from North America in 1876, grey squir-
rels are accused of taking habitat from native red squirrels, and
of hurting hardwood growth––an effect unseen in the U.S.
A bear who raided avocado trees and soaked in hot
tubs around Monrovia, California, was spared from euthanasia
on September 22 by governor Pete Wilson, while in Austria
far-right politician Joerg Haider on October 12 offered his own
estate as refuge for an alleged sheep-eating bear, after bounty
hunters killed a harmless younger bear by mistake. Also fond
of bears, Chinese loggers pulled a drowning panda from the
Dadu River on October 3, warming her afterward with their
own clothes.
Evanston, Illinois, is considering an ordinance
against wildlife-feeding on public property––and may restrict
feeding wildlife on private property, too, as does nearby
Skokie. Birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals drawn
by feeders are accused of doing property damage.
Bat Conservation International is working with
the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to insure that
old mine shafts in the Upper Peninsula are capped in such a
manner as to preserve bat habitat. The special caps cost about
$5,000 apiece, which must be raised each time by BCI.
The Dupage County Forest Preserves, in Illinois,
plan to cull up to 680 deer this winter in 18 forest pre-
serves––up from 642 deer culled last winter in eight preserves.
Some of the deer are killed by sharpshooters; others are lured
to feeding stations, entangled in cargo nets, and dispatched
with captive bolt guns. The forest district is also awaiting
Illinois Department of Conservation approval to try an experi-
mental abortifacient on the deer. The object is to reduce the
population to 15-20 deer per square mile.
Officials confirmed in September that a federal
Animal Damage Control program trapper recently killed
an endangered gray wolf in a coyote trap on land near
Lincoln, Montana, leased by the family of U.S. Senator Max
Baucus, who is chair of the Senate committee responsible for
Endangered Species Act reauthorization.
A European Community directive against bread
giveaways would require British bakeries that provide stale
bread to the Queen’s swans and other wildlife charities to
apply for a permit––and pay a fee––in order to keep doing it.
The charities too would have to pay a licensing fee.
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