From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1995:
Mandated by the state legislature to implement
predator control before cutting either the length of the moose and
caribou season or the bag limits, the Alaska Board of Game during
the week of March 27 ordered the Alaska Department of Fish and
Game to prepare wolf control plans for much of the inhabited part
of the state by October. It also extended the bear season in two
regions by four weeks, while upping the bag limit from one bear
per four years to one bear every year. “It’s impossible to say what
the ADF&G will present,” said Sandra Arnold of the Alaska
Wildlife Alliance. “We also don’t know if the Board approves a
wolf control plan in October, if that means control will begin
immediately or in October 1996. The bear control measures are
proving controversial. ADF&G refuses to comment, but are clear-
ly concerned because all their reports indicate that bears are
already being killed above sustainable levels, especially in Unit
13,” which is the heavily hunted Nelchina Basin.
Minnesota is reportedly considering seeking federal
permission to institute a hunting and trapping season on
wolves. “If you look ahead five or 10 years and the wolves keep
increasing, there will be an increase in animosity” from hunters
and ranchers, says wolf expert L. David Mech. “If you allow the
public to participate in harvesting the wolf, it tends to defuse peo-
ple who happen to be antagonistic.” (Like in Alaska?)
Nine wolves released at two sites on March 21 to begin
the long-awaited restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National
Park ventured just a quarter mile in their first week at liberty from
the holding pens where they were kept for a six-week acclimata-
tion. A group released in central Idaho, however, reportedly
formed a pack right off. “We think we’ll have cubs this spring,”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson Ed Bangs said.
Insisting it has twice as many elephants now as in
1 9 8 8, despite evidence that it may have fewer, Zimbabwe on
March 20 put 8,000 elephants up for sale, expecting to raise hun-
dreds of thousands of dollars. That’s 10% of the national herd
according to the official figures; 20% by other estimates.
Rwanda has redesignated as pasture 210,000 acres of
Akagera National Park and a neighboring hunting preserve. The
park, formerly occupying 10% of the nation, has been overrun by
about 200,000 refugees from ethnic fighting, together with their
cattle. Wildlife has either fled or been eaten.
As Japan chaired the March 22 meeting of the
Standing Committee of the United Nations Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species, held in Geneva,
Switzerland, the London-based Environmental Investigation
Agency released findings that 42% of traditional medicine stores
in Tokyo and 48% of such stores in Yokohama still stock tiger
parts, though CITES banned traffic in tiger parts in 1975.
Chimps in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, annual-
ly eat 20% of the red colubus monkeys who live within their
range, reports University of Southern California anthropologist
Craig Stanford, after three years of observation. They typically
seize and eat colubus infants, in front of the screaming mothers.
“Chimps eat a tremendous amount of meat compared to what we
thought,” Stanford says. “During the dry season the adults aver-
age a quarter-pound of monkey meat a day. That’s as much meat
as is obtained by tribes of foraging human hunter-gatherers. Sex is
about power,” he adds, “so far as the chimps are concerned, and
meat is one of the things they use to achieve it. The males hunt
only when the females are sexually receptive, and do not increase
their own intake of meat. The females, in turn, beg for the meat
and often do not receive it until after mating. Indeed, those who
receive the most meat produce more offspring that survive,” a
phenomenon Stanford attributes more to political status within the
fratricidal chimp social structure than to any nutritional factor.
Four mountain gorillas including a nursing adult
female, an eight-year-old male, and two juvenile males were
killed by baby-snatching poachers in the Bwindi region of
Uganda on March 18, where gorillas have been habituated to
human presence to encourage tourism. On April 12 a baby gorilla
believed to be the one taken was intercepted along with two pig-
tailed macaques, five leaf monkeys, a macaca mulatta monkey,
and a yellow monkey at the Manila airport, after a flight to the
Philippines from Karachi, Pakistan. X-rays discovered six of the
monkeys had suspicious objects in their stomachs, possibly caches
of illegal drugs which will require surgery to remove. Alleged
traffickers Khan Tasheem Alim, Jawaid Aslam, Khan Ahamad
Nawas, Mohammed Islam, and Satish Kumal were arrested after
one of them tried to bribe a Philippine customs inspector. The ani-
mals were taken to the Wildlife Rescue Center at the Ninoy
Aquino Memorial Park in Quezon City.
The Kuwait daily newspaper a l – W a t a n claimed on
April 10 that a Filipina maid narrowly escaped rape by an
“Ethiopian ape,” probably a chimpanzee, who had escaped three
days before from a neighbor’s menagerie and attacked her from
behind as she did her laundry. The ape abandoned lustful thoughts
when someone tossed him a banana.
Three janitors at the elementary school in Ceres,
C a l i f o r n i a, on April 6 sprayed a gopher with several cans of a
freezing solvent used to clean gum off floors, hoping the animal
would freeze to death. Instead the fumes exploded when one jani-
tor lit a cigarette, injuring all three of them plus 16 youngsters.
The gopher survived and was later released into a field.
South African game ranger Vusimusi Simelane on April
11 thought he’d netted an antelope, pounced on the beast, and dis-
covered he had an angry leopard. The leopard bit his face and
chased him up a tree, but fled when other rangers arrived.