From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1996:

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service on May 18 commenced poisoning
5,700 seagulls at the Monomoy
National Wildlife Refuge, off Chatham,
Cape Cod, to protect an estimated 35
endangered piping plovers from predation.
The killing proceeded after U.S.
District Judge George O’Toole denied a
request for an injunction against it filed
by the Massachusetts SPCA and the
Humane Society of the U.S.
The Ngatihine Maori, of
Whangarei, New Zealand, on May 16
welcomed home the two survivors of four
endangered kiwis, tested along with six
bats at the government’s Wallaceville
Animal Research Centre to see if the rabbit
calicivirus disease currently ravaging
the Australian rabbit population might
harm native species. The February
killing and dissection of the other two
kiwis provoked protest from Ngatihine
leaders, who charged that they were misled
when they authorized the birds’ use.

Because rabbit calicivirus disease apparently
does not affect kiwis and bats, it
may soon be released in New Zealand, as
in Australia––where it was accidentally
released prematurely––to control feral
European brown rabbits.
Commercializing a traditional
coup for birdwatchers, Austria Nature
Tours is advertising two-night bus tours
to watch the courting dance and mating of
black grouse.
U.S. ecologist Brian Sharp
reports in the current edition of Ibis, the
journal of the British Ornithological
Union, that of every 1,000 guillemots
captured for treatment after oil spills,
only 35 to 70 will survive long; postrelease
life expectancy is 9.6 days. Sharp
studied the fate of 2,000 guillemots in all.
Accepting Sharp’s findings, Ken Taylor,
former chair of the Seabird Group, and
Chris Mead of the British Trust for
Ornithology suggested that euthanasia
would be more humane for oiled birds
than scrubbing. John Rolls of the Royal
SPCA disagreed. “Most birds we rescue
are ringed before release, and we have
examples of oiled birds surviving for up
to 10 years in the wild,” he said. “Some
birds have been oiled for a second or third
time. Some die either during the cleaning
process or soon after being released, but
our statistics indicate that the survival rate
for the remainder is similar to thst of
those already living in the wild.”
Formed at the start of March,
World Ostrich Farms Ltd. hailed the
British mad cow disease scare as a
chance to get rich quick, ballyhooing
the novelty addition of ostrich meat to
British Air first-class menus and selling
investors adult ostriches at up to $35,000
each, or shares in ostriches and eggs for
less. It collapsed, however, on April
29, when the British Securities and
Investments Board ordered it to halt trading
pending completion of an inquiry as
to whether it was an illegal pyramid sales

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